05/11/2010 1:17PM

Supersaver Pricing

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Will Super Saver be bet like a standout Derby winner in a motley Preakness field on Saturday, or will we see the same kind of weird squashed-together odds we did at Churchill Downs 10 days ago?

SuperSaver

It's more than an idle question, because the answer may determine whether you want to take a shot against him as an overbet favorite at less than 2-1 or if he's so lukewarm a choice that he becomes an appetizing proposition against a generally unimposing field of opponents?

Things that will make people bet him: a 2 1/2-length Derby victory; the absence of the tough-trip Derby runner-up, Ice Box; Calvin Borel's popularity with the general public; 4 of the last 8 Derby winners returned to win the Preakness; he's lightly raced and improving from start to start.

Things that will make people bet against him: he won the Derby on a sloppy track with a perfect trip; while Borel won last year's Preakness, he is widely perceived as providing a bigger edge at Churchill; the Derby earned a mediocre Beyer of 104, the second lowest in 20 years; the trend of overbetting longshots and underbetting favorites that we saw at Churchill.

Here are the Preakness odds for the last 25 Derby winners who contested the Preakness, in order of their parimutuel popularity at Pimlico:

*It's interesting, if not necessarily significant, that of the nine Derby winners in this span who went off at 1.80-1 or less, only two won, while the rest of the group was 7 for 16.

*Obviously, when a huge longshot wins the Derby, bettors remain skeptical: The only three Derby winners in this sample who went off at at 6-1 or more in the Preakness were the three longest-priced Derby winners in that time: Charismatic (31-1), Giacomo (50-1) and Mine That Bird (50-1).