Kentucky Derby Betting Guide 2018

 

2018 Kentucky Derby Betting Guide

A free handicapping tool for better Kentucky Derby bets!

A 20 horse field can be overwhelming for even the seasoned betting fan. Let us help you sift through the Derby contender information and data to arrive at an informed, confident bet.

Inside this free download are easy to read tip sheets with brief analysis for the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks. Available for a second year, our handicapping experts throw their hat in the ring with top picks from major undercard races on Oaks and Derby day.

 

Betting Guide Overview

There has been and will continue to be a lot of talk regarding curses in the days leading up to the Kentucky Derby, when in fact the quality and depth of this renewal of America’s premier race is proving to be nothing short of a blessing.

The dreaded “Apollo curse,” which has derailed late bloomers and future champions for 136 years in the Derby, could be facing its own mortality square in the eye as Santa Anita Derby winner Justify, the likely favorite, and Arkansas Derby winner Magnum Moon offer perhaps the most powerful one-two punch to this most durable of “Derby rules.”

Their respective trainers, Bob Baffert and Todd Pletcher, are obviously no strangers to the Kentucky Derby winner’s circle. Nor have they been reluctant to challenge the Apollo curse before, with Baffert coming closest of anyone when post-time favorite Bodemeister outran all save I’ll Have Another in 2012.

If he runs back to his Santa Anita Derby performance, in which he registered a 114 BRIS Speed and 117 Late Pace rating, Justify will be tough to topple, but others have posted strong figures as well. Audible, among a quartet of Pletcher challengers, earned Speed ratings of 105-107 winning the Holy Bull and Florida Derby, and has the juvenile underpinning many will find attractive.
The two leading juveniles from last season, Good Magic and Bolt d’Oro, have both made it despite uneven prep campaigns. Champion Good Magic bounced back from a relatively dull performance in the Fountain of Youth to take the Blue Grass without having to furnish his absolute best to do so.

SCULLY: Kentucky Derby BRIS Speed Rating Report: Santa Anita Derby

Bolt d’Oro, meanwhile, was controversially elevated to the top of the San Felipe, then was left floundering in Justify’s wake in the Santa Anita Derby. Derby newcomer Mick Ruis has played musical jockeys since the Breeders’ Cup, but has secured a good one in three-time Derby winner Victor Espinoza.

A curse of sorts has hung over nearly every foreign-based challenger in the Kentucky Derby’s long history, in particular those from Europe and Dubai. That could end with another virtuoso performance from Mendelssohn, who won the UAE Derby by 18 lengths and, as a half-brother to four-time champion mare Beholder, could be any kind.

You can’t talk Derby without thinking longshots. Vino Rosso and Hofburg are colts on the rise, Flameaway is as game as they come, and My Boy Jack could show a tremendous turn of foot on the far turn, where many Derbies are won and lost.

Gronkowski, on the other hand, has a lot to prove in his first start on dirt and beyond a mile while likely to be heavily backed by football fans everywhere. Due to a illness set-back however, Gronk will bypass the Kentucky Derby and set his sights on the Belmont Stakes in New York.

However you play it, this Derby is worth savoring.

 

Kentucky Oaks Top 5 Horses

Monomoy Girl wins the Ashland Stakes at Keeneland

MONOMOY GIRL
Owner: Michael Dubb, Monomoy Stables LLC, The Elkstone Group LLC and Bethlehem Stables LLC
Trainer: Brad Cox
Jockey: Florent Geroux

This Tapizar filly established her credentials for Kentucky Oaks (G1) glory even before opening her sophomore campaign. Kicking off her career with a pair of wins on turf, the Brad Cox pupil wired her dirt debut in the Rags to Riches Stakes by more than six lengths under the Twin Spires at Churchill Downs. Monomoy Girl suffered her only loss to date next out when a neck second in the Golden Rod Stakes (G2) following a race-long duel with the winner, but still earned a 99 BRIS Speed rating for the effort. The chestnut lass has stamped herself as the one to beat with a pair of easy wins this year in Fair Grounds’ Rachel Alexandra Stakes (G2) and the Ashland Stakes (G1) at Keeneland.


