How Mucciolo is betting the 2024 Kentucky Derby

May 4th, 2024

I’m a big fan of this particular cast of sophomores that will go postward for the 150th Kentucky Derby (G1) at Churchill Downs.

The field features potential superstars and lightly raced prospects with especially high ceilings, and we get conditioner D. Wayne Lukas to be a part of it, which seems like the most appropriate thing in all of racing, as well. Lukas and the Derby!

As for the race, I am still torn between two horses for my leading selection. Louisiana Derby (G2) hero #4 Catching Freedom (8-1) has been on my radar since October, while Wood Memorial (G2) winner #19 Resilience (20-1) joined my bandwagon more recently, and I have equal respect for each of the colts. 

The trifecta is a wager that I like for the Run for the Roses in general, and I have cashed a few of them over the years. With a 50-cent minimum base, the play can be affordable if structured correctly despite the number of horses in the race.  

Lecomte (G3) victor #12 Track Phantom (20-1) is not far off of the more hyped runners in the field, and if the addition of blinkers moves the son of Quality Road up, then he figures to be right there inside the final furlong at a big number. Louisiana Derby (G2) second #7 Honor Marie (20-1) might be in with a winning chance in his third start of 2024. Blue Grass (G1) star #2 Sierra Leone (3-1) would be a foolish omission, obviously, and he might be the most logical top-three finisher in the field. Can you tell that I have a strong preference for the horses that ran in the Risen Star (G2)?

RELATED: 2024 Kentucky Derby Brisnet Speed rating report

Florida Derby (G1) romper #17 Fierceness (5-2) could be the one, but I have to take a stand somewhere. As stubborn as I often am, I recognize that he is too talented to leave out of the vertical exotics, however. Lukas’ Arkansas Derby (G1) victor #6 Just Steel (20-1) has appeal after his fine performance behind Muth at Oaklawn Park, and #18 Stronghold (20-1) has done little wrong in his career for Phil D’Amato. I feel that he will be grossly overlooked in the betting. 

SCULLY: Stronghold – Kentucky Derby context

I am fully aware that I have mentioned 40 percent of the field, but I could add more if the budget allows, honestly. #8 Just A Touch (10-1), #11 Forever Young (10-1), and #14 Endlessly (30-1), are each viable options in the storied event. And if #1 Dornoch (20-1) is sent to the early, as I am expecting, then why can’t he be a major player in the race too?

With all of that said, below is how I plan to structure my trifecta tickets, with much of the focus on my top two. The tickets might be a bit pricey to some bettors, but splitting them with a friend or two is always a fun option on the Derby. Good Luck!

Mucciolo’s Kentucky Derby wagers

  • 50-cent Trifecta: 4,19 with 2,4,6,7,12,17,18,19 with ALL ($126)
  • 50-cent Trifecta: 2,4,6,7,12,17,18,19 with 4,19 with ALL ($126)
  • 50-cent Trifecta: box 2,4,7,12,19 ($30)
    Total: $282