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2022 Preakness Stakes Picks – Our Expert Picks

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An elite field will gather at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore to contest the 2022 Preakness Stakes on May 21. It is one of the biggest races of the year, so horseplayers are on the hunt for Preakness Stakes picks.

This guide will offer top Preakness picks by experts. We have provided our top picks for the win, the place, the show, and exotics such as the exacta and trifecta. You can also compare Preakness odds from the best online racebooks and glean tips on how to successfully bet on the Preakness Stakes.

2022 Preakness Stakes Favorites

Since it was revealed that Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike will not take part in the race, the Preakness Stakes odds have shifted dramatically. The horse’s withdrawal has affected the lines, but we do now have a clear idea of exactly who will run and the favorites to win. These are the contenders for Preakness Stakes glory:

Horse BetOnline Bovada BetUS XBet
Epicenter +135 +125 +150 +125
Secret Oath +400 +400 +400 +400
Early Voting +500 +350 +400  +400
Simplification +700 +500 +500 +800
Creative Minister +1200 +500 +500 +1000
Skippylongstocking +2000 +1200 +1600 +2000
Shake Em Loose +2200 +3300 +2800 +3300
Un Ojo +2500 +2000 +2000 +1600
Happy Jack +2500 +2500 +3300 +1600
Ethereal Road +3300 +3300 +3300 On Request
Rattle N Roll +3300 +3300 +3300 On Request

The odds are liable to change as the race approaches, but these lines were correct at the time of publishing.

Basketball Insiders’ Preakness Stakes Expert Picks

Once you’ve got to grips with the odds and learned how to bet the Preakness Stakes, it’s time to throw your hat into the ring and back a winning horse. To assist, we have analyzed every contender’s strengths and weaknesses in great detail. These are our Preakness Stakes expert picks:

Our Preakness Stakes Pick to Win

Epicenter deserves his status as the favorite to win the Preakness Stakes. He was unlucky not to win the Kentucky Derby, beaten at the death by a claimer that was not initially scheduled to even take part in the race.

He could perform better over the slightly shorter distance at the Preakness. Epicenter has consistently displayed impressive pace this year, which is an important race attribute. He earned a 100 Beyer Speed Rating when finishing second in the Kentucky Derby and is likely to at least match that level in the Preakness.

If we look at the Timeform Speed Figures, Epicenter achieved 118 when winning the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby and 120 in the Kentucky Derby. The second favorite, Secret Oath, could only manage 116 when winning the Oaks, and her previous best was 111 in the Honeybee Stakes.

Epicenter has looked sharp in training since the Derby. Trainer Steve Asmussen has saddled two previous Preakness Stakes winners and seems confident that Epicenter can prevail. Zandon, who finished third in the Derby, would have provided fierce opposition but will skip the Preakness, giving Epicenter a great chance of success.

Our top pick: 

  • Epicenter to win the Preakness Stakes @ +135 with BetOnline
  • A $10 bet would win $13.50

Preakness Stakes picks

Top 3 Preakness Picks

Secret Oath aims to become the third filly in the 21st century to win the Preakness, following in the footsteps of Swiss Skydiver and Rachel Alexandra. She will carry terrific momentum into the race after clinching the Kentucky Oaks, and trainer D. Wayne Lukas suggests she could have an advantage over the horses that contested the Derby.

“The Derby horses pretty much all had a hard race,” Lukas said. “Her race was not hard on her.” There are obvious concerns about her speed ratings – she achieved a Timeform rating of 116 in the Oaks, which could leave her struggling to keep up with Epicenter – but Lukas appeared to insinuate that she could have gone faster against tougher opponents.

This will be her second race against males. She was third in the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby last month. Secret Oath will need to improve on that performance to win the Preakness. She will get a weight advantage for this race, and Lukas hopes she will be fresher than her rivals. This filly is unlikely to beat Epicenter, but she looks good for a place or show bet.

Another interesting option is Simplification. He was fourth in the Derby, outpaced by Epicenter, but he finished ahead of some talented runners.

