Bob Baffert wasn’t the only one establishing new bench marks at the Pimlico. Despite all the issues with weather and smaller field sizes, the 2018 Preakness handle set a new high of $$61.97 million, which is 2.9 percent higher than the year prior. This represents the total number of dollars bet on the main event itself.
The entire, 14-race card drew $93.66 million which is the third highest mark across the whole program. What’s impressive about this is that the weather made it difficult to see the races, let alone bet on them. But the fields were also down to around 6.6 horses per race which is more than two horses less than in 2017.
This had a ripple effect on betting, where players took more chances than they usually do. The trifecta was up 10.9 percent and action on the superfecta grew by a staggering 26.5 percent. Straight bets and exactas were down but by less than two percent but that didn’t seem to impact the 2018 Preakness handle overall. The Pick 6 also received a boost.
Matching this was the third highest attendance in the events history with 134,487 people slogging through the adverse conditions. It was more of a music festival environment than the posh, high-class affair that people usually associate with Thoroughbred racing but the images seem to reflect an amazingly unique time.
Justify and Good Magic were the 1-2 and 3-1 favorites early on, and the gap between them and the rest of the field seemed to make the race a given, which in itself would’ve boosted the 2018 Preakness handle. But Good Magic finished fourth despite a valiant effort. Bravazo was second and Tenfold was third, and both were 20/1 longshots on the morning line.
This is a solid output for the 2018 Preakness handle, which is pivotal in propping up Maryland Thoroughbred racing and the continued hurdles Pimlico is trying to clear in terms of maintenance and facility upgrades. Justify winning and putting a Triple Crown championship on the table will also prop up the 2018 Belmont Stakes which runs on June 9th.