Caleb’s StableDuel Strategy – 5/21 Preakness - DFS Karma
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Caleb’s StableDuel Strategy – 5/21 Preakness

Tomorrow brings us the second jewel of the Triple Crown, the Grade 1 Preakness Stakes hosted at historic Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland. Two weeks ago, Rich Strike posted a monumental upset when going from last to first to win the Kentucky Derby at mind-boggling odds of 80-1. While Rich Strike is not entered in this race, we nevertheless have a field of nine horses, including the snakebitten runner up Epicenter who is looking for retribution. StableDuel is offering two fantastic contests for Preakness day, the first of which is totally FREE to enter! The big money game has a buy-in of $100 but guarantees $15,000 to be paid out, including $3,375 to the winner! Have no fear if you are a little unsure about your chances to take home the grand prize, however, as the top 25 finishers will all walk away with more money than they started with.

While the Preakness is the main attraction, it is still only one race in a day that has thirteen races to pick from, boasting full fields and many high class graded stakes winning horses. Many folks will gravitate towards the Preakness since it is likely full of horses they have heard of before or who ran previously in the Kentucky Derby. That can oftentimes lead to advantages in other races where people are forced to evaluate horses they are not as familiar with. Anyone can pick the short priced favorite, but finding those diamonds in the rough is what separates the average players from the big winners.

If you’ve been following along with us here at DFS Karma, you already know the gig. You have a mythical $50k budget to pick 10 horses racing today. Each horse has a price, based on it’s morning line odds. Horses who are heavy favorites will cost you more salary to use, but they also generally bring more upside. Longshot horses will be cheaper but do carry some risk. You will either earn or lose points for each horse you’ve selected based on where they finish. The short version is that finishing in the top 5 earns you 10-60 points from 5th to 1st, respectively, plus or minus some points based on the margin of victory. If you finish worse than 5th, however, you lose points based on how much you lost by, so be careful with taking longshots!

Below, I’ve outlined a few horses at varying price tiers who I feel are compelling horses to include in some StableDuel stables.

If you need a refresher on scoring, please refer back to our debut article that goes a little more in-depth, located here.

Looking for other ideas to fill out your stable? Be sure to check out the discord, where we provide core plays and cheat sheets to help you win! Also be sure to check out the podcast where Ricky, Trevis, and I review some of our favorite horses, angles, and strategies for the Preakness!

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High Price Favorites

Epicenter $9,800 – Race 13
While I could was poetic about the merits of Epicenter, I think anyone can reasonably identify Epicenter as an overwhelmingly likely winner in this race. He arguably ran the best race in the Kentucky Derby, as he sat much closer to the absolutely blistering pace up front  than Rich Strike. In fact, at the one mile point of the race, Epicenter took the lead. At that time, the horses who finished 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th were 15th, 4th, 11th, 14th, and 17th, respectively. This highlights just how fast they were traveling in the early part of the race when the closers dominated the top 6 positions on the board. Epicenter was by far the best of the horses who were in the forward half of the field, and he even managed to hold off a late charge by Zandon before getting surprised by Rich Strike coming up the fence late. The Preakness field is undoubtedly softer than what he faced in the Derby, and this horse improved in each start of his young career. I fully expect him to sit just off of the pace likely set by Early Voting and launch his bid as they turn for home. Epicenter will likely be on the vast majority of stables entered this Saturday, but he is arguably the most likely winner on the card and is a horse that I personally find worth spending up on.


Mid Price Plays

Seven Scents $7,000 – Race 12
While Carotari is the horse to beat in this race, I’m a wary of spending a ton of salary on a horse that is somewhat inconsistent and is making his first start as a six-year-old off of an extended five month layoff. He can win, but he won’t be in many of my stables. I’d much rather spend $7,000 on Seven Scents. This gelding has been around the block, racing 40 times in his career and banking over $300,000. He’s always been a respectable turf sprinter competing on smaller tracks such as Lone Star and Sam Houston. However, the extremely sharp trainer Brad Cox saw fit to invest a healthy $80,000 to claim this horse out of his last race. Brad Cox is one of the best trainers in the game, so it comes as no surprise when Seven Scents ran one of the best races in his career in his first start in the Cox barn when taking home a $130,000 allowance race at the prestigious Keeneland spring meet. A repeat of that effort would make him a handful in here, and it’s not unreasonable to expect him to improve once again in his second start for Cox. Seven Scents has versatility, as he can win near the lead but prefers to stalk a few lengths off the pace. With the likes of Carotari and Hollis likely to duel up front, Seven Scents should inherit a dream trip sitting third behind the leaders and has a strong chance to mow them down late.


Value Plays

Lightening Larry $1,000 – Race 9
I think this might be a race where we get to take advantage of what appears to be a relatively poor morning line. Lightening Larry will only cost a modest $1,000, but I genuinely believe this colt has a chance to win the race. He has finished first or second in seven of his eight career starts, including his last five races in a row. However, he isn’t the most consistent horse when it comes to actually winning, as he tends to alternate wins with second place finishes. Some horses struggle to replicate top efforts for multiple races in a row, and Lightening Larry seems like one who follows up his decent races with big efforts. Given he finished second last time out, he should be primed for a big race today. The pace of this race projects to be very swift, with multiple horses likely to contend for the lead. Lightening Larry should get a dream trip from an inside draw stalking the speed and pouncing on the leaders turning for home.



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