Heading into May and we see the flat season really beginning to take off with the first domestic Classics of the season taking place. The action is pretty hot stateside at this time of year too, as Churchill Downs plays host to the world renowned Kentucky Derby Here we take a look at the best odds and offers and provide our betting tips for the “The Most Exciting Two Minutes In Sport”.
This 1m2f Grade 1 contest was first run at Churchill Downs back in 1875. Open to three year olds, victory here brings both prestige and the lion’s share of $2 million in total prize money.
Kentucky Derby Tips and Betting Offers, 11:50 at Kentucky Derby, 4 May 2019
The Kentucky Derby is one of those events that sits highly on the bucket list of many sports fans let alone racing fans. Held every year at Churchill Downs, this Grade 1 for three-year-olds takes place over 1 mile 2 furlongs on the famous dirt track and carries a prize fund of $3 million.
What Impact Will the Rain Have?
The weather forecast for the Kentucky area does not look great for the racegoers who will be donning their finery for a trip to Churchill Downs. It’s all a little unclear as to where and when the rain will fall, such is the nature of the thunderstorms that often flare up at this time of year. What is clear is that the rain will be heavy when it falls which is going to have an impact on underfoot conditions.
The winner of the 2019 Kentucky Derby will almost certainly have to cope with sloppy conditions. That was the case last season when the all conquering Justify romped home en route to an American Triple Crown. Justify was the latest in a run of winning favourites but there is no out and out favourite this time around.
One of the Most Open Kentucky Derbies for Years
The current betting for the Kentucky Derby has Improbable and Omaha Beach battling it out for favouritism with bookmakers on either side of the Atlantic. Both are available at 5/1 with Game Changer (11/2) and Roadster (6/1) following very closely behind.
Each of those four is being well backed and may well end up being sent off as the favourite on Saturday night. The four of them have also all shown glimpses of the quality required to win a race of this calibre with Omaha Beach getting the better of Improbable in a Grade 1 at Oaklawn Park in their most recent meeting. That form can easily be reversed but it’s the rather unexposed Roadster who could represent the best value in the betting.
Trained by a legend of this race, Bob Baffert, Roadster has only made four race course appearances so far, two as a juvenile and two as a three-year-old. The gamble with Roadster is that he has yet to go the full 1m2f trip and is as yet untested on sloppy ground but you can be sure that Baffert will have his charge fully prepped which may mean the 6/1 that Coral are quoting
The open nature of the 2019 Kentucky Derby suggests that it is worth going after the value option and at the head of the market that value is very much represented by Roadster. A little further down the betting and another option who stands out is By My Standards at 20/1 with BetVictor.
He’s another who lacks the experience of some of those in the field but he makes up for that in class and potential. W. Bret Calhoun’s charge has won both of his two starts to date and has avoided the worst of the draw so By My Standards has a real chance of a place at a big price.
- 2018 – Justify – jockey Mike E. Smith, trainer Bob Baffert
- 2017 – Always Dreaming – jockey John Velazquez, trainer Todd Pletcher
- 2016 – Nyquist – jockey Mario Gutierrez, trainer Doug O’Neill
- 2015 – American Pharoah – jockey Victor Espinosa, trainer Bob Baffert
- 2014 – California Chrome – jockey Victor Espinosa, trainer Art Sherman
- 2013 – Orb – jockey Joel Rosario, trainer Claude McGaughey III
- 2012 – I’ll Have Another – jockey Mario Gutierrez, trainer Doug O’Neill
- 2011 – Animal Kingdom – jockey John Velazquez, trainer Graham Motion
- 2010 – Super Saver – jockey Calvin Borel, trainer Todd Pletcher
- 2009 – Mine That Bird – jockey Calvin Borel, trainer Bennie L.Woolley, Jr.
- 2008 – Big Brown – jockey Kent Desmoreaux, trainer Richard E. Dutrow, Jr.
- 2007 – Street Sense – jockey Calvin Borel, trainer Carl Nafzger
Kentucky Derby History
Run every year since 1875, this contest which acts as the culmination of the two week long Kentucky Derby Festival is one of the most historic events in the American calendar year. The event which has come to be known as, “The Run For The Roses”, due to the wreaths bestowed upon the winner, was the brainchild of Col. Meriwether Lewis Clark, Jr. who had been inspired by a visit to the historic Epsom Derby. Hence the Derby of this races title.
Acting as the first leg of the American Triple Crown, which is completed by the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes, the list of previous winners here is littered with legends of American racing.
12 horses have completed the Triple Crown, with American Pharaoh being the most recent in 2015. The Bob Baffert trained star won eight times at the highest level during his eleven-race career and confirmed his superiority by also claiming the Breeders’ Cup Classic in what was a glittering three year old campaign.
The name of Secretariat is famous not only in US racing circles, but is also one of the most recognisable names in the racing world. And with good reason. Simply one of the greatest racehorses of all time. The colt known as “Big Red”, used his monstrous stride to land the Triple Crown in 1973, and still holds the track record both for this race and the Belmont Stakes which he won by an inconceivable 31 lengths.
The names of War Admiral, Seattle Slew, Affirmed and California Chrome, will all feature prominently on many a list of the greatest ever racehorse, and all also prevailed here.
The records for both the top trainers and jockeys are each around 50 years old now. Eddie Arcaro with five wins between 1938 and 1952, and Bill Hartack with the same total between 1957 and 1969 lead the way amongst the riders. Ben A. Jones went one better with six triumphs between 1938 and 1952 to put himself at the top of the trainers’ tree.
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