Preakness Picks: How to Hit the Preakness Trifecta on a $100 Budget

Kentucky Derby winner Mystik Dan will try to earn the second jewel in the Triple Crown today in the Preakness Stakes. Robert Criscola gives out his trifecta plays for the "Run for the Black-Eyed Susans" based on a $100 budget.

Robert Criscola - Contributor at
Robert Criscola • Publishing Editor
May 18, 2024 • 13:14 ET • 4 min read
Catching Freedom horse racing Preakness
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

It's always exciting when the Kentucky Derby winner is running in the Preakness Stakes, and that's what we'll get today when Mystik Dan takes on seven rivals in the 149th edition of the "Run for the Black-Eyed Susans."

In addition to my Preakness Stakes picks, I'll try to hit it big in the second leg of the Triple Crown and play the 2024 Preakness trifecta on a $100 budget. 

Preakness Stakes trifecta picks

The trifecta wager involves the bettor correctly selecting the first three finishers of a race in exact order. The minimum wager amount for every combination is 50 cents, but multiple combinations can be played on the same ticket multiplied by the total cost. 

Before formulating your trifecta tickets, the most important thing to do is narrow down which Preakness horses you believe are capable of finishing in the Top 3. The Preakness post positions can play a small part in that, but current form and pedigree are the more vital handicapping factors when making Preakness trifecta, superfecta, and exacta selections.

$10 trifecta pick:

To win: No. 8 Tuscan Gold

Second place: No. 9 Imagination

Third place: No. 3 Catching Freedom, No. 5 Mystik Dan, No. 7 Just Steel 

$3 trifecta pick:

To win: No. 9 Imagination

Second place: No. 8 Tuscan Gold

Third place: No. 3 Catching Freedom, No. 5 Mystik Dan, No. 7 Just Steel

$2 trifecta pick:

To win: No. 8 Tuscan Gold, No. 9 Imagination

Second place: No. 3 Catching Freedom, No. 5 Mystik Dan, No. 7 Just Steel, No. 8 Tuscan Gold, No. 9 Imagination

Third place: No. 3 Catching Freedom, No. 5 Mystik Dan, No. 7 Just Steel, No. 8 Tuscan Gold, No. 9 Imagination

$1 trifecta pick:

To win: No. 8 Tuscan Gold

Second place: No. 7 Just Steel, No. 9 Imagination

Third place: ALL

$1 trifecta pick:

To win: No. 8 Tuscan Gold

Second place: No. 9 Imagination

Third place: No. 7 Just Steel

Total = $100

Preakness win contenders

The top horse in my Preakness predictions is No. 8 Tuscan Gold. He was last seen running third in the Louisiana Derby on March 23. Although fellow Preakness entrant Catching Freedom beat him that day, I think this son of Medaglia d’Oro is capable of turning the tables in just his second-ever stakes try and fourth-lifetime start.

Tuscan Gold is trained by Chad Brown, a two-time Preakness winner. This pupil is similar to his first two Preakness champs (Cloud Computing in 2017, Early Voting in 2021) in that he skipped the Kentucky Derby while still hinting at Triple Crown-quality potential.

Tyler Gaffalione, who just missed the win in the Derby atop Sierra Leone, will get the nod on Tuscan Gold as he seeks his second Preakness triumph.

No. 9 Imagination is also a win threat exiting a slim defeat in the Santa Anita Derby. He got nosed out by Stronghold that day, and that foe went on to run a decent seventh in the Kentucky Derby. 

The San Felipe Stakes winner has never missed the exacta in six starts and has Frankie Dettori in the saddle once more. Trainer Bob Baffert will be gunning for his ninth Preakness score.

Preakness contenders to hit the board

No. 7 Just Steel could finish as high as second if he doesn't get used up in a pace duel like he did in the Kentucky Derby. The jockey change to patient veteran Joel Rosario could go a long way in accomplishing that.

If you draw a line through his 17th-place finish in the "Run for the Roses," Just Steel owns a decent 4: 0-3-0 record on the year. That may not make him a great win bet, but the 2024 Arkansas Derby runner-up should be in the picture late for Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas.

Catching Freedom is far from the best value bet on the board in terms of picking a winner, but he should at least be used defensively by trifecta players.

He closed well in the lane to be fourth in the Kentucky Derby on the heels of his Louisiana Derby win. Flavien Prat is arguably the most talented rider in the field, and he has the call once more for Brad Cox, who is a Preakness win away from a career Triple Crown. 

I would be remiss if I left out Triple Crown odds-hopeful Mystik Dan. 

Mystik Dan is not the most consistent horse in the Preakness field, but his wins in the Southwest Stakes and the Kentucky Derby stamp him as a legitimate player in this division. Brian Hernandez Jr. will try to work out the perfect trip once more on this Ken McPeek trainee.

Finally, I will hit the "ALL" button for third in one of my trifecta wagers as I spread out my $100 budget across more combinations. If Tuscan Gold wins and either Imagination or Just Steel get second, I want to make sure I'm getting something back in case one of the Preakness long shots in Mugatu, Uncle Heavy, or Seize the Grey outruns their odds.

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