War of Will, Alwaysmining, Bourbon War follow the favorite on the updated betting lines

As the countdown continues towards this Saturday's running of the 2019 Preakness Stakes, Improbable continues to lead the way on the betting futures where he's a strong +175 favorite to claim the second jewel in this year's Triple Crown of American Thoroughbred Racing.

Improbable returns to action after turning in a disappointing fourth-place finish at the Kentucky Derby while set as a strong +500 wager. But the Bob Baffert-trained colt has benefited on the Preakness Stakes odds from the decision of several trainers to keep a number of the Kentucky Derby favorites out of the 144th running of the Preakness Stakes on Saturday  at Pimlico Race Course.

In addition to Kentucky Derby winner Country House, and disqualified colt Maximum Security, other notable horses expected to skip the Preakness Stakes include Roadster, Game Winner, Code of Honor, and Tacitus.

That provides a golden opportunity for Improbable, who has struggled with hard luck so far in 2019. Improbable found the winner's circle in his graded stakes debut at the Los Alamitos Futurity, but has failed to duplicate that success in three outings since, turning in second-place finishes at both the Rebel Stakes and Arkansas Derby before finishing out of the money at the Kentucky Derby.

Improbable's odds to win 2019 Preakness Stakes have been given an additional boost following the news that renowned jockey Mike E. Smith will be his rider on Saturday evening.

Smith earned horse racing immortality by riding Justify to a Triple Crown victory a year ago, and has two career Preakness Stakes wins to his credit. However, the 53-year-old proved to be a non-factor in this year's Kentucky Derby, riding Cutting Humor to a 10th-place finish as a +2800 wager.

War of Will Leads Rest of Preakness Stakes Betting Lines

Despite the absence of the Kentucky Derby favorites, there remains no shortage of stiff competition in this year's Run for the Black-Eyed Susans, with War of Will sitting second in Preakness Stakes betting at +275, ahead of Alwaysmining at +650, Bourbon War at +700, and Owendale at +800.

War of Will sports the most graded stakes race experience of any horse in Saturday's field, making nine stakes race appearances since last September. However, he has turned in mixed results during his short but busy career, following up a trio of wins with a disappointing ninth-place finish at the Louisiana Derby.

Things looked promising for War of Will in the Kentucky Derby after he drew onto the rail, and subsequently moved to the two-gate after Haikal was scratched just hours before the race. However, his strong positioning for a late break was eventually thwarted by Maximum Security's late-race foul, dooming him and jockey Tyler Gaffalione to a disappointing seventh-place finish as a +1800 wager.

Alwaysmining will be making his graded stakes race debut at the Preakness Stakes. The three-year-old gelding has been dominant while seeing regular race action at Laurel Park, posting wins in six straight outings since last October.

Most recently, Alwaysmining recorded a dominating win by 11.5 lengths at last month's Federico Tesio, earning the victory in his first career 1-1/8 mile race, as well as clinching a berth in the Preakness Stakes.

Bourbon War has a lot to prove going into Saturday's race. The Mark Hennig-trained colt turned in a disappointing fourth-place finish in the Florida Derby to finish 22nd in the Road to Kentucky Derby standings, just out of contention for a berth in the Kentucky Derby.

However, the descendant of Seattle Slew showed plenty of stamina while making a furious run from the back of the pack to claim second place at the Fountain of Youth, and will be mounted by Irad Ortiz Jr., who leads all jockeys with 142 wins this year.

A 28th-place finisher on the Road to the Kentucky Derby standings, Owendale makes the trip to Baltimore's Pimlico Race Course after claiming his first-ever graded stakes victory at last month's Lexington Stakes.

With French jockey Florent Geroux aboard, Owendale overcame a shaky start to blow past the pack in the final turn and earn the win in the Lexington as a +1200 bet. That win marked a big rebound for the colt, who finished a distant eighth in his graded stakes debut at the Risen Star, and also allayed concerns about his ability to compete at a length of 1-1/16 miles.

Further down the Preakness Stakes props for Saturday's race, Anothertwistafate is pegged at +1000, alongside Win Win Win, who finished ninth at the Kentucky Derby.

Bodexpress is the only other horse making the trip to Pimlico after racing in the Kentucky Derby. Trained by Gustavo Delgado, Bodexpress exceeded expectations with a strong run and ninth-place finish at the Kentucky Derby, and will try to earn veteran jockey John Velazquez his first career Preakness Stakes win as a lengthy +1600 wager.