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Preakness Stakes betting: Capping the live underdogs

Orb is going to draw a massive amount of the action at the Preakness this year. Goldencents and Mylute will draw their share of attention too. We look outside of the favorites for three underdogs who are worth a wager:

Will Take Charge (+1,200)

This horse is getting some buzz heading into the Preakness and he deserves all of it. If you watch the replay of the Kentucky Derby and focus on Orb making his move late in the race, you’ll see another horse making a move at least as impressive. That was Will Take Charge.

Unfortunately, while Orb had a perfect trip, Will Take Charge ran into a rapidly retreating Verrazano and had to check his progress. Of course, the interruption means that we can’t ever know how good he could have been on that day. Maybe he would have moved to the lead and grabbed all of the glory. Or maybe he would have run out of gas.

The one thing you can’t argue with, though, is that there was more there than he was able to show. A decent price plus obvious potential makes for an interesting horse, especially because he has had a massive upgrade in the saddle with Mike Smith replacing Jon Court.

Itsmyluckyday (+800)

Sometimes you just have to pretend a race never happened. Itsmyluckyday gets a mulligan for his Kentucky Derby. He settled in the middle of the pack where he wanted to be early on, but when asked to run there was nothing there and he was an irrelevant 15th.

His efforts in the Florida Derby and the Holy Bull showed that he is clearly a better horse, even if he didn’t have a clear excuse last time out. The bright side of the effort is that it has freed up some room on the horse’s bandwagon and the price here will be more attractive than it could have been as a result.

He also gets a big upgrade in riders, with Elvis Trujillo making way for John Velazquez. Velazquez gave up the ride on Orb in favor of Verrazano, so he’ll be motivated to minimize the pain of that decision.

Departing (+350)

Bettors will always pick a horse that didn’t run in the Kentucky Derby. A horse that didn’t run in Kentucky can be more attractive than one that did but was disappointing. Departing is that horse this year and could go off as the second choice by post time.

His Illinois Derby win was dominating but he beat a far-from-inspiring field. Jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. pulled off an upset in the Breeders’ Cup Classic last year aboard Fort Larned and trainer Al Stall Jr. dealt legendary Zenyatta her only loss when Blame won that same race in 2010. In other words, the connections know plenty about crushing dreams and there are Triple Crown dreams to crush here.

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