05/13/2009 10:09PM

Preakness Prices

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So how are they going to bet this Preakness? I've heard and read as low as 6-to-5 to as high as 3-1 on Oaks winner Rachel Alexandra, with Derby winner Mine That Bird anywhere from the second choice at 4-1 to the fifth choice at 8-1. Pimlico linemaker Frank Carulli, one of the best in the business, made the filly 8-5, Pioneerof the Nile the 5-1 second choice, and Mine That Bird co-third choice with beaten Derby favorite Friesan Fire at 6-1 apiece. DRF's Mike Watchmaker tabs Rachel Alexandra at 9-5 with Mine That Bird the second choice at 9-2.

Just to refresh recent memory, here's how the the betting shook out by post time in the last three runnings of the Preakness:


In each of the last three Preaknesses, you had a Derby winner who had been the first or second choice in Louisville. It's a completely different situation this year with a favorite who didn't run in a Derby where the winner was 50-1. It might be more relevant to look at the last three Preaknesses that followed a longshot winner in the Derby:

The amazing thing about the 2005 betting was that despite a full field of 14, no one went off at more than 27-1. It was as if the betting public was still reeling from Giacomo's triumph at 50-1 and unwilling to let even a 30-1 shot run in on them two weeks later. Might we see the same thing in the wake of this year's 50-1 winner?

Thunder Gulch and Giacomo went off as third choices in the Preakness after their Derby upsets, while Charismatic was the fifth choice in 1999. In all three cases, all the horses favored over the Derby winner were coming out of the Derby, not new shooters such as Rachel Alexandra. In fact you have to go back 27 years to Linkage in 1982 to find the last Preakness favorite who didn't run in the Derby.

That was the year that Gato del Sol skipped the Preakness after winning the Derby at $44.40. Linkage, who won the Blue Grass but then skipped the Derby because longtime Maryland trainer Henry Clark was more interested in winning the Preakness and wanted the extra time, finished second at odds of 1-2 to fellow new shooter Aloma's Ruler ($13.80) -- the only Preakness in at least the last 50 years where a Derby runner was not part of the Preakness exacta.