Horse Racing

Profile on Kentucky Derby Betting Contender McCraken

McCraken, who is the current fourth choice in early Kentucky Derby wagering at Sportsbook at odds of 7-1, was perfect last year as a juvenile, winning all three of his starts and they all came over the Churchill Downs main track.

The Ian Wilkes trainee broke his maiden last October and then won the Street Sense and the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2).

The colt started off his three-year-old campaign with a sharp-looking win in the Sam F. Davis (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs and in early March was the co-favorite for the Kentucky Derby at odds of 8-1 at Sportsbook.

The runner-up in the Sam F. Davis was Tapwrit, who came back to win the Tampa Bay Derby (G2) in his next outing for trainer Todd Pletcher.

However, he came out of a workout with an ankle strain and was forced to miss his next intended start in the Tampa Bay Derby.

He returned for his final prep in the Blue Grass (G2) at Keeneland where he was sent off as the 8-5 betting favorite but broke outward coming out of the gate, stalked the early pace and did not have enough punch left late in a third-place finish behind Irap and Practical Joke.

The colt did not look as if he was 100% cranked up and likely moves forward on the first Saturday of May off that effort.

The colt is by the brilliant Ghostzapper out of a stakes-placed Seeking the Gold mare.

Wilkes is not a well-known trainer but spent a couple of decades as an assistant to Carl Nafzger, who won the Kentucky Derby with Unbridled in 1990 and Street Sense in 2007 so he has been around plenty of top-class horses.

The colt is one of just three in the field that is proven over the Churchill Downs main track (the others are Classic Empire and Untrapped).

His Beyer Speed Figure in the Blue Grass was just an 88, which is on the light side, but he did earn a 95 for his Sam F. Davis win.

There is no doubt he is going to move forward off his last effort as he makes his third start of the year.

  • Race record: 5-4-0-1
  • Career earnings: $410,848
  • Sportsbook Odds: 7-1
  • Last race: Third in the Blue Grass (G2) at Keeneland



Handicapper Michael Dempsey will be covering the Kentucky Derby and the Triple Crown for OddsShark and his full card reports with selections, analysis, fair odds line and wagering recommendations for major tracks can be found daily at