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After Rich Strike stunned the Kentucky Derby at 80-1, everyone wants to try and find the next long shot to use in the Preakness Stakes tickets. Matthew DeSantis tells you which long shots to use and which to avoid when building your tickets.
ANALYSIS

2022 Preakness Longshots: Eye This 20-1 Preakness Stakes Longshot

While the nine-horse field does not provide quite as many long-shot options, I am here to tell you which long shots to use and which to avoid when building your tickets.

Trying to find the next Rich Strike in the 2022 Preakness Stakes may be a fool's errand as his Kentucky Derby win was a once-in-a-generation moment. However, it's always good to look for long shots to include in exactas and trifectas as it is uncommon for the top three favorites to all hit the board. Inevitably at least one long shot crashes the party and there are several methods to use when identifying which long shot to play. Below I tell you which long shot (10-1 or higher) plays to use and which to avoid in the 2022 Preakness Stakes.

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2022 Preakness Longshot Picks

USE: Creative Minister (10-1) (Bet $100 to Win $1000)

Creative Minister's owners thought so highly of him that they ponied up $150,000 of their own money to enter him in the 2022 Preakness Stakes as a supplemental entry since they did not automatically qualify for the race. It certainly shows you their confidence in the fast-improving 3-year-old colt sired by Creative Cause. After running out of room in his debut race, he's notched consecutive wins including two weeks ago on the undercard of the Kentucky Derby. In that race, he did not get away from the gate cleanly but managed to round the field and win with ease.

He will need to improve his overall speed figures if he wants a shot to win in this race, but to this point, he has been getting faster each time out and there is no reason to think his progression will stall. His pedigree would suggest the added distance to 9.5 furlongs will not be a problem and the race should set up nicely for him. Several horses in the field are likely to be forwardly placed, which may push the speed. Creative Minister should sit a little further back around mid-back or in the back-third of the field and then launch his bid late. At 10-1, he presents solid value for a horse that has clearly not yet run his best race and might show a monster effort to reward his owners' confidence.

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AVOID: Armagnac (12-1)

I know a lot of people are high on this California colt from Tim Yakteen's barn that was formerly trained by Bob Baffert. After getting thoroughly trounced in the Grade I Santa Anita Derby last month where he finished 12 lengths behind Taiba and Messier, Armagnac came back and won a solid allowance race at Santa Anita during Kentucky Derby weekend. It was good to see him bounce back and progress, but I'm skeptical of his chances of shipping east on two weeks rest.

First, based on how Messier and Taiba ran at the Derby, I think it's fair to question how some of the former Baffert horses are firing now that they are part of a different barn. However, more importantly, Armagnac has never won when he has not gotten the lead. When he gets shuffled back, he often appears to lose interest. The problem in the Preakness is that he does not have the early speed to contend with Early Voting or even Epicenter. Finally, his only two victories have come when he has been using Lasix. The Preakness does not allow horses to be on Lasix, so I would stay away from Armagnac.

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USE: Skippylongstocking (20-1) (Bet $100 to Win $2000)

The third-place finisher at the Grade I Wood Memorial comes in with considerably less hype than the second-place finisher that day, Early Voting (7-2), but should not be discounted. On paper, Skippylongstocking has a solid, but unspectacular form having only won twice in nine career races. However, of late, he has been showing nice progress as he has stretched out in distance. He hit the board in his last two races at 9 furlongs and is sired by former Preakness champion Exaggerator. While he has not been running on the Derby Trail with the exception of the Wood Memorial, he has been running against solid competition and should not be intimidated by the class in this field.

The real reason I like Skippylongstocking in this spot is the way the race shapes up. As mentioned earlier, there should be decent speed up front. Meanwhile, Skippy will be sitting mid-pack and should have a nice trip breaking from the far outside. Since he won't be sucked up into the early speed, he should be able to tuck inside and save ground while reserving enough to kick for home. However, the big reason I like him in this spot is that he has fresh legs. Six of the nine horses in this race ran two weeks ago and running on such a short layoff is always a question. Given the race shape and rest, I think Skippylongstocking feels like a good choice for a horse that creeps onto the board and finishes in the top 3 while passing fatiguing horses down the stretch.

AVOID: Happy Jack (30-1)

People are always going to be drawn to a horse at a big price, but Kentucky Derby runner Happy Jack should be avoided. At Churchill Downs, Happy Jack managed to sit way back and pick off some horses late to finish 14th but was a non-factor while finishing 19 lengths behind Rich Strike. In fact, over his last four races, he has finished a combined 69 lengths behind the winner.

For the Preakness, his trainer, Doug O'Neill, is adding blinkers, which typically means he wants the horse to be closer to the lead early. Theoretically, that's not a bad idea as he has regularly fallen 10 lengths back within the first half-mile in each of his last three starts. Perhaps getting him closer to the leaders will keep him engaged, however, it might also wear him out and he will sacrifice whatever late speed he may possess. Rich Strike winning might make it seem like anything is possible, but there are better choices at a big price to use as outlined above.

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Check back throughout the rest of the week for Matthew's picks for the big races on Black-Eyed Susan and Preakness Day!

Article Author

Horse Racing

Matthew DeSantis is a horse racing handicapper with a fondness for lightly raced horses with improving speed figures. You can find him at the track playing surface changes and second off the layoff.

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