Derby Longshots Picked Bad Year for Upset, But You Never Know

Kevin Stott

Monday, April 30, 2018 7:05 PM UTC

Monday, Apr. 30, 2018 7:05 PM UTC

Saturday's Kentucky Derby includes a lot of longshots who could pay off nicely, but the competition is strong. Let’s look at the underdogs and find some betting value.

Horse Racing: Kentucky Derby Longshots

In horse racing context, a "longshot" is defined as "an entry in a horse race with only a slight chance of winning," and ponies priced at 15/1 and up are generally considered longshots. There will be a fair share of longshots in the 144th Kentucky Derby from Churchill Downs in Louisville (Saturday, 6:30 p.m. ET; NBC). Whereas an average public-perceived or odds-defined "longshot" in the 15/1 to 30/1 odds range can provide a nice payout for the wise futures or single event bettors, a monster long shot of higher odds -- such as Leicester City winning the English Premier League title in 2015-16 (5,000/1) or maybe the expansion Vegas Golden Knights winning the 2018 Stanley Cup (open high 500/1, Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook) -- can end up making sports history.

Winning the Kentucky Derby on Saturday and getting that coveted rose garland around your neck in the longest-running sporting event in America won’t be easy for any longshots, especially because of so many thoroughbreds in the field who might have been race favorites in other years. Justify (3/1 to win Kentucky Derby, 5Dimes), Mendelssohn (+525, BetOnline), Audible (+650, BetOnline), Magnum Moon (8/1, Bovada), Bolt d'Oro (9/1, Bovada) and Good Magic (11/1, Bovada) have high expectations. The simple truth about this Derby is that there will a bunch of very talented horses, jockeys, trainers and owners who be disappointed in the results come Saturday night, with only one horse winning and 19 losing.

Let’s look at the current 14 horses on the south side of the futures bet odds list who have double-digit odds to win the first leg of horse racing’s Triple Crown (Will There Be a Triple Crown Winner? Yes +600, No -900, 5Dimes). In other words, the longshots against this embarrassment-of-riches Kentucky Derby field.

Vino Rosso, My Boy Jack, Solomini

These three are currently around the 7th, 8th and 9th entrants in odds order in most future books with Vino Rosso at +1350 at 5Dimes, My Boy Jack at +3000 (30/1) at BetOnline, and Solomini at 30/1 at BetOnline. Vino Rosso and My Boy Jack are worth taking a (long) shot for $2 (or whatever amount) to win and may be worth inclusion in your Kentucky Derby picks in exotics. Vino Rosso won the Wood Memorial (98 Beyer Speed Figure) and is 3-0-1 in five lifetime starts (1-0-1 in 2018), My Boy Jack won the Southwest Stakes and is 3-3-2 in 10 career races (2-0-2 in 2018), and Solomini finished second in the Rebel Stakes and third in the Arkansas Derby and has a 1-3-2 record in six career starts (0-1-1 in 2018).

Hofburg, Enticed, Noble Indy

Middle-of-the-packers Hofburg, Enticed and Noble Indy are 35/1 at BetOnline, and this equine trio seems like throw-outs on Saturday with Noble Indy’s win in the Louisiana Derby maybe the best this lot has produced. Hofburg finished second in the Florida Derby (behind Audible), Enticed was second in the Wood Memorial (behind Vino Rosso), and Noble Indy won the Louisiana Derby by beating Kentucky Derby entrants Lone Sailor and My Boy Jack. Kentucky-bred Hofburg is 1-1-0 lifetime (1-1-0 in 2018), Enticed is 3-1-1 in six career starts (1-1-0 in 2018), and Kentucky-bred, Todd Pletcher-trained Noble Indy is an impressive 3-0-1 in four races in his career and 2-0-1 in 2018, but seems to have simply been born in the wrong year.

