Handicapping the 2019 Kentucky Derby

Handicapping the 2019 Kentucky Derby

Category : News - Thu 02/05/2019 - 04:14 EDT

Post positions have been drawn, and the oddsmakers have instilled Omaha Beach as the morning line favorite for the running of the 145th Kentucky Derby. The race goes Saturday, May 4th, with 20 runners set to battle 1 1/4 miles on the Churchill Downs dirt track, chasing a purse of $3 million and the first leg of the US Triple Crown.

From a handicapping point of view, the Kentucky Derby can be a tough nut to crack as none of the horses have previously raced the 1 1/4 mile distance, and the large field could result in traffic jams that can have a positive or negative effect on the performance of different horses. 

But with that being the case, it's important to stick to some basic handicapping principles - eliminate the horses you think can't win, and then handicap the rest. Be aware that horses who are typically late-runners rarely win the Derby.

And while it's always tempting to try and score at a high price, consider the fact that since the Derby went to the current point system for qualifying in 2013, no horse has won at post-time odds higher than 5-1. 

With all that in mind, here's a look at 10 horses by post position worth considering for the Win as well as to use in exotic bets like trifectas and superfectas.

Included are the the Kentucky Derby horse odds currently being offered in Bovada's online racebook. 

Kentucky Derby Odds 2019 

Breaking from the inside #1 gate, War Of Will (20-1) was cruising through the prep races until a mis-step out of the gate and an injury in the Louisiana Derby resulted in a ninth-place finish. Prior to that he had won three straight dirt races after starting his career on turf.

Taking advantage of War Of Will's problems, #3 By My Standards (20-1) won the LA Derby with a strong rally through the last 1/4 mile for his second consecutive win in five lifetime starts.

Starting his career with three consecutive wins, including the (G1) Los Alamitos Futurity, #5 Improbable (6-1) has been a runner up twice in 2019, last time out losing the (G1) Arkansas Derby by a length to Derby favorite Omaha Beach.

With three wins and a third-place finish in four lifetimes starts means that #6 Vekoma (20-1) needs to be considered here. Ran very well to pull away form the field in the stretch to win the (G1) Blue Grass Stakes and should relish the distance.

Unbeaten in four lifetime starts, #7 Maximum Security (10-1) was destroying lower-level competiton at Gulfstream Park and then made the the Derby field by winning the (G1) Florida Derby by 3 1/2 lengths.

Right next to him in the gate, #8 Tacitus (10-1) is a colt that likes to come from further back in the field, but he has survived rough trips in winning both the (G2) Tampa Bay Derby and (G1) Wood Memorial, which should serve him well in the crowded Kentucky Derby field.

Another one that seems to do his best running late, #11 Haikal (30-1) has been in the money in all five lifetime races with a pair of stakes wins, but he faltered a bit when stepping up in competition to run 3rd in the Wood. 

The pre-race favorite #12 Omaha Beach (4-1) ran second three times in a row before getting his first win, but now he has three victories in a row, beating Derby contenders Game Winner and Improbable in the (G2) Rebel Stakes and (G1) Arkansas Derby, respectively.

Trainer Bob Baffert has three entries in the race to try and win his sixth Kentucky Derby, but his top two drew tough oustside posts. In the #16 slot Game Winner (6-1) is the 2018 Breeders' Cup Juvenile champion with two second-place finishes this year behind Omaha Beach and stablemate Roadster.

Speaking of which, #17 Roadster (6-1) made a strong move on the far turn to get up and beat Game Winner by a half-length in the (G1) Santa Anita Derby, but he's up against history here, as no horse has ever won the Derby from the #17 post position in 40 attempts.

Kentucky Derby Top Four Picks

#12 - Omaha Beach

You don't often get 4-1 odds on a favorite, and given his recent form and upfront running style, we'll take it on Omaha Beach. Prior to the post position draw, two-time Derby winning jockey Mike Smith had his choice between Roadster and Omaha Beach and he chose to ride this one. 

#7 Maximum Security

That being said, it's likely he'll be chasing the speedy Maximum Security out of the gate, and there's  a possible scenario that Maximum Security goes to the front early and never looks back. He seems entirely capable of clicking off 23-second early quarter miles and still have something left for the end. 

#8 Tacitus

As mentioned above, he's been through the wars already in his two previous wins and that experience will count here. He'll benefit from what should be a fast early pace, and if he can stay in touch with the leaders through the first part of the race he should come flying as they run to the wire.

#3 By My Standards

Looking for a price to round out the superfecta, By My Standards is a colt that is improving with each race, and he could get the perfect stalking trip and be ready to pounce on the front-runners as they come off the final turn and get set down for the dash through the lane.

Kentucky Derby Odds Online      

Whether you agree with our selections or have a completely different idea how the race will unfold, check out the top-rated online racebooks below and get your Kentucky Derby bets in now. 


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