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Analyzing the Early 2019 Kentucky Derby Odds

By Gary Garry in Sports
| April 25, 2019 12:00 am PDT
Kentucky Derby Opening Odds 2019

The 145th Kentucky Derby will be run on May 4th at Churchill Downs in Louisville.

This year, no one horse appears to stand head and shoulders above the rest. As a result, bettors will have opportunities to take down some big scores in the 2019 Run for the Roses.

Finding the right opportunities will be as challenging as ever, but I’ll do my best to help you find where the betting value lies.

I’ll be adding multiple posts relating to the 2019 Kentucky Derby over the next couple of weeks. Here, I’m going to look at the early odds and do some initial analysis.