MIDNIGHT BISOU
Owner: Allen Racing LLC and Bloom Racing Stable LLC
Trainer: Bill Spawr
Jockey: Mike Smith

The dark bay filly appears to be peaking at just the right time for trainer Bill Spawr. Following a pair of nose seconds sprinting at Santa Anita Park and Del Mar last year, Midnight Bisou broke her maiden taking the Santa Ynez Stakes (G2) by 4 1/2 lengths on January 7. The Kentucky-bred miss rallied from four wide in that seven-furlong affair to easily draw off in the Santa Anita lane.

She next stretched out to 1 1/16 miles in the Santa Ysabel Stakes (G3) over a wet-fast, sealed surface on March 3 and secured a 2 1/4-length victory to earn a 109 BRIS Late Pace figure. However, the filly truly proved her talent in the Santa Anita Oaks (G1) on April 7, rallying from well off the pace after running in the center of the track throughout to score by 3 1/2 lengths and garner a career-best 96 BRIS Speed rating. Midnight Bisou had only one rival beat for much of the Santa Anita Oaks and her ability to rate just off the pace as well as rally from the rear could be the deciding factor on the Kentucky Oaks (G1) wire.


RAYYA
Owner: Sheikh Rashid bin Humald Al Nuaiml
Trainer: Bob Baffert
Jockey: Drayden Van Dyke

The chestnut daughter of Tiz Wonderful makes both her U.S. and trainer debut in the Kentucky Oaks (G1). She began her career under the tutelage of trainer Doug Watson, for whom she captured the U.A.E. Oaks (UAE-G3) by 3 3/4 lengths on March 1. The Kentucky-bred miss sandwiched that score between seconds in the U.A.E. One Thousand Guineas and U.A.E. Derby (UAE-G2), the latter against the boys. Rayya was sent to the United States and transferred to trainer Bob Baffert after the U.A.E. Derby, and immediately posted a bullet move for her new conditioner when going six furlongs in 1:12.80 from the gate at Santa Anita Park on April 21. She has the talent and is already proven beyond the 1 1/8-mile distance of the Kentucky Oaks, thanks to her efforts in the U.A.E. Oaks and U.A.E. Derby, which are run at 1 3/16 miles.


ESKIMO KISSES
Owner: Magdalena Racing, Gainesway Stable and Harold Lerner
Trainer: Kenny McPeek
Jockey: Corey Lanerie

This Kenny McPeek trainee is something of a wise-guy horse. It took the chestnut daughter of To Honor and Serve four tries to break her maiden, but she returned three weeks later to draw off for an 11-length score against winners over a sloppy, sealed track at Oaklawn Park. Based on that performance, Eskimo Kisses was expected to strut her stuff in the Fair Grounds Oaks (G2), and easily beat the two favorites while finishing second to 13-1 upsetter Chocolate Martini. The three-year-old filly ran in last throughout that 1 1/16-mile feature, more than 10 lengths behind the pacesetter on the backstretch, before suddenly coming with a furious rally down the center of the track to just miss by a head on the wire. She did something similar in the Ashland Stakes (G1) last out on August 7, easily defeating all but the winner, Monomoy Girl, in that contest by 7 1/2 lengths. Though her BRIS Speed figures aren’t quite on par with others in the Kentucky Oaks (G1) field, Eskimo Kisses’ late turn of hoof is just too good to ignore in this spot.


MY MISS LILLY
Owner: Courtlandt Farms
Trainer: Mark Hennig
Jockey: Joe Bravo

The gray daughter of Tapit has the chance to follow in 2013 Kentucky Oaks (G1) upsetter Princess of Sylmar’s hoofsteps by taking the Aqueduct route to the first Friday in May. My Miss Lilly began her career at that New York venue on December 23, breaking her maiden by 2 1/2 lengths, before shipping south to Florida for a third-place effort in the Forward Gal Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream Park. Trainer Mark Hennig brought his lightly raced charge back to New York, where My Miss Lilly ran third in the Busher Stakes and captured the Gazelle Stakes (G2) to earn a spot in the Oaks starting gate. It should be noted that the Gazelle is not only over the same 1 1/8-mile distance as the Kentucky Oaks, it also awarded My Miss Lilly a 99 BRIS Speed figure. In this field, only Monomoy Girl has also managed to earn that BRIS Speed rating.

