Take advantage of this experienced sports handicapper's betting analysis for the 1st leg of the Triple Crown, the Kentucky Derby, which is scheduled to take place this Saturday afternoon.
The famous first leg of Horse Racing’s 2015 Triple Crown is set to take place this Saturday at historic Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky when the 141st running of the Kentucky Derby will take place. The other two legs of the Triple Crown are the Preakness Stakes (May 16)—to be held two weeks later at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland—and the grueling 1½-mile Belmont Stakes (June 7), held at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York. All races feature 3-year-old Thoroughbreds determined by a point system.
2015 Kentucky Derby Information
What: 141st Kentucky Derby
Where: Churchill Downs, Louisville, Kentucky
Distance: 1¼ miles
Course Type: Flat
When: Saturday, May 2, 2015
TV Coverage: NBC
TV Coverage Start Time: 4 p.m. ET/1 p.m. PT
Race Post Time: 6:24 p.m. ET/5:24 CT/3:24 p.m. PT
Radio: SiriusXM Channel SIRI 92—(Broadcast starts 5 pm ET/2 pm PT)
Draw: Wednesday, April 29—NBCSN, 5:30 p.m. ET/2:30 p.m. PT
Kentucky Derby Preview Special: Friday, May 1—TVG, 7 a.m.
Louisville Weather Channel Forecast Saturday: High—79°
>”A few passing clouds, otherwise generally Sunny. Winds WSW 10 to 15 mph.”
Some Fairly Simple Ways You Can Bet Horse Racing
The most basic way to bet a horse race is to simply go with a Win (1st place), Place (2nd Place) or Show (3rd Place) bet. A Win bet is just like it sounds—the horse you bet on, determined by its’ Colors and Saddle Cloth Number, needs to win the race (come in 1st place) for you to win the bet. For example, last year’s Kentucky Derby winner was California Chrome, and he paid an impressive $7.00 to Win ($5.60 to Place, $4.20 to show) on a payout listed for a (standard) $2 wager. If you bet Place, you are betting that your horse will come in 1st or 2nd. The payout is less with a Place bet, but there is more security and you get paid if you finish in either of the 1-2 spots. And a Show bet is even more broad-ranged, offering a payback for a horse finishing in any of the 1-2-3 spots, but the payback is considerably less than the Win and the Show wagers.
You can also bet that your horse finishes in one of those top three spots (1-2-3) in an Across The Board bet. And because you are basically getting three bets in one (Win-Place-Show), a standard $2 ‘Across The Board’ wager will cost you $6. And using the above California Chrome example from last year’s race, someone putting $6 Across The Board on that winning horse got paid at all three of those levels: Win $7.00, Place $5.60, Show $4.20. If you bet a horse to Place (2nd) and it does finish 2nd, you get both Place and show money. And if your horse finishes 3rd, you just get the Place winnings. One can also do the more rare Win/Show and Place/Show bets, which cost $4 for the standard $2 bet because you’re basically getting two bets and have a better chance of getting some money back.
Some More Complex and Entertaining Ways to Try to Spin a Little Bit of Money
You can also try to pick the top top finishing (Win-Place) horses in a bet called an Exacta bet. Because a decent longshots finished at those 1-2 positions in 2014, a $2 Exacta bet (5-17 winning numbers) paid a robust and braggable $340. A notch up from the Exacta is the Trifecta—just like it sounds, nailing the top 3 horses in order. In last year’s Kentucky Derby, a $2 Trifecta (5-17-4) bet rewarded its’ backers with a healthy $3,424.60 payday. So damn scrumptious baby. And my favorite sports pick to make at the Kentucky Derby—I lost two of them at $1 a pop last year—is the Superfecta (first four places). Over the last decade, with so many long-shots and mid-rangers coming through, this Exotic Bet has had some really nice payouts for its’ winners and this type is usually for Fun and potentially some Life-Changing Scrilla for the Little Guy if the stars all align. Last year the Superfecta (5-17-4-20) ended up paying a yes-you-read-it-right $15,383.80 on a $2 bet. And the Great Grandaddy Wager in this Exotic category is the seldom-bet and seldom-talked about $1 Super High Five, which last May would have rewarded its’ 5-17-4-20-6 backers new home money: $149,764.70.
If you are really interested in doing something a little more extioc like an Exacta Box or bets of the like, best consult a real Horse Handicapper or do some homework. You can also bet head-to-head Horse Matchups, all sorts of odd combinations and some other fun 2015 Kentucky Derby Prop betting picks created specifically for The Fastest Two Minutes In All Of Sports (And probably sportsbooks most profitable two minutes as all I ever remember hearing here in Las Vegas in the casinos after races were mass sighs and quietness after two minutes of drunken yelling at TV sets. Fear and Loathing no doubt.) But one thing that is important to know is that payouts (and odds) of Horse Races are a changing thing up until Post Time, and the numbers that you think you are betting (if you are new to it) are not like the other professional sports. The final betting odds (and payouts) ultimately are affected by how much money is bet into each entrant (and tracks also have their takeouts).
Last Year’s (2014) Kentucky Derby Winners and Payouts
W—California Chrome: $7.00 Win, $5.60 Place, $4.20 Show
P—Commanding Curve: $31.80 Place, $15.40 Show
S—Danza: $6.00 Show
$2 Exacta (5-17): $340.00
$2 Trifecta (5-17-4): $3,424.60
$2 Superfecta (5-17-4-20): $15,383.80
$1 Super High Five (5-17-4-20-6): $149,764.70
Kentucky Oaks Always an Interesting Bet: Potential Combination with Kentucky Derby?
