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Kentucky Derby 2018 Horse-By-Horse Preview For The Sports Bettor

If you’re like me, you’re a sports bettor who never bets the ponies but you like to chuck a couple of bucks on the Triple Crown races. 

I did up this horse-by-horse cheat sheet for bettors just like us. It’ll help you handicap the Kentucky Derby in less time than it takes to actually watch the race. 

If you want something a little more in-depth, I talked to our OddsShark friend Mike Dempsey (@turfnsport), who covers the horse betting scene and knows way more than I do. Check that out in the video above. 

My picks are below but follow me in this sport at your own amusement. Horses are listed in order of post position. Odds are from Bovada, as of Thursday.  

Bet on the 2018 Kentucky Derby here!


1. Firenze Fire +6600 – Has had his best races on one-mile tracks so this one might be a tad too much for him. Trainer Jason Servis described him in March as a “plugging-along horse.” 

2. Free Drop Billy +3300 – Finished in the money in seven of eight career starts. His best Beyer Speed Figure was 90, which is too slow for the Kentucky Derby. 

3. Promises Fulfilled +4000 – Fast starter and has three victories in five starts. Can come out fast but burned out at the Florida Derby. 

4. Flameaway +4000 – Has five victories, most of any horse in this field. Has won on all different surfaces and twice in wet stuff. Watch the weather for rain. 

5. Audible +600 – Three of the last five Florida Derby winners have gone on to win the Kentucky Derby, including Nyquist and Always Dreaming the last two years. Bad news?  Questions whether the distance will be an issue. The five spot has the most wins in the Kentucky Derby since 1900 with 14. 

6. Good Magic +900 – Won Eclipse Award for top juvenile male. Is up and down in Beyer Speed Figures last three races but could have more to give. 

7. Justify +350 – Several of my horse betting friends are just drooling over this guy. He’s 3-for-3 and won those races by a combined 19 lengths. Has the highest Beyer Speed Figure of the Kentucky Derby at 107 and is coming off a win at Santa Anita. Must overcome the Apollo Curse. (Apollo is the only horse to win after not racing as a two-year-old, back in 1882.) I expect his odds will come down on race day considering five straight faves have won this thing.

8. Lone Sailer +5000 – One of five +5000 long shots on the morning line. Jockey James Graham is racing in his first Kentucky Derby. Has two seconds in three starts this year. Mine That Bird (2009) and Giacomo (2005) won as 50-1 hopefuls before, so ya never know, I guess. 

9. Hofburg +1600 – Finished second at the Florida Derby. Only three career starts so a little inexperienced. Then again, so is Justify.  

10. My Boy Jack +2200 – Most experienced horse in the field with 10 races. This will be his third race in seven weeks in three states – a lot of racing leading up to a Derby.  

11. Bolt d’Oro +900 – Has two Grade 1 victories and a Grade 2. Couldn’t catch Justify at Santa Anita, although he gave it a couple good tries.  

12. Enticed +2500 – Already has a graded stakes victory at Churchill Downs. Godolphin group horses have finished outside the money in all 10 of their Kentucky Derbies. 

13. Bravazo +5000 – Trainer D. Wayne Lucas has won four Kentucky Derbies. Was eighth in the Louisiana Derby.

14. Mendelssohn +400 – Won the UAE Derby by 18.5 lengths but UAE Derby winners are 0-13 at the Kentucky Derby. 

15. Instilled Regard +5000 – Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer almost pulled off the upset with +4000 Battle of Midway last year. This guy is +5000 for a reason, though. 

16. Magnum Moon +800 – Bit of a tough draw but the 16 spot still has four wins since 1900. Perfect in four career starts and a Todd Pletcher horse. Also aiming to break the Apollo Curse. 

17. Solomini +2000 – Never finished out of the money in six career races. May not be fast enough to compete in this field, though, and the 17 post spot is the only spot that has never won a Kentucky Derby back to 1900.
18. Vino Rosso +1400 – Tough draw for a horse with a lot of promise. Coming off the best race of his career winning the Wood Memorial. Jockey John Velazquez had his pick of Pletcher’s four horses and chose this one. 

19. Noble Indy +2800 – Has the highest odds of the four Pletcher horses. Has been off for six weeks. Animal Kingdom in 2011 was the only horse to win after a six-week layoff. 

20. Combatant +4000 – Never finished worse than fourth in seven starts. Has finished second, second, third and fourth leading up to this race. 

My Picks: 

Win, Place, Show: Justify, Mendelssohn, Magnum Moon 

Long shot: Flameaway

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