 

Kentucky Derby Top 7 Horses

Audible wins the Florida Derby

AUDIBLE:

A New York-bred son of Into Mischief, Audible emerged as a leading contender with decisive wins in the Holy Bull (G2) and Florida Derby (G1) at Gulfstream Park, registering excellent BRIS Speed ratings of 105 and 107. Triple-digit BRIS Late Pace numbers add to his appeal and Audible has the tactical speed to settle in midpack before offering his best. Four-time Eclipse Award-winning jockey Javier Castellano, who is hungry for his first Kentucky Derby victory, opts for the improving bay colt and two-time Kentucky Derby scorer Todd Pletcher, who won last year with Always Dreaming, provides an edge.

BOLT D’ORO:

Two-year-old star eligible to put it all together at Churchill Downs. A disastrous start in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) cost him championship honors and Bolt d’Oro has returned this year in a pair of races with no pace, finishing a head back in the San Felipe (G2) (elevated to first via DQ) and a non-threatening second in the Santa Anita Derby (G1). Those efforts did provide valuable fitness and the multiple Grade 1-winning son of Medaglia d’Oro should receive a much better set-up for his finishing kick in the Kentucky Derby. Bolt d’Oro registered a career-best 110 BRIS Speed rating last time and Mick Ruis-trained colt picks up the services of three-time Kentucky Derby-winning jockey in Victor Espinoza.

GOOD MAGIC:

If the pattern holds, third start off the layoff could prove rosy for Good Magic. After dropping his first two outings last year, the Curlin colt improved dynamically when breaking his maiden in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) at Del Mar, generating a 105 BRIS Speed rating for the 4 ¼-length decision. Two-year-old champion appears to be building toward another peak performance in the Kentucky Derby. The chestnut opened 2018 with a disappointing third in Fountain of Youth (G2) and while he rebounded in the Blue Grass (G2), Good Magic was far from flashy winning by 1 ½ lengths. That’s fine for supporters who envision the Chad Brown pupil taking a big step forward in the Run for the Roses.

JUSTIFY:

Big, fast and powerful. Since opening his clear on February 18, Justify has proven special winning all three career starts with ease and netted a whopping 114 BRIS Speed rating for a three-length romp in the Santa Anita Derby (G1), the highest number in a qualifier since the points system originated in 2013. No unraced 2-year-old has won the Kentucky Derby in 136 years and Justify’s inexperience (didn’t make debut until mid-February) rates as the main concern, but the son of Scat Daddy clearly has the goods in terms of talent and four-time Kentucky Derby winner Bob Baffert knows how to get horses ready for their best. The bright chestnut colt will likely be prominent from the start with Mike “Big Money” Smith.

MAGNUM MOON:

A superb winner in all four starts, Magnum Moon looks ready to put the “Curse of Apollo” (Apollo last unraced juvenile to win Kentucky Derby in 1882) to the test. The Todd Pletcher trainee debuted in mid-January and has raced at three different venues so far, including a pair of stakes wins at Oaklawn Park in which he displayed dazzling acceleration into the stretch and finished powerfully under the wire. By Malibu Moon, sire of 2013 Kentucky Derby winner Orb, Magnum Moon possesses a high cruising speed and still appears to have plenty of upside.

MENDELSSOHN:

Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) winner displayed fine class before switching to dirt with a tour-de-force performance in the U.A.E Derby (G2), winning by a remarkable 18-length margin while appearing to have more in reserve. It’s no surprise the son of War Front appeared better on the main track, with Mendelssohn being a half-brother to superstar Beholder, and it’s a good sign to see Ryan Moore, who could’ve ridden the favorite in the first leg of the English Triple Crown, the 2,000 Guineas (G1), choose Mendelssohn instead. Aidan O’Brien is one of the world’s leading conditioners and Mendelssohn has displayed fine tactical speed, which should allow him to avoid traffic congestion in a 20-horse field. The Coolmore-owned colt seeks to become the first European-trained Kentucky Derby winner.

VINO ROSSO:

He’s always been well-regarded but Vino Rosso needed a couple of stakes attempts before finally realizing his talent in the Wood Memorial (G2), rallying to win going away by a three-length margin. And he could be poised to keep showing more in a speed-filled Kentucky Derby field. The up-and-coming Curlin colt brings promising BRIS numbers to the equation, registering triple-digit BRIS Speed and Late Pace ratings on multiple occasions, and he has the same trainer/jockey combination (Todd Pletcher/John Velazquez) as 2017 Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming. Vino Rosso could be finishing fastest of all in the latter stages.