Rich Strike and Zandon are not contesting this race, so Simplification has a great chance of finishing in the top three. He may also enjoy a slightly shorter distance, as he was losing momentum towards the end of the Derby.

Our picks: 

  • Secret Oath to win the Preakness Stakes @ +400 with Bovada
  • Simplification to win the Preakness Stakes @ +800 with XBet

Preakness Longshot Picks

Creative Minister is not nominated to the Triple Crown, so his owners have stumped up a $150,000 supplement charge to get him into the Preakness. That suggests they are confident in his chances of success. Trainer Kenny McGeek ran 2020 winner Swiss Skydiver.

“I didn’t Triple Crown nominate him because I didn’t think he’d be ready,” said McGeek. “Since then, he’s just blossomed. His last two starts have been completely professional.”

Another interesting long shot could be Un Ojo. He was scratched from the Kentucky Derby, but he is apparently back to full health now. Un Ojo won the Grade 2 Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park a couple of months ago, and he should have a lot in the tank for this race.

Our picks: 

  • Creative Minister to win the Preakness Stakes @ +1000 with XBet
  • Un Ujo to win the Preakness Stakes @ +2500 with BetOnline

Preakness Stakes Exotic Picks

The Preakness Stakes is one of the most important horse racing events of the season, and exotic bets are always popular. These are our top Preakness picks in the exotics category:

Preakness Stakes 2022 Exacta Picks

We are going with Epicenter to finish ahead of Secret Oath for our exacta pick. Epicenter should have too much pace and staying power for his rivals in this race. Secret Oath is unlikely to beat him, but she should be capable of finishing ahead of Early Voting, Simplification et al to claim second place.

Our picks: 

The payout for the exacta will be revealed after the race. Last year, a $2 exacta on the Preakness paid $98.60.

Preakness Stakes 2022 Trifecta Picks

Simplification joins Epicenter and Secret Oath for the trifecta in our Preakness 2022 picks. We prefer Simplification to Early Voting, who finished second behind Mo Donegal – the fifth-place Kentucky Derby finisher- at the Wood Memorial last month. Simplification was fourth in the Derby, and we believe he will relish the shorter distance in the Preakness.

Our picks: 

Last year, a $1 trifecta on the Preakness paid $162.70.

Preakness Stakes 2022 Superfecta Picks

Creative Minister should be good for a top-four finish in this race. He is a late bloomer, and he has been on an upward curve recently. It may be a little soon for him to get the better of an elite runner like Epicenter, but he should be in the mix down the stretch.

Our picks: 

The $1 superfecta on the Preakness Stakes 2021 paid $1,025.50.

Preakness Stakes 2022 Super Hi-Five Picks

We are going for Epicenter, Secret Oath, Simplification, Creative Minister, and Early Voting as the first five finishers in our Preakness horse picks.  Early Voting is a pacesetter, which should stand him in good stead for the Preakness, but we like the other four to surge past him on the stretch.

Our picks: 

A $1 Super Hi-Five on last year’s Preakness Stakes paid $4,857.

Preakness Stakes

Our Top 3 Picks for the Preakness Stakes

These are our top Preakness picks for 2022:

Pick 1: Epicenter to Win the Preakness Stakes

It is hard to look past Epicenter as the winner of this race. The odds at the sportsbooks are short, but that is justified by his strong showing in the Derby. Rich Strike roared past him in the final yards, so a slightly shorter race should suit him. He heads up our Preakness best picks.

Pick 2: Epicenter-Secret Oath Preakness Stakes Quinella

Secret Oath is generating a lot of attention from respected handicappers. She has never previously displayed the pace to suggest she can beat Epicenter, but she may put in her best display yet at the Preakness. Few expected Swiss Skydiver to win two years ago, and Secret Oath could follow in her footsteps, so a quinella featuring the two horses appeals.