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» Enticed Works at Palm Meadowshttps://t.co/b5DFeCrvmu pic.twitter.com/TCNNb3HRO9

— TDN (@theTDN) April 27, 2018
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Flameaway, Free Drop Billy, Lone Sailor

This group might end up finishing higher (cumulatively overall) than the previous three horses with Flameaway (55/1 to win Kentucky Derby, BetOnline), Free Drop Billy (55/1, BetOnline), and Lone Sailor (60/1, BetOnline) all in that lofty long-shot range. Why? Flameaway won the Tampa Bay Derby, was second behind Good Magic in the Blue Grass Stakes and is 5-2-0 in nine career starts (2-2-0 in 2018) and could be the shocking surprise of the day if everything goes right on the dirt. Free Drop Billy was second in the Holy Bull Stakes, third in the Gotham Stakes and third in Super Six prep Blue Grass Stakes (behind Good Magic and Flameaway) and is 2-3-2 in eight career starts (0-1-2 in 2018). Lone Sailor, runner-up in the Louisiana Derby to Noble Indy, is 1-3-1 in eight career starts and 0-2-0 this year with places in the Louisiana Derby and an Allowance Optional Claiming race at Fair Grounds (he was ninth in his other 2018 race, the LeComte at Fair Grounds, won by Instilled Regard).

Bravazo, Combatant, Instilled Regard

This threesome can be found at higher than 60-to-1 on the Kentucky Derby odds board, and those prices might be better than you will be able to find on Cinco de Mayo if you really believe, or just want to gamble on Bravazo (65/1, BetOnline), Combatant (65/1, BetOnline), or Instilled Regard (65/1, BetOnline). And at that lofty odds range where one would get bragging rights for years should he or she actually go out on a limb and bet (or pick), in most years taking a flyer or maybe building one of these 3-year-olds into your master betting plan would be wise, but with a glut of speed in Justify (107 top Beyer Speed Figure in 2018), Mendelssohn (106), Bolt d’Oro (102), Audible (99), Magnum Moon (98) and Vino Rosso (98), there are just too many great horses (and jockeys) who would have to have the worst races of their lives all on the same day. Good luck with that. This is not 2005. Combatant and Instilled Regard weren’t even in the original Derby field. Combatant moved up and into the field with Quip choosing to bypass The Run For The Roses (with plans to run in the Preakness Stakes) and Gronkowski pulling out with a fever, making room for Instilled Regard (29 qualifying points) to slide into the 20th spot. The D. Wayne Lukas-trained Bravazo is 3-1-1 in eight career starts (2-0-0 in three starts in 2018), Kentucky-bred Combatant is 1-3-1 in seven career races (0-2-1 in four starts in 2018), and Instilled Regard is 2-2-1 in seven career starts (1-0-0 in three races in 2018), winning the Lecomte Stakes at the Fair Grounds. Instilled Regard finished a disappointing ninth in the high-profile Santa Anita Derby (G1).

Promises Fulfilled, Firenze Fire

Promises Fulfilled (85/1, BetOnline) and Firenze Fire (90/1, BetOnline) are the longest of longshots in Saturday's field, and history could me made if the odds increase and one of them wins. In 1913, Donerail was a 91/1 longshot and won the race, rewarding his $2 "win" backers with an almost-unreal $184.90 payout.

Promises Fulfilled is 3-0-1 in five lifetime starts (1-0-0 in 2 races in 2018, winning the Dale Romans-trained colt winning the Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream Park, while Firenze Fire is 4-1-0 in nine career starts and 1-1-0 in four races in 2018, winning the 1-mile Jerome Stakes at Aqueduct Park on Jan. 13.

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"Vino Rosso. Fantastico!!!" @larrycollmus pic.twitter.com/aiT4lsypH8

— Vino Rosso (@VinoRossoHorse) April 9, 2018
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Free Kentucky Derby Futures Bet Longshot Pick: Vino Rosso, 16/1 (Bovada)

Free Kentucky Derby Futures Monster Longshot Picks: My Boy Jack 30/1, Flameaway 55/1 (BetOnline)

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