The Weekly Betting Edge: Wagering on the 2018 Kentucky Derby

David Schwab

Monday, April 30, 2018 2:56 PM UTC

Monday, Apr. 30, 2018 2:56 PM UTC

The first Saturday in May belongs to Churchill Downs in Louisville when it comes to betting with the most exciting two minutes in sports. The running of this year’s Kentucky Derby should kick off the Triple Crown racing season with a bang given just how talented and how deep this year’s field is shaping up to be.

The Kentucky Derby morning line odds for an anticipated field of 20 of the top 3-year-old thoroughbreds in the nation will be released later in the week when the post positions are drawn. However, using the updated Kentucky Derby futures posted on BetOnline, I have come up with three colts that offer quite a bit of value in their odds.

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Bourbon + Horse Racing. This week, we are all Kentuckians.

— Kentucky Derby (@KentuckyDerby) April 30, 2018

Going Chalk with the Favorite

There are probably three to four horses who fall into this category, but the one with the best odds on the board is famed trainer Bob Baffert’s Justify at +180. The Kentucky-bred colt comes into this race with the highest Horse Racing Nation rating in the projected field at 7.94. While he did not race competitively as a juvenile, he has gone a perfect 3-for-3 winning races this year, including the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby. Justify covered the 1 1/8 miles on the dirt at Santa Anita Park in 1:49.72 past Bolt d’Oro and Core Beliefs.

The son of Scat Daddy started his racing career with a victory in a seven-furlong Maiden Special Weight race at Santa Anita on Feb. 18 before winning a one-mile Allowance race at that same track in early March.

Stretching the Odds with a Contender

In a deep field 20 horses wide, anything can happen come Derby Day. One 3-year old colt who has caught my eye given the value in his betting odds in trainer Chad Brown’s Good Magic at +825. As a 2-year-old, he took second in the Grade 1 Champagne Stakes at Belmont on Oct. 7 at a distance of one mile behind Firenze Fire before going on to win the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Del Mar ahead of Solomini and Bolt d’Oro in 1:43.34.

Some of the luster from his 2-Year-Old-of-the-Year honors wore off with a third-place run in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park in his 3-year-old debut. However, he proved he deserves his lofty 7.71 HRN rating with a victory in the Grade 2 Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland on April 7. Sired by Curlin, Good Magic covered the 1 1/8-mile distance in that race in 1:50.18 over Flameaway and Free Drop Billy.

Betting on a Long Shot

There are any number of quality colts at longer odds in this race, but the one at the top of my list would be Enticed at +3500 betting odds. Trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, this Kentucky-bred colt is coming off a second-place finish behind Vino Rosso in this year’s Grade 2 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct on April 7. Prior to that race, he won the Grade 3 Gotham Stakes at that same track on March 10 at a distance of one mile. He started his 3-year-old campaign with a disappointing fourth-place finish in the Grade 2 Holly Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Park at 1 1/16 miles, but his closing speed at the longer 1¼ distance of the Kentucky Derby should be a plus.

This pedigree of Medaglia d’Oro finished in the money in three races as a juvenile, including a victory in the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes at Churchill Downs on Nov. 25. His HRN rating coming into this race is 6.13.

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