The key to betting the 138 the Kentucky Derby on Saturday at Churchill Downs is not figuring out who will win the race, it is figuring out who can win the Run for the Roses.
With a twenty horse field, finding betting value is going to be the name of the game this year, as we have a wide open field with eight or nine runners that could win the race and it would not be much of a surprise to see.
As with betting on any race, there are some contenders that have to be tossed, and there are three runners that figure to take some betting action that I am likely going to leave off the majority of my exotic tickets.
Any one of the trio could step up and run a career best and land in the winner’s circle on Saturday afternoon, but the early Derby betting indicates I am likely going to draw a line through them.
Here are three contenders that each has the look of a betting underlay:
Hansen: The 2011 juvenile champion is going to get more than his fair share of attention on the toteboard on Saturday, which makes him look like a real underlay. I gave this guy no shot of winning the Kentucky Derby right up until the Gotham (G2), where the roan colt showed a new dimension by sitting off the pace for the first time and drawing off late to win impressively.
The colt then went back to the lead in the Blue Grass (G1) and could not hold off the late charge of Dullahan. During his routine gallop here on Thursday he was rank and a bit unsettled. In the early betting on Friday Hansen was sitting at 7-1, which hardly seems like value. The race just does not seem to set up for him as there is enough early speed and while he should get a good tracking trip early, I don’t think he is going to have enough punch left late to hold off the late closers.
Creative Cause: The colt as the beaten favorite in the Santa Anita Derby (G1) after earning a triple digit Beyer Speed Figure two back winning the San Felipe (G2), one of just four Derby contenders that hit that speed figure plateau this spring.
The colt has not exactly impressed since arriving at Churchill Downs and the Twitterverse was abuzz with the possibility the colt may scratch, which trainer Mike Harrington said was not true. While I like this guy’s pedigree and his numbers say he fits, I have a hunch he is not coming into the race as well as some others in here.,
Alpha: The Kiaran McLaughlin trainee has done little wrong this year, taking to the inner track at Aqueduct winning the Count Fleet and the Withers (G1) and then battling gamely in a neck loss to the undefeated Gemologist in the Wood Memorial (G1).
The colt has been on my Derby radar since the Count Fleet, but he suffered a few bumps and bruises and the barn was treating him for a minor infection, which delayed his trip to Louisville by over a week. It is tough for a three year old to overcome any minor issues and with so many other options this guy has slipped quite a few notches on my list over the past few weeks.
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For the third time in the past five years Turf ‘n’ Sport subscribers scored big on Kentucky Derby Day! Michael Dempsey nailed Animal Kingdom on top in last year’s Derby, returning $43.80 for a $2 wager. In 2010, Mike nailed Super Saver with his top pick, returning $18.00! In 2007 Mike scored with his top pick Street Sense, paying $11.80!