The Preakness superfecta: More closers than expected

The Preakness superfecta: More closers than expected

The Preakness Stakes is often considered a chalky race, and while that may be true when it comes to the winner (no 20-1 or greater horse has won the Preakness in 20 years), at least one long shot of 20-1 or more has hit the superfecta in 18 of the past 20 editions of the Preakness. 

Looking back at the graphic above covering the last 10 runnings of the Preakness Stakes, one thing that stands out is the large number of closers finishing in the superfecta.

What about speed horses?

In fact, in every year except the COVID-postponed Preakness of 2020, at least 50% of the horses in the superfecta were closers or off-the-pace types. 

First, let's look at how the pace/speed types have fared.  Pace horses have won three of the last 10 Preakness runnings, but only 6 pace horses have finished in the superfecta in the last 10 years.  That means that pace/speed types have only accounted for 6/40 possible spots.

As far as pace presser types, they have won two of the last 10 runnings, but hit the exacta four other times.

Looking at closers

Closers and off-pace runners have accounted for 25 of the 40 superfecta finishes in the last 10 years. 

When closers and off-the-pace types finish in the Preakness superfecta, they are even more likely to do so in the third and fourth spots.  They have accounted for 50% of the exacta finishers, but 75% of the finishers in the bottom half of the superfecta.

In addition, one 10-1 or greater closer has finished in the superfecta in every one of the last 10 Preakness runnings.

Looking for prices 

Looking at horses that went off at 10-1 or higher, they accounted for 18 of the 40 superfecta spots.  However, of the 18 superfecta hitters that went off at 10-1 or higher, 14/18 of them were off-the-pace types or closers.  

Looking for long shots 

Of the seven superfecta hitters that were 20-1 or higher, 6/7 were closers, with General A Rod rating as an off-the-pace type.  This shows that when looking for Preakness longshots, you want to be looking for closers, not for speed and presser types.

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