hardcore, degenerate readers know my story, I'll quickly tell you about me and this blog for the 3 times per year readers on the Triple Crown Days. I'm a 50 something numbers geek, with limited social skills, no friends and I live with three cats, a big dog, a Korean (AKA Little Turk) and my wife of 25 years. I fixate on two very distinct things: Who can win (the Base Handicap) and Value Betting. I like exotics and Multi Race Pick 3-4-5's. That's all you really need to know!
This edition of The Preakness is the sort of race that makes me work both sides of the coin very hard. I have a base handicap that tells me Always Dreaming and Classic Empire are clearly better than the other horses by most measures: Class, top speed, off track speed, fast dirt track win percentage. That said, ehh, I'm not that excited to bet a 4-5 Boxed Exacta. It just doesn't do it for me and my desire to find value. Let's take a look instead at the base handicap and see if we can construct a bet strategy that is reasonably priced and offers real value if the ticket scores. Let's get after it!
I've tossed from consideration three horses. It's important to understand that I'm not saying these horses will finish last. I'm saying you can't cover every runner, or I should say you can, but the tickets would be very pricey. For example, a 7 horse tri-box will cost $420 for a 42 bet. That's just a very bad bet. Alternatively, a $2 Tri with a single horse on top and 3 horses covered in Place and Show will set you back $12. I'm not your mother, but betting irresponsibly isn't going to increase your chances of winning. There is nothing cool about the magic trick of turning a $350 bet into $190 of winnings.
I'm generally of the opinion that Always Dreaming will win this race. I think the fun thing is who finishes 2-5. I've been handicapping the better part of 30 years and I'll tell you honestly and with no shame: I dunno! This is a pretty even field of even quality and quite a few one run horses that if they get loose could either nip the wire or just be going forward while others are dropping. Looking at Lee, Gunnevera, Hence, Senior Investment, Cloud Computing and Multiplier will most likely make one big run at the top of the stretch. Conquest Mo Money, Always Dreaming and Classic Empire should be on the pace.
So, I tossed three horses like I started to say before I rambled off into a tangent. Multiplier is the one I'm concerned about, but again, you can't cover everyone. I intend to build a series of exotic bets, mostly centered (but not all) around Always Dreaming singled with the rest of this six horses in some combination of finish. Sorry to disappoint, but I have no "wiseguy" insights to offer with this group. My strong suggestion is to watch the track today and see how the speed is carrying. More likely than not Always Dreaming will have no problem carrying speed if his trip is fairly clean. I sorta like an Always Dreaming OVER 6 OVER 6 for $60 but that isn't very value so I have to get to a 1 X 3 X 3 and it's just going to be some combination, and if forced to choose: Always Dreaming 4 OVER 3-9-6 OVER 3-9-6 (Hence, Looking at Lee, Gunnevera).
I'm most likely not settling on my bets until the post parade. Whatever you do, have fun and don't bet the mortgage or the kid's school tuition.