Every horse racing fan will probably pick a winner for this Saturday’s Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs, but if you are serious about making some money on this year’s “Run for the Roses” you might want to take a closer look at any number of prop bets and futures that have been released for this race.
Some sportsbooks have posted an extensive listing of props and futures for the Kentucky Derby and I have come up with a few of my “best bets” for Saturday’s race. This is one of the deepest fields in years and with a pair of strong favorites leading the way, there is some tremendous value in the numbers.
Name of the Winning Horse Begins with a Vowel
The betting odds that the name of the winning horse begins with a vowel (a,e,i,o or u) have been set at +160 for “yes” and -220 for any other letter. Given that the clear favorite to win this race is American Pharoah at +210 on Sportsbook’s futures odds, I see some solid value in going with the favorable money line odds on the “yes” for this prop.
American Pharoah has the potential to be one of the most dominating three-year old thoroughbreds that we have seen in some time after a stellar career as a champion two-year old and two impressive graded stakes race victories this year in the Rebel Stakes and the Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park.
As an added bonus for this bet, you also get contenders International Star, Upstart, El Kabeir, Ocho Ocho Ocho and Itsaknockout as additional plays.
Kentucky Derby Wire to Wire Run
The betting odds that a horse wins this race from start to finish have been set at +400 for yes and -600 for no. This is one of the those high risk/low reward plays that will test your nerves with a play on “no”, but that is clearly the way to go in this Saturday’s race.
This will be the 141st running of the Kentucky Derby and in the storied history of this event a wire-to-wire victory has happened 22 times. What makes a wire-to-wire run so improbable for this Saturday’s race are both the quality of a huge 20-horse field as well as the racing style of the top two favorites. Both American Pharoah and second-favorite Dortmund prefer to stalk the leaders while waiting to make their move down the stretch.
Another key factor is that this will be the first time any of these three-year olds will be running a 1 ¼ mile in a major stakes race, which works against any speed horses that take the early lead.
Triple Crown Futures
Winning the Kentucky Derby is the first jewel of horse racing’s elusive Triple Crown. The last time any horse went on to win both the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont after winning the Kentucky Derby was all the way back in 1978 when Affirmed pulled-off the rare trifecta. The betting odds that one of this year’s Kentucky Derby contenders wins all three races are set at +700 for “yes” and -900 for “no”.
I personally would stay away from this prop in light of the current money lines, but I would go with the -115 odds that the winner of the Kentucky Derby goes on to win one of the next two Triple Crown events. Since 2002, there are six previous horses that have won the first two legs of the Triple Crown with two horses accomplishing this feat in the last three years. Two other horses (Point Given in 2001 and Afleet Alex in 2005) lost the Kentucky Derby and went on to win the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes. Given these past results the odds remain high that a horse such as American Pharoah or Dortmund will win two of three this time around as well, so keep that in mind before making your sports picks.