I was thinking about the last few Preaknesses and the beaten favourites that we've seen. Orb couldn't hold up last year, bettors gave Bodemeister a chance to rebound against I'll Have Another, and Animal Kingdom came up a 1/2 length short behind Shackleford. With all of the California Chrome hype, I wanted to see if the recent losing favourites are a sign of what's to come, or if chalk tends to prevail.
Here are the last 20 Preakness favourites, where they finished, and what their odds were.
2013: Orb - 4th, 0.70
2012: Bodemeister - 2nd, 1.70
2011: Animal Kingdom - 2nd, 2.30
2010: Super Saver - 8th, 1.90
2009: Rachel Alexandra - 1st, 1.90
2008: Big Brown - 1st, 0.20
2007: Street Sense - 2nd, 1.30
2006: Barbaro - DNF, 0.50
2005: Afleet Alex - 1st, 3.30
2004: Smarty Jones - 1st, 0.70
2003: Funny Cide - 1st, 1.90
2002: War Emblem - 1st, 2.80
2001: Point Given, 1st, 2.30
2000: Fusaichi Pegasus: 2nd, 0.30
1999: Menifee - 2nd, 2.00
1998: Victory Gallop - 2nd, 2.00
1997: Captain Bodgit - 3rd, 2.10
1996: Cavonnier - 4th, 1.70
1995: Timber Country - 1st, 1.90
1994: Go For Gin - 2nd, 2.80
A $2 win bet on all of these recent favourites would cost $40, and has returned $45.80. To bet all of the favourites who went off under even money would have cost $10, and has returned $5.80. To bet all of the favourites who went off over even money has cost $30, and has returned $40.
Odds on favourites, not surprisingly, have proven to be a bad bet. However, the favourites who offer at least even money have been profitable.
California Chrome will unquestionably go off as the favourite in the Preakness. I'm fairly sure that he will be under even money, and if so he should be a play against in the win pool. However, considering seven of the last 20 Preakness favourites have finished 2nd, its unwise to toss him from the exactor. If he is over even money, he looks like a very solid bet.
We have only 10 days left to the Preakness, and we will hear a lot of talk from bettors either claiming California Chrome is a lock, or that they will stand against him with pride. My recommendation is to wait and watch the board, as you should always be doing in the hunt for good value. Enjoy your week.