Betting the 2024 Kentucky Derby on Different Budgets

May 4th, 2024

A full field will go postward in Saturday’s 150th $5 million Kentucky Derby (G1) beneath the Twin Spires at Churchill Downs. Will conditioners Brad Cox or Bill Mott, who each have one Derby win to their credit despite their horse not crossing the wire in first, add a second victory in the storied race to pad their substantial respective resumes? I believe one of them will, but I am having a hard time separating them.

$30 Budget

  • $3 Exacta: 4,19 with 2,4,7,12,19 ($24)
  • $1 Exacta: 4,19 with 6,17,18 ($6)

$60 Budget

  • 50-cent Trifecta: 4,19 with 2,4,7,12,19 with 2,4,6,7,12,17,18,19 ($24)
  • 50-cent Trifecta: 2,4,7,12,19 with 4,19 with 2,4,6,7,12,17,18,19 ($24)
  • 50-cent Trifecta: 4,19 with 2,4,7,12,19 with 2,4,7,12,19 ($12)

$125 Budget

  • $1 Superfecta: 4,19 with 4,19 with 2,6,7,12,17,18 with 1,2,6,7,9,11,12,15,17,18 ($108)
  • $1 Superfecta: 4 with 2,7,12 with 19 with 2,6,7,12,17,18 ($15)

#4 Catching Freedom (8-1) caught my eye in a debut win on the oval in October, and he comes off of his best effort to date when going last-to-first in the Louisiana Derby (G2) last time out for Cox. The Albaugh Family color bearer checks a whole lot of boxes for me, including having the excellent Flavien Prat in the stirrups. I fully feel that the 1 1/4-mile distance is an ideal trip for the son of Constitution, too. 

Mott’s #19 Resilience (20-1) has so much appeal as a colt who gets better and better as he develops. The son of Into Mischief has a sensational catalog page, and he took the move forward that I expected when blinkers were added for his Wood Memorial S. (G2) waltz. I like the draw with the colt having a good measure of tactical speed, which should ensure him of a clear, albeit a ground-losing, trip in the Derby. John Velazquez jumps off to pilot the morning-line choice in the event which is understandable, but Junior Alvarado is among the most underrated riders around, in my opinion. 

#2 Sierra Leone (3-1)#7 Honor Marie (20-1), and #12 Track Phantom (20-1), like the leading duo, all competed in the Risen Star S. (G2) at Fair Grounds on February 17. And I feel that the prep event was undoubtedly the deepest contest on the 2024 Road to the Kentucky Derby challenge series. The trio will be on most or all of my tickets. 

Florida Derby (G1) romper #17 Fierceness (5-2) is special when he runs his best, but I have enough doubt in my mind with his inconsistencies to date. I’d never toss him, but I prefer others more. #6 Just Steel (20-1) was a fine runner-up to Muth in the Kentucky Derby (G1), and Muth would likely be a clear third choice in the field if he ran. Rooting for D. Wayne Lukas is always fun for me, too. Santa Anita Derby (G1) star #18 Stronghold (20-1) was a clear winner of a highly-rated maiden race at Churchill in the fall, and he hasn’t done much wrong since. The Phil D’Amato trainee is flying under the radar, in my opinion. 

I have mapped out some potential plays for bettors on three different budgets.