With the most exciting two minutes in sports now in the books, the horse racing world now shifts its attention to the possibility of a Triple Crown champion. This week, Kentucky Derby champion California Chrome heads into the Preakness Stakes looking to become the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978. According to TiqIQ, Preakness Stakes tickets carry secondary market ticket prices well below those of the other two Triple Crown races. For horse racing fans looking to potentially take in a timeless piece of history and create memories to last a lifetime, the Preakness represents a bargain relative to the Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes, and the hope of a Triple Crown champion is very much alive.
This year’s race will be the 139th running of the Preakness Stakes. The race has been held each year since 1873 at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland, with the exception of a 3 year hiatus from 1891-93. Not only is the Preakness the 2nd leg of the Triple Crown, but it is also the second most attended horse racing event in North America, trailing only the Kentucky Derby. The average price for Preakness tickets on the secondary market this year checks in at $135.88, a three-year low. While this price is a significant decrease from last year’s average of $199.18, it is much closer to the 2012 average of $139.92. Generally speaking however, Preakness tickets do not shift in price as much as the other Triple Crown races, particularly the Belmont Stakes which can shift greatly depending on whether or not a particular horse is running to complete the Triple Crown. Because the winner of the Kentucky Derby is automatically still gunning for the Triple Crown in the Preakness, there is usually a steady level of demand at the track. Further, California Chrome enters the weekend as a -160 favorite to win the race. If the young colt does emerge victorious, the price of Belmont Stakes tickets will rise significantly.
The ponies will get a three week break before the Belmont Stakes, which is set to be run on Saturday, June 7 at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York. Belmont Stakes tickets are currently over double the price of Preakness tickets on the secondary market, checking in at an average of $283.09—a premium of 108.3%. Of course, Belmont Stakes tickets are known to fluctuate greatly based on the outcome of the Preakness. Should California Chrome take The Run for the Black-Eyed Susans, Belmont Stakes tickets could inflate to prices that rival those of the Kentucky Derby. If California Chrome is defeated, Belmont tickets will fall to the point where they will likely become cheaper than those of the Preakness.
After Derby-winner Orb failed to win the Preakness last year, Belmont Stakes tickets dropped to an average price of $87.81, less than half the average price of last year’s Preakness. 2012 offered an even more interesting phenomenon however, as I’ll Have Another entered the Belmont weekend with a shot at the Triple Crown only to be scratched from the race just a day before. This caused a sudden and substantial drop in secondary market ticket prices, but the Belmont still closed with an average price of $320.40, 264.8% above the average of last year.
- With California Chrome the clear favorite of oddsmakers in both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, it’s safe to say he’s as good a bet as any to potentially become the first Triple Crown winner in over three decades. The current 36-year drought without a Triple Crown winner is the second longest in history, behind only the 44 year drought that spanned 1875 to 1919. Undoubtedly, California Chrome has a good shot at history. The -160 odds assigned to the colt this weekend imply a 61.5% chance at victory. Assuming he does not get upset this weekend, California Chrome will certainly be the favorite heading into the Belmont Stakes as well. If that is the case, expect demand and prices for Belmont tickets on the secondary market to skyrocket immediately following the conclusion of the Preakness.