 

Churchill Downs At a Glance July 3, 2017

Avg. Winning Odds: 4.94 – 1
Favorite Win%: 36%, Favorite Itm%: 69%
 
EXOTICS PAYOFF
Exacta 77.15
Daily Double 80.12
Trifecta 581.10
Pick 3 658.37
Superfecta 5,129.20
Pick 4 5,315.61
Pick 5 30,503.79
Pick 6 Jackpot 79,737.40
Future Wager 185.00
Super High Five 72,135.64
TRACK BIAS MEET(04/29 – 06/30)
Distance #
Race
%
Wire
Best
Style
Best
Posts
 
6.0fDirt 77 35% E Rail/Ins  
7.0fDirt 48 38% E Rail/Ins  
1 MileDirt 47 28% E Rail  
1 1/16mDirt 56 29% E Rail/Ins  
Turf Sprint 13 38% E Middle  
Turf Routes 72 19% E/P Rail/Ins  
TRACK BIAS WEEK(06/24 – 06/30)
Distance #
Race
%
Wire
Best
Style
Best
Posts
 
6.0fDirt 13 38% P Ins/Mid  
7.0fDirt 6 50% E Rail  
1 MileDirt 9 44% E Inside  
1 1/16mDirt 6 33% E/P Mid/Out  
Turf Sprint 1 0% P Middle  
Turf Routes 10 40% E Rail/Ins  
Who’s HOT, Who’s NOT
 
HOT TRAINERS Starts Wins Place Show Avg.
Odds
Winning
Favorites
’16-‘ 17
Win%
McPeek Kenneth G. 19 7 1 2 8.13 3 15%
Colebrook Ben 8 3 2 2 14.55 1 12%
Connelly William R. 3 2 0 0 5.97 0 14%
 
COLD JOCKEYS Starts Wins Place Show Avg.
Odds
Beaten
Favorites
’16-‘ 17
Win%
Saez Gabriel 25 0 2 5 18.87 1 13%
Gazader Rayan 13 0 1 0 25.59 0 7%
Gilligan Jack 13 0 2 0 22.95 0 11%

 

Churchill Downs At a Glance November 27, 2017

CHURCHILL DOWNS AT A GLANCE
 
Avg. Winning Odds: 5.60 – 1
Favorite Win%: 29%, Favorite Itm%: 66%
 
EXOTICS PAYOFF
Exacta 98.02
Daily Double 95.07
Trifecta 784.82
Pick 3 755.26
Superfecta 5,973.67
Pick 4 6,091.11
Pick 5 30,533.57
Pick 6 Jackpot 228,416.79
Super High Five 12,227.28
TRACK BIAS MEET(09/15 – 11/26)
Distance #
Race
%
Wire
Best
Style
Best
Posts
 
6.0fDirt 79 35% E Rail/Ins  
7.0fDirt 42 21% E/P Outside  
1 MileDirt 52 17% E Middle  
1 1/16mDirt 61 18% E/P Rail/Ins  
Turf Sprint 5 40% E Middle  
Turf Routes 42 10% S Inside  
TRACK BIAS WEEK(11/20 – 11/26)
Distance #
Race
%
Wire
Best
Style
Best
Posts
 
6.0fDirt 12 25% E/P Outside  
7.0fDirt 6 0% E/P Mid/Out  
1 MileDirt 11 18% E/P Inside  
1 1/16mDirt 8 0% P Middle  
Turf Sprint 2 50% P Middle  
Turf Routes 11 9% S Middle  
Who’s HOT, Who’s NOT
 
HOT TRAINERS Starts Wins Place Show Avg.
Odds
Winning
Favorites
’16-‘ 17
Win%
Casse Mark E. 13 5 1 1 6.60 1 18%
Blair Jordan 5 2 0 0 15.96 1 16%
Margolis Steve 6 2 1 1 16.83 0 15%
 
COLD TRAINERS Starts Wins Place Show Avg.
Odds
Beaten
Favorites
’16-‘ 17
Win%
Lukas D. Wayne 17 0 3 1 22.85 2 10%
 
COLD JOCKEYS Starts Wins Place Show Avg.
Odds
Beaten
Favorites
’16-‘ 17
Win%
Borel Calvin H. 25 0 1 0 25.32 0 7%
Gazader Rayan 18 0 1 1 29.06 0 7%
Camacho, Jr. Samuel 10 0 0 1 27.94 0 5%


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