On the Friday before the big race—May 1 this year—the Fillies Run For The Lilies in the Kentucky Oaks (NBCSN—TV Coverage Begins: 12:30p.m. ET/9:30 a.m. PT; Approximate Kentucky Oaks Post Time: 5:45 p.m. ET/2:45 p.m. PT), a nice little 1 1/8th-mile Grade I stakes race race between the 3-year-old Female Thoroughbreds which is also held at Churchill Downs in Louisville. The horses carry 126 pounds and the winner receives a silver Kentucky Oaks Trophy, the $600,000 purse and a large garland of lilies (as well as a few bonus sugar cubes from its’ lucky owner I’m guessing). Some of the top-ranked Fillies who are favorites in this year’s running of the Kentucky Oaks include Stellar Moon—a winner in her last three races including the Santa Anita Oaks—I’m A Chatterbox, Oceanwave, Puca, Lovely Betty, Condo Commando, Birdatthewire and several others which Monsieur Spellcheck apparently gives absolutely no chance with his nasty wavy red line for some reason. (Hater.)
This can be a good spot to make some money or even start a Kentucky Oaks-Kentucky Derby combination winner bet (Oaks-Derby Double). And I am officially going with Stellar Moon because of the three-race win streak and her ability to potentially handle this distance better than the other fillies. I have been able to win my buddy Eric some funny money on this race through the years for some unexplainable reason, and the Dude still owes me a pizza or eight for last year’s haul, as a matter of fact, a byproduct of some mindless rant of mine about the horses with the letters ‘C’ (California Chrome won, Commanding Curve finished second) and something about cheese, Chicago and chocolate. (I’m nuts.)
So this year, the list of Mindless Kentucky Derby picks stemming off Stupid Obsessions For Stupid Things—one dumb way to bet along with obsessions for horses’ names, saddle cloth colors and/or numbers or the horses color—this time around include a favorite German Fußball-Bundesliga soccer team (Borussia) Dortmund (4/1, Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook Futures Book odds); an abused adjective in my recent writings here, Upstart (16/1); the highly-touted favorite in the race American Pharoah (3/1)—a Bob Baffert-trained 3-year-old like Dortmund—and, Carpe Diem (4/1) just because the phrase (“Seize the Day” in Latin) is familiar to me. I also like the sound of the word Materiality (16/1). And for a Long-shot, my buddy’s favorite number is 8, so Ocho Ocho Ocho (30/1) sounds dumb enough to throw out there also. And if you actually plan on betting using this haphazard name strategy picks, please don’t, it'd be like your Dog giving you a Proctology Exam and ain’t nobody got Time (or the nerve) for that, Bubba.
2105 Kentucky Derby Field—(Futures Book Odds, Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook)
American Pharoah 3/1
Carpe Diem 4/1
Firing Line 14/1
International Star 14/1
El Kabeir 30/1
Far Right 30/1
War Story 30/1
Keen Ice 35/1
Danzig Moon 40/1
It’s A Knock Out 50/1
Looking at the Jockeys, Trainers, Beyer Speed Figures, recent split times, lifetime records, horse’s individual lineage, and picking up a copy of the Daily Racing Form ($4) are some of the ways the serious Horse Handicappers approach this sport which can often prove to be an extremely tough way to try to grind out any gambling profits. Some information claims that around 90% of the races are won by the Top 10 Jockeys in a given meet, so, if you like that angle, see how Jockeys fared in races leading up to the Kentucky Derby, which will be the 11th scheduled race at Churchill Downs on Saturday afternoon. Favorites (in Horse Racing in general) win at about a 33% clip, but because of the Low Odds, betting (and trying to profit off them) can be more than challenging, as the last several Run For The Roses have proved. Taking chances on some long-shots combined with a solid favorite or two seems to be a safe way to go for the novice gambler trying to just have some fun with the race while still offering a couple of long-shot ways to maybe bang ‘em for some Big Bucks. It does happen, I have seen it and I am as cynical as they come. But, the bottom line is that the Kentucky Derby is, and always has been, a very tough way to try to make any money in sports gambling. It’s very fun, it’s very fast, it’s very loud, there is alcohol of all types virtually raining from the spring skies and you’ve never seen so many monstrous, pastel, one-functioning (Kentucky Derby Showoff Headpiece) Ladies Hats as you do on this first Saturday in May. The Aliens must think we’ve all gone absolutely nuts, and, well...
Also remember that the Draw for the Post Positions for the (aimed for) 20 horses (some may scratch)—also something the serious handicapper takes into consideration—takes place on Wednesday afternoon (NBCSN, 5:30 p.m./2:30 p.m. PT), so if you’re looking for the individual horses’ Saddle Cloth numbers, well, they’re not out yet. And those spots the horse draw will also affect the odds to some small degree, which again, will be changing from release all the way until post time. And of note: Those normal bets Horse Racing gamblers make on races and race-day are different than the Futures Books odds above put out well ahead of time for those interested well in advance, with many horse offered in some initial Futures Books markets not even qualifying for the Kentucky Derby itself. Anyway, enjoy it of you decide to bet on it but this feels like it may be a year where three of the top favorites may actually end up as four or five of the first Thoroughbreds to cross the Finish Line. But these are really big animals—Dortmund is almost 1,200 pounds—doing a big circle after all, and anything can happen. Unlike other sports, I‘m not sure Dortmund or Frosted knows that his goal is to actually win the race, actually win every race, so take that for what it’s worth. (Nothing.) Such the burden to have to win every race and yet not even ever know it.
KENTUCKY DERBY WINNER: Dortmund (4/1, Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook Futures Book)
SUPERFECTA: Dortmund—American Pharoah—Upstart—Carpe Diem
LONGSHOTS PICK: Ocho Ocho Ocho (40/1),Tencendur (75/1, Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook Futures Book)
KENTUCKY OAKS PICK: Stellar Wind