There won't be a Triple Crown quest in 2019 in the absence of Derby winner Country House at Pimlico Downs. But the good news is that betting on horse racing is more mainstream than ever in the United States regardless of who's running in the race.
A parimutuel system is used in horse racing, which is different from betting on a basketball or football game against a point spread in Las Vegas. Bettors aren't wagering against the bookie or house, but against each other, and the house takes a cut. So these numbers could change plenty between now and Preakness post time (6:48 p.m. ET) on May 18. It also means odds aren't fixed at the time of the bet.
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Preakness 2019 odds, post positions
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Preakness 2019 picks
Vinnie Iyer: With the field and track shortened and Improbable in position to regain momentum, Baffert's horse is both the strong and safe bet. With the weather looking much better, there will be no controversy and an unquesioned winner. It won't be domination, but Improbable will feel comfortable at the finish line.
Baffert will make it eight total victories at the Preakness and four winners in the past decade. He and jockey Mike Smith will also make it four wins together in the past five Triple Crown races.
Place: Market King
How to bet on horse racing
If you're betting at a window, whether it be at Pimlico or your local track simulcasting the Preakness, say the name of the track, the number race you're betting, how much you want to wager, the type of wager and the numbers (post positions) of the horses you're including in your bet.
Horse racing wager types
There are tons of different ways to bet on a horse race, but here are some of the most common and ones you'll likely hear about come Preakness time on Saturday.
— Win, place, show, or first, second and third. When you bet on the winner, you simply get the horse at its odds and if it wins, you cash that amount. So $10 on a horse at 12-to-1 nets you $120. If you bet on a horse to "place," or come in second, the payout is less, and same goes for "show."
You can make an "across the board" wager on a horse — a bet on that horse to win, place and show. If the horse wins, you collect all three; if second, two ways; and if third, one way, losing the win and place bets.
— Exacta, trifecta, superfecta. These wagers force a player to pick the exact finishing order of the top two, three or four horses, respectively. The payouts are multiplied the more horses you put in these bets.
You can also "box" an exacta, trifecta or superfecta, which means you bet on all the possible combinations. So if I bet a trifecta box on Always Dreaming, Classic Empire and Irish War Cry in the Preakness, I'd actually be making six bets because I'm taking all six possible combinations.
— Pick three (or four, or five, or six). This involves picking the winners of several different races at a track on a given day. It often pays out the entire pool.
Steve Petrella contributed to this article.