New Year’s Day marks the start of a brand new season of horse racing and more importantly betting on the races in an effort to build your overall sports betting bankroll. I have come up with five bold predictions starting with the betting odds for the biggest race of the year and ending with a few that would be considered a serious stretch by any standards.
The Top Value pick to Win the 2019 Kentucky Derby
With every top juvenile turning three on New Year’s Day, the Kentucky Derby prep race schedule will shape the actual 20-horse field for the 2019 Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs this upcoming May 4. The betting futures to win this race have been set with close to two hundred possible entries on the board. Improbable leads the way at +1000 odds, but I am going way out on a limb and going with Bankit at +7500 odds as my top value pick.
A Trio of Winners for a Trio of Races
Following the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course and the Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park make up the three races in the Triple Crown. Often referred to as one of the most elusive titles to win given that are only 13 winners in close to 150 years of Triple Crown racing. Two of those winners were in the past four years with American Pharoah winning all three races in 2015 and Justify accomplishing this feat in 2018. Prior to that, the last horse to win the Triple Crown was Affirmed in 1978.
Going back to 2009 in 10 years of Triple Crown racing, there has been a different winner in each of the three races six different times and this would be my prediction for 2019.
Going With Long Odds in the Pegasus World Cup
One of the richest races of the season is the Pegasus World Cup with a total prize purse of $16 million. It takes place at Gulfstream Park and the 2019 version will be run on Saturday, January 26. The updated futures odds to win have Accelerate listed as a +200 favorite followed by City of Light at +500 and Audible at +550 to round out the top three contenders on an expanded list of 15 possible entries. The horse with the longest odds on the board is Gronkowski at +5000. We already know just how well his namesake Rob Gronkowski plays that time of the year for the New England Patriots, so I am predicting this horse shines bright at Gulfstream in late January to best this deep and talented field.
An All-Time Record Falls at Churchill Downs
Going back to the Kentucky Derby, this race also is known as the Run for the Roses as well as the most exciting two minutes in sports. The fastest Derby winner in the fabled history of this race was Secretariat in 1973 when he covered the 1 ¼-mile run on dirt at Churchill in 1:59.40. In one of my bolder predictions for 2019, I have that record falling with a winning time of 1:59.25.
Dream Matchup Every Horse Racing Fan Would Pay Money to Watch
The Friday after Thanksgiving, Tiger Woods squared off against Phil Mickelson in a pay-per-view, head-to-head matchup and by most accounts this event failed to meet expectations from a ticket sales standpoint, especially after a technical glitch prompted providers to give customer refunds. My prediction is that Justify will come out of retirement for one last race against American Pharoah in a pay-per-view event at Churchill the Friday after the 2019 Thanksgiving holiday.