Pick 3: Simplification (Show) in the Preakness Stakes

Simplification has enough quality to finish in the top three at the Preakness Stakes. He was fourth in the Derby, and two of the runners that beat him – Rich Strike and Zandon – will not take part. Simplification looked like he would benefit from a shorter distance, even more so than Epicenter, and he should be dangerous in the Preakness.

Best Preakness Stakes Betting Sites

We have reviewed the major sites offering Preakness Stakes odds in detail. We focused on the quality of the fixed odds, the bonuses, payout speeds, and much more. These are the best Preakness Stakes betting sites in 2022:

Best Preakness Stakes Betting Sites

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5 Key Preakness Stakes Trends That Can Help You Pick the Winner

Now that you know our Preakness Stakes picks for this year’s big race and our top places to wager, we also asked expert handicappers to study the key stats and trends. While there are no guarantees that these will pinpoint the winner, they will help you make more astute wagering decisions. These are our top 5 key Preakness Stakes trends:

1. New Shooters Grow in Prominence

Twenty-one of the 22 Preakness Stakes winners from 1984 to 2005 had taken part in the Kentucky Derby. The only exception was the 2000 winner Red Bullet. However, from 2006 onwards, horses that did not contest the Derby – known as new shooters – have enjoyed a lot more success.

Bernardini (2006), Rachel Alexandra (2009), Cloud Computing (2017), Swiss Skydiver (2020), and Rombauer (2021) did not compete in the Kentucky Derby, but they did win the Preakness Stakes.

However, Rachel Alexandra and Swiss Skydiver prepped in the Kentucky Oaks, and 17 of the last 20 winners, therefore, came from the Derby or the Oaks. The only exceptions were Bernardini, Cloud Computing, and last year’s winner, Rombauer.

2. Inside Post Positions are Advantageous

Six of the last eight Preakness Stakes winners came from the first half of the field, so the inside post positions are coveted. It will be important to look for the barrier draw when making your final Preakness picks.

Two of the last eight winners broke from the rail – War of Will and American Pharaoh. War of Will raced on the inside for most of the Preakness Stakes en route to victory in 2019. Exaggerator, Cloud Computing, and Swiss Skydiver all stuck to the inside too, showing that it pays to save ground on the tight Pimlico track, with its tough turns.

3. Late Closers Have Struggled

This is a race dominated by pacesetters and speed horses. Four of the last 15 Preakness Stakes winners led from wire to wire – Justify, American Pharaoh, Oxbow, and Rachel Alexandra. A further six of the last 15 winners were within 3 1/2 lengths of the lead after half a mile.

Tactical speed is important. Swiss Skydiver, War of Will, Cloud Computing, California Chrome, I’ll Have Another, and Shackleford – all winners since 2011 – used pace-tracking tactics during the race.

Late closers struggle to win this race. Exaggerator, the 2016 victor, was an exception, but he relished the unusually sloppy conditions that year. Rombauer in 2021 and Curlin in 2007 also buck the trend, but in general, pace matters.

4. Double-Digit Winners are Reasonably Common

This table shows the past 10 Preakness Stakes winners, along with the fixed odds available on them.

Year Winning Horse Jockey Trainer Odds
2021 Rombauer Flavien Prat Michael W. McCarthy 11/1
2020 Swiss Skydiver Rory Albarado Kenneth McPeek 11/1
2019 War of Will Tyler Gaffalione Mark E. Casse 10/1
2018 Justify Mike Smith Bob Baffert 1/2
2017 Cloud Computing Javier Castellano Chad Brown 13/1
2016 Exaggerator Kent Desormeaux J. Keith Desormeaux 3/1
2015 American Pharaoh Victor Espinoza Bob Baffert 4/5
2014 California Chrome Victor Espinoza Art Sherman 1/6
2013 Oxbow Gary Stevens D. Wayne Lukas 15/1
2012 I’ll Have Another Mario Gutierrez Doug O’Neill 5/2

As you can see, double-digit winners – horses priced at 10/1 (+1000) or greater – have performed well. They won the last three Preakness Stakes, and four of the last five. Justify American Pharaoh and California Chrome stand out, but they were all dominant Kentucky Derby winners, so do not write off mid-range horses in the betting.

