Preakness Stakes Betting: Odds on full field fade

Matthew Stockman

Orb may face a small field of challengers as Preakness Stakes betting odds go up this week. The Derby winner is a big favorite so far and a dwindling field may make him a bigger favorite by post time.

When one trainer decides to withdraw his horse from a race, it doesn't usually leave organizers scrambling to fill the field.

But when that trainer is Todd Pletcher and he decides that none of his five Kentucky Derby runners will enter the Preakness stakes, odds on a full field of 14 dwindle quickly.

"Then Vyjack was scratched and Normandy Invasion's connections decided against the Preakness and Street Spice was held out as well, so small wonder that the over-under odds went from 13 to 11.5 within days," said Michael Dempsey of USRacebook.com.

Indeed, Preakness Stakes props on the number of runners went to 11.5 as of Monday, according to Bovada racebook officials. They were holding steady with Kentucky Derby Orb as a prohibitive Preakness favorite.

While the post draw was set for Wednesday afternoon, racebooks had offered odds on eight confirmed runners. All were well back of Orb.

With top Derby horses Verrazano, Palace Malice, Revolutionary, Charming Kitten and Overanalyze out of the picture and with Rick Pitino-owned Goldencents at +1100, a new challenger has emerged as the second betting choice.

Illinois Derby winner Departing was sitting at +425 at some racebooks for Saturday's 1-3/16-mile run at Pimlico in Baltimore.

Preakness race coordinator Coley Blind said he predicts the field to settle at 12.

"Twelve great competitors would be better than 14 so-so competitors," he said. He said the quality of Orb may be forcing some trainers to shy away from the Preakness.

If Orb proves the Derby win was no fluke, he will point to the Belmont Stakes with a shot at Triple Crown glory. Whether it's a feeling that Orb is a superhorse or whether oddsmakers don't see much credible talent in the rest of the field, the odds on a Triple Crown are surprisingly low.

A Triple Crown would only pay out at less than 3-1 after the Derby win by Orb.

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