Preakness Stakes 2021: Handicapping the new shooters

Preakness Stakes 2021: Handicapping the new shooters
Photo: Eclipse Sportswire

One of the unique angles for handicapping the Preakness Stakes involves the “new shooters” or the horses in the field that did not run in the Kentucky Derby. Although the new shooters don’t win very often, frequently they do affect the results with a top three finish.

Since the year 2000 (not including 2020), only four new shooters have won the Preakness, including Rachel Alexandra in 2009. She did not run in the Derby, giving her the new shooter status. But she did win the Kentucky Oaks, which meant she, too, was in the race on two weeks of rest like her male counterparts. (2020 is not included in this discussion because there was a month between the Preakness and the Derby.)

Looking at the best performance of a new shooter each year during that time period, they have a very interesting record of 20: 4-8-4. The Derby horses swept all three of the trifecta positions four times, but there has not been a new shooter trifecta since 2000.

When considering a Preakness wager that involves the new shooters, it is very important to keep in mind that the Derby horses take most of the betting money. That means when a new shooter does hit the board, they typically will do so as a long shot. With the Preakness field limited to 14, you cannot expect the kind of payouts that come on the first Saturday in May. However, bettors can be rewarded quite nicely if they are successful playing the new shooter angle.

Here is a year-by-year look at what happens when a new shooter does hit the board, with the odds of the new shooter and $2 exotic payouts provided.

2019 – Owendale (7.90-1) third – trifecta $9,399.60

2018 – Tenfold (26.10) third – trifecta $296.60

2017 – Clouding Computing (13.40) first, Senior Investment (31.70) third – exacta $98.40, trifecta $2194.60

2016 – Cherry Wine (17.30) second – exacta $88.40, trifecta $146.20

2015 –Tale of Verve (28.50) second, Divining Road (12.60) third – exacta $124.40, trifecta $985

2014 – Social Inclusion (5.30) third – trifecta $76

2013 – Derby horses swept the top 5

2012 – Derby horses swept the top 3

2011 – Astrology (15.10) third – trifecta $1,401.80

2010 – First Dude second (23.80) – exacta $188.60, trifecta $2,771

2009 – Rachel Alexandra (1.80*) first – exacta $39.20, trifecta $216.20

2008 – Icabad Crane (22.20) third – trifecta $336.80

2007 - Derby horses swept the top 3

2006 – Bernardini (12.90) first, Hemingway’s Key (29.40) third – exacta $171.60, trifecta $3,912.80

2005 – Scrappy T (13.10) second – exacta $152.60, trifecta $872

2004 – Rock Hard Ten (6.90) second, Eddington (13.20) third – exacta $24.60, trifecta $177.20

2003 – Midway Road (20.00) second – exacta $120.60, trifecta $684.20

2002 – Magic Weisner (45.70) second – exacta $327, trifecta $2,311

2001 - Derby horses swept the top 4

2000 - Red Bullet (6.20) first – exacta $24, trifecta $115.80

Consider these other factors in deciding your 2021 Preakness wagers.

• Since 2000, four is a key number in this discussion because only four times has a Derby horse not won the Preakness and only four times has a new shooter missed the trifecta.

• Bob Baffert has won the Preakness seven times – six of them were Kentucky Derby winners.

• When a Derby horse wins the Preakness, 60 percent of the time at least one new shooter is part of the trifecta.

• Typically, a play that uses a Derby horse with the new shooters is the way to go. In 2018, there was talk of a Triple Crown in Baltimore, and Justify was an odds-on favorite at .40-1. A trifecta wager of Justify with the other Derby horses with all the new shooters hit when Tenfold ran third at 26-1 and fueled a nearly $300 trifecta.

In summary, history says that a Derby horse usually will win, in this case Baffert’s Medina Spirit, and a new shooter will hit the board. Entries for the 2021 Preakness are due on Monday, but based on the current possible field, which include Medina Spirit, two other Derby horses and six new shooters, $1 trifecta wagers should look like this:

• Medina Spirit with the Derby horses (2) with the new shooters (6) = $12

• Medina Spirit with the new shooters (6) with the Derby horses (2) = $12.

2021 Preakness Stakes (G1)

Meet Matt Shifman



Matt Shifman has been on the Horse Racing Nation staff since 2011 and currently is a Senior Writer. Matt covers Aqueduct, Belmont Park, Monmouth Park, and Saratoga in his two HRN blogs, Racing at the Jersey Shore and New York State of Racing

Matt has been a co-host of the popular weekly video show HorseCenter for many years.

Since 2012, Matt has been a voter in the NTRA weekly polls for the Top Thoroughbred and Top Three-Year-Old.

Matt is also a partner in the New York Hot List handicapping service @NYHotList where he handicaps the races on the NYRA circuit everyday. The Hot List picks are available at several ADW sites around the country.



You may also know Matt by his Twitter, Facebook, and HRN screen nameAndyScoggin.

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