Preakness 2020: Final trifecta picks and strategy

Preakness 2020: Final trifecta picks and strategy
Photo: Coady Photography

Authentic, Art Collector and Pneumatic make up the top three Preakness Stakes selections for this blog, followed by a wider variety of options for the lower spots. Putting those three horses into a multi-race wager is easy enough, or even just Authentic if the budget is low, but now is the time to construct a vertical wager.

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Unlike the failed Derby backwheel featuring Attachment Rate, this trifecta will take the standard pyramid structure and spread in the third slot rather than on top. But using all three picks in the first slot can make this ticket become expensive quickly with a questionable return.

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Instead, this standard trifecta wheel will key Authentic on top. His win requires a good break because he runs in a one-dimensional pacesetting style, but trainer Bob Baffert knows how to take a speedy Derby winner and capture the Preakness. He won the Derby/Preakness double with Justify in 2018, American Pharoah in 2015 and War Emblem in 2002.

The second row of this pyramid structure will contain Art Collector and Pneumatic. As stated in the earlier Preakness Odds and Analysis piece, both of them are talented and on the upswing. The former is undefeated this year with impressive victories in the Blue Grass Stakes (G2) and Ellis Park Derby, while the latter took the Pegasus Stakes at Monmouth with a career-best 123 TimeformUS Speed Figure.

Each of them is capable of winning with a bad trip for Authentic, but in order to save and spread in third, the two runners are relegated to second.

As for the third slot, it features Art Collector and Pneumatic as well, and all the horses labeled as “Use underneath” in the Odds and Analysis piece. Those underneath-only horses are Mr. Big News, Swiss Skydiver, Max Player and Liveyourbeastlife.

Ideally, the horse in third will be a double-digit long shot to counterbalance the odds on Authentic and Art Collector, or even Pneumatic. Pneumatic is 20-1, but his actual price is unclear because he is gaining momentum from other public handicappers attempting to avoid the two favorites, making it possible his odds fall significantly.

Here is the final structure.

Trifecta wheel: 9 / 3,10 / 2,3,4,8,10,11

That is a $10 ticket for $1.

What if Authentic wins and an unexpected horse finishes second?

Betting the top key with a win bet covers the scenario. Assuming Authentic stays at his 9/5 morning line odds and wins the Preakness, a $10 win bet on him covers the trifecta wheel if the second or third row misses the actual finisher in that slot.

In fact, a $10 win bet on a winning 9/5 horse returns $28, giving the better an $8 profit if he spent $10 on the trifecta wheel and $10 on the win bet. Keep an eye on TVG to see if it offers a “Money Back Special” promotion on the Preakness. In most cases, it offers up to a $10 refund on a single win wager if the horse finishes second or third.

If Authentic throws a clunker, that is gambling. But right now, there is no reason not to believe in his chances. He won the Kentucky Derby and owns a 6-5-0-1 record under a two-time Triple Crown winning trainer in Baffert. As long as he breaks well, expect a quality effort.

2020 Preakness Stakes (G1)


Meet Reinier Macatangay

My first time at the racetrack came as a 5-year-old kid at Santa Anita Park. For most of my younger life, that was the only track I attended other the occasional visit to Hollywood Park. 

Years later, after graduating California State University, Stanislaus with an English MA, I began writing for Lady and the Track. From late 2014-2016, my articles were seen on a weekly basis and covered handicapping, interviews with well-known racing personalities, fashion and more. 

The handicapping style I use concentrates on pace analysis. Some horses are compromised by the pace. Others are helped. Handicappers just starting out cannot easily see how pace affects the finish, so with this blog, I hope to help those unsure of how to apply pace into their handicapping and post-race analysis. 

On an unrelated note, I enjoy video games and attending anime or comic-book conventions. I am currently based in Kentucky, but spend a lot of time traveling between there and California.

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