Process of Elimination: Which Horses Will NOT Win 144th Kentucky Derby

SBR Staff

Thursday, May 3, 2018 12:20 PM UTC

Thursday, May. 3, 2018 12:20 PM UTC

Who wins Saturday's 144th running of the Kentucky Derby? Hard to say. But history says it's unlikely any of the following horses do. 

The 12th race on the card at Churchill Downs in Louisville on Saturday is a little event we call the Kentucky Derby. The 144th Run for the Roses is expected to begin at 6:34 p.m. ET with a full 20-horse field.

We’d like to tell you which horse will win the first leg of the Triple Crown, and there are plenty of expert opinions out there. Hey, you have a five percent chance of being right simply by pulling a horse’s name out of a hat. We’re here to tell you which horses not to bet and thus increase your chances of choosing correctly.

The current Intertops betting favorite for Saturday is Justify at +350 (from Post 7), followed by Mendelssohn (+400 from Post 14), Audible (+600 from Post 5), Mangum Moon (+700 from Post 16) and Bolt d’Oro (+800 from Post 11). There’s are the only options currently under +1000 on the horse racing odds.

The favorite has won the Kentucky Derby the past five years, the longest such streak in the race’s stories history. However, history also says to avoid Justify … and Mangum Moon. Neither raced as a 2-year-old and no horse in that scenario has won the Derby since Apollo in 1882! That was the eighth running of the Kentucky Derby.

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The much anticipated arrival of Mendelssohn to the @ChurchillDowns track! pic.twitter.com/kETXv8m9es

— Kentucky Derby (@KentuckyDerby) May 3, 2018
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Bettors at Intertops also should avoid Solomini (+2000), Vino Rosso (+1400), Noble Indy (+3300) and Combatant (+6600). Those horses will start from Posts 17-20, respectively, which is the last place a trainer or jockey wants his runner to begin in such a big field. No horse has won the Kentucky Derby from Post 17. Just one each from Posts 18 (Gato Del Sol in 1982), 19 (I’ll Have Another in 2012) and 20 (Big Brown in 2008). Combatant has the double-whammy against it as trainer Steve Asmussen is winless from 18 Kentucky Derby starters in his career.

While starting from the far outside in a Kentucky Derby is the worst possible outcome, starting from the far inside isn’t much better with so much traffic and the potential for getting pinned in. Just one horse has won the Derby from Posts 1-3 since 1986: Ferdinand from Post 1 in ’86. Thus, that doesn’t bode well for Firenze Fire (+6600), Free Drop Billy (+3300) or Promises Fulfilled (+5000).

The most successful post position since the Derby began using starting gates in 1930 is No. 5, where Audible resides and 2017 winner Always Dreaming was located. Working against Audible is just a single New York-bred horse has ever won the Kentucky Derby.

Mendelssohn will be a popular pick Saturday but starts from Post 14, which has produced only two winners overall and none since 1961. Mendelssohn comes to Louisville off a victory at the UAE Derby at the end of March. No winner of the UAE Derby has gone on to win the Kentucky Derby.

Good Magic was the 2-year-old male champion and won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, but just two winners of that race have won the Derby: Street Sense in 2007 and Nyquist in 2016. Good Magic last raced at the Blue Grass Stakes, but that has served as the final prep race for just a single Derby winner since 1995. In addition, Good Magic’s Post 6 has produced only two winners.

By process of elimination the winner is … Bolt d’Oro.

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