2018 Kentucky Derby Morning Lines, Predictions, Best Props
All odds for the 144th running of the Kentucky Derby come via Bovada and are accurate as of Saturday, May 5. Be sure to double-check these lines should you be placing a later wager, as they can, and probably will have, shifted. Also note we’ll be running through the odds-on favorites, then delving into deeper detail towards.
|1||Firenze Fire||Paco Lopez||50/1|
|2||Free Drop Billy||Robby Albarado||30/1|
|3||Promises Fulfilled||Corey Lanerie||30/1|
|6||Good Magic||Jose Ortiz||12/1|
|8||Lone Sailor||James Graham||50/1|
|9||Hofburg||Irad Ortiz Jr.||20/1|
|10||My Boy Jack||Kent Desormeaux||30/1|
|11||Bolt d’Oro||Victor Espinoza||8/1|
|15||Instilled Regard||Drayden Van Dyke||50/1|
|16||Magnum Moon||Luis Saez||6/1|
|18||Vino Rosso||John Velazquez||12/1|
|19||Noble Indy||Florent Geroux||30/1|
|20||Combatant||Ricardo Santana Jr.||50/1|
Best Options to Win
Justify enters Saturday’s race as the morning favorite, but the lead margin isn’t too significant. Chalk that up to the “Curse of Apollo.”
This superstition references the fact that Apollo was the last horse to win the Kentucky Derby without making at least one start as a two-year-old—and said victory came in 1882. According to ESPN.com, 61 horses have tried, but ultimately failed, to bust that streak. Not only that, but only three of those horses finished second, while a mere placed in third.
Justify joins Magnum Moon (+1200) as the latest two steeds to try reversing history. The former was apparently given time off during his two-year-old season to grow into his body—which he’s effectively done. But while he deserves attention as the favorite, he has three starts for his career under his belt.
If you’re new to the game, Justify ranks as a solid last-minute investment. More serious bettors fixing to lay down additional money or hunt out better returns are best suited heading elsewhere.
As many have noted, the reconstructive work Audible had on his hooves has given some cause for pause. That’s fine. The Churchill Downs track isn’t always kind to unstable or healing horse legs.
Still, Audible turned a lot of heads during his Florida Derby win. He finished the track in under one minute and 50 seconds, despite enduring an eight-week layoff to deal with those issues with his hooves. He brings a four-match winning streak into Saturday and should be treated as a serious threat.
Horses from oversees typically don’t fair well in the Kentucky Derby. The last international steed to take the crown was Bold Forbes in 1976.
Most are not expecting Mendelsshon to break that trend. But maybe they should. He reportedly had everyone in awe when he took the track for the first time on Thursday to stretch his legs, and he’s no stranger to racing on the international circuit. He’s picked up wins in Dubai, Ireland and even the United States.
Bolt d’Oro (+700)
Do some research on Bolt D’Oro and you’ll come back with an almost universal scouting report: fast and consistent, and almost mistake-free.
Jump on these odds if you’re sold whilst you can. Anything more lucrative than a +600 for him is, quite frankly, staggering this late in the game.
Magnum Moon (+950)
Speaking of Magnum moon, don’t sleep on this stud. He, too, enters with a four-match winning streak, and where Justify’s time off was due to more wholesale reasons, he only missed reps as a two-year-old becuase of some ankle issues.
Yes, those can be tricky. But he’s been back in, ahem, the saddle for a bit longer. Plus, the Curse of Apollo doesn’t mean as much mean these days. It held some weight back then, when horses were almost always racing far more often. Now, though, pretty much all of the horses have protracted sabbaticals at some point or another.
Worst Options to Win
My Boy Jack (+1200)
My boy jack might be the real favorite of this field. He has 10 career starts to his name—more than any other horse on this list. But that’s kind of the thing: He appears overmatched against a much younger talent pool.
Horses best off running in front are at a distinct disadvantage in this race. The line is too crowded, and that doesn’t bode well for a participant that’s founded his appeal by getting out in front early and staying that way. He’s not used to making up gaps or racing from behind, which could prompt him to fall out of contention almost immediately out of the gate.
Instilled Regard (+6600)
Instilled Regard has garned some opening-line interest as a long shot, but multiple sites and analysts have his speed trending in the wrong direction. That’s going to be a problem in a race that demands constant pace and the ability to create separation around turns.
Race Time Over/Under: 2:02.65
Just one of the last seven Kentucky Derby events have been run with a faster time than the provided over/under. And when the favorite of the race is trying to break the Curse of Apollo, and when so many horses are coming back from injuries or long breaks, it kind of feels like we could be headed for yet another over outcome.
The Pick: Under 2:03.25 (even)
Will There Be a Triple-Crown Winner in 2018?
Only 12 horses have ever successfully completed the Triple Crown, with the most recent being American Pharoah in 2015. So the easy wager is no, there will not be a horse that wins the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes.
This also happens to be the right answer. Though the absolute favorite for the Kentucky Derby typically wins the race in question, very few expect Justify, this year’s heavyweight, to outlast the field on three separate occasions. Breaking the Curse of Apollo in a single event after some time off will be tough enough. Counting on Justify to bust through that barrier on a much larger, rarer scale should be considered out of the question.
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