Bet on The Kentucky Derby
One of the most famous and prestigious horse races in the world, the history of the Kentucky Derby stretches back to 1875, when Aristides crossed the finish line as the winner of the very first Derby. Known as the Run for the Roses – due to the fact the winner is draped in a carpet of the flowers – and also as “the most exciting two minutes in sports”, the Derby is held every year on the first Saturday in May under the Twin Spires of Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. The Derby is run at the “American classic” distance of 1 1/4 miles on the dirt track. It currently offers a total winning purse of $2 million, with $1.4 million going to the winner.
Restricted to three-year-old horses, the Derby signifies the very basic idea behind the history of racing – who has the fastest young horse in their barn? It also carries major significance as the first leg of the American Triple Crown series. Obviously, only one horse can win the Derby, and then that horse is the only one with a shot at sweeping both the Preakness and Belmont Stakes, achieving legendary status as a Triple Crown winner. Since recognition of the Triple Crown started with the first running of the Derby (the Preakness first ran two years earlier, and the Belmont debuted in 1867) only 12 horses have managed the feat.
Following in the hoof-steps of Aristides, some of the most famous horses in American racing have been Derby Champions, including Whirlaway (1941) and Assault (1946) who share the record for largest margin of victory at eight lengths. The great Secretariat still holds the race record of 1:59.4 that he set in winning the 1973 Derby, with only one other horse – Monarchos in 2001 – ever cracking the two-minute barrier.
Other notable horses that have won the Derby include the Canadian-bred Northern Dancer (1964) who would go on to be recognized as one of the greatest sires in the world, with several of his offspring also winning the Derby. The first filly to win the Derby was Regret in 1915 (interestingly, a different filly, Rhine Maiden, would win the Preakness that year) and since then only two other fillies have won, Genuine Risk (1980) and Winning Colors (1988). The biggest longshot to ever win the Derby was Donerail, who went off at 91-1 in 1913, while Dancer’s Image remains the only Derby winner ever disqualified, with the win awarded to Kauai King, who remains the only Maryland-bred horse to win the race.
Kentucky Derby Betting Odds
Over the past three years, the Kentucky Derby win has paid $9.20 on a $2 bet – a nice return, but nothing to write home about. That same $2 put on a a winning exacta, however, has paid an average of $464.40, including a whopping $981 in 2013 when 5-1 favorite Orb combined with 35-1 Golden Soul to top the ticket. Such is the nature of betting the Derby, where smart handicapping leads to big exotic payouts, especially when the wager is placed with Bovada, our #1 recommended online racebook.
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* REMINDER! – you must be of legal age in your state or province to legally wager on thoroughbred or harness horse racing. Please bet responsibly!
2016 Kentucky Derby Contenders
With the Saturday, April 16 running of the Arkansas Derby and Lexington Stakes, the prep races on the road to the Kentucky Derby have been completed, and the Top 20 contenders based on points accumulated over the past nine months have been set. While the official entries are still to be determined, and injury or other factors may still come into play in setting the final field, for now it can be assumed that the horses on the following list will go to the gate to make the Run for the Roses on May 7 at historic Churchill Downs.
Entries by PP with ML Odds
1) Trojan Nation (50-1) Still a maiden after six career starts, finished second in the Wood at 81-1 and will likely be higher odds than that when the gate opens.
2) Suddenbreakingnews (20-1) Late stretch runner doesn’t have the best style to win the Derby but there’s some talent here to get onto the ticket if there’s a late pace meltdown.
3) Creator (10-1) Broke his maiden in sixth attempt in the Arkansas Derby at 11-1, coming from last to first. Not a style that typically wins in the Derby, but a move forward from that effort might put him in the mix.
4) Mo Tom (20-1) Drew into the field with the withdrawl of Cupid, could only a manage a 3rd and 4th last two efforts in Louisiana.
5) Gun Runner (10-1) A winner of 4 of 5 lifetime, with both Derby points wins coming back-to-back at Fair Grounds in the Risen Star Stakes and Louisiana Derby.
6) My Man Sam (20-1) The best of the rest behind Brody’s Cause in the Blue Grass, made a solid rally to get up for second but the time wasn’t fast and there are others here with the same style who appear to be better.
7) Oscar Nominated (50-1) Spiral Stakes win over the Turfway synthetic puts him in the field, but there’s nothing in his past form to suggest he can compete with the best here.
8) Lani (30-1) Japan-based runner gets in from a win over the synthetic track in the UAE Derby. No UAE runner has threatened in the Derby yet, and it would be a shocker if he is the first.
9) Destin (15-1) Both stakes wins have come at Tampa Bay, and he’ll go into the Derby after 8 weeks off, which is not a likely combination for success against these.
10) Whitmore (20-1) Of the long shots to come from behind, he might be the most intriguing. Has run very well without actually winning any of his preps, distance is a question, but could be an exotics bomber.
11) Exaggerator (8-1) Has been inconsistent in the preps, but spotted the first flight more than 10 lengths in the Santa Anita Derby before hitting the gas into the far turn and blowing by them all to win going away.
12) Tom’s Ready (30-1) Ran in all three of the Louisiana preps, going 2-7-2 in those. He’s game, but like Oscar Nominated he simply doesn’t have the form that suggests he’s a threat.
13) Nyquist (3-1) Undefeated lifetime (7/7) including the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, he crushed a good field in his final prep, the Florida Derby, and will likely be the post time favorite on Derby Day.
14) Mohaymen (10-1) The East-coast favorite following five straight wins to start his career, his final prep in the Florida Derby was a step back, where Nyquist made him look ordinary. Needs a bounce-back.
15) Outwork (15-1) Made the field with a victory in the slowest Wood Memorial in history, and had to dig in hard right to the wire to hold off a 81-1 longshot that has yet to win a race.
16) Shagaf (20-1) Created some buzz with three straight wins to start his career, including the Gotham Stakes, but his fifth-place finish in an extremely slow Wood Memorial doesn’t offer much hope.
17) Mor Spirit (12-1) A big, grind-it-out type colt has been first or second in all six lifetime starts, so getting onto the exotics would not be a surprise, but may be just a step behind the best in the field.
18) Majesto (30-1) Ran second in the Florida Derby coming off a maiden win in his fifth lifetime start, but that was by default as much as anything else.
19) Brody’s Cause (12-1) A bit of a wise guy pick at the start of 2016, ran 7th in his season debut in the Tampa Bay Derby, and then booked his Derby ticket with a Blue Grass win over an arguably weak field.
20) Danzing Candy (15-1) Stepped up from the allowance ranks to win the San Felipe Stakes over Mor Spirit and Exaggerator, followed by a poor showing to finish 4th in the SA Derby. PP draw was a disaster.
4) Mor Spirit