5. Look Out for Proven Stakes Winners

Twenty-two of the last 25 Preakness Stakes winners had previously won a graded stakes race. Seventeen of them had at least one Grade 1 win under their belts before lining up at Pimlico.

The three exceptions to the rule were Shackleford (2011), Cloud Computing (2017), and Rombauer (2021). However, it is worth noting that each of them had finished second in Grade 1 races. Shakleford was narrowly beaten in the Grade 1 Florida Derby, and Rombauer was runner-up in the Grade 1 American Pharoah Stakes before winning the Preakness.

What are Preakness Stakes Picks?

Preakness Stakes picks are predictions on how this race will unfold. Handicappers study the past performances of each runner in exhaustive detail. They focus on how well a horse has reacted to certain conditions, the distances it favors, and how strong it has been in races of a similar caliber.

Handicappers picks for the Preakness also factor in issues like fatigue and momentum. If a horse appears to be on an upward curve, it could be an interesting option. They must also check the weather forecast and consider the expected conditions at Pimlico. For example, it was sloppy in 2016, and Exaggerator relished those conditions.

The idea is to ultimately rank each horse in order, focusing on attributes such as speed, style, and endurance. You can rule certain horses out, and at the end of the process, you are left with an idea of which horse will win.

Preakness expert picks are then released. Some are free, while certain handicappers sell their Preakness Stakes picks.

Where to Find Preakness Stakes Expert Picks

We have provided our Preakness top picks on this page, but we also encourage you to gather as much information as possible before betting on this race. As such, it is worth checking out some additional Preakness Stakes picks from respected handicappers.

One interesting resource is Preakness Stakes picks from TVG, which offers live streaming of the big race. There is no official Preakness Stakes site, but the experts at the Kentucky Derby site often give out Preakness picks. You can also scour social media but stick to handicappers with proven records.

Preakness Stakes 2022

How to Make Preakness Stakes Picks and Predictions

If you would like to handicap this race and come up with your own Preakness picks, there are some attributes that you should consider:

  • Speed Figures: Pace is an important trait for Preakness winners. We have seen a few gate-to-wire winners, while most recent victors have displayed tactical speed. Epicenter earned a 120 Timeform Speed Figure at the Kentucky Derby, compared to 116 for Secret Oath at the Oaks.
  • Class: You should factor in the quality of the opposition that each horse has beaten this year. Runners that performed well in major Grade 1 races such as the Kentucky Derby, Kentucky Oaks, and Florida Derby should relish the Preakness.
  • Post Positions: Horses drawn on the inside post positions tend to perform well at the Preakness, as Pimlico is notorious for its tight corners. Check the barrier draw before making your final Preakness Stakes picks.
  • Pace and Style: Look out for pacesetters and speed horses, who have a great record in this race. It is rare to see a closer win the Preakness.
  • Staying Power: Staying power is important, but not quite as important as the Kentucky Derby, as the Preakness is a little shorter. Horses that looked to be running out of steam towards the end of the Derby could enjoy a slightly shorter distance.

We would also encourage you to take advantage of as many horse racing free bets as possible before the race begins. Online racebooks give out free bets to new and existing customers to stand out from rival sites.

Picks and Parlays for the Preakness Stakes

A parlay involves combining a bet on the winner of the Preakness Stakes with a bet on the winner of another race for a single wager. The most common option is a double featuring the Preakness Stakes and the Black-Eyed Susan, which is run the previous day at Pimlico. Some racebooks will allow you to parlay the Preakness with additional events.

More on horse racing betting…

If you would like to learn more about betting on the Preakness Stakes, check out the additional resources on these pages:

Best Betting Site for Preakness Stakes

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Preakness Stakes Picks FAQs

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Marty has been writing long-form articles on sports betting, horse racing, esports and online casino gaming for Basketball Insiders since 2021. He worked for one of the world's largest bookmakers before becoming a journalist, and he has covered the industry for the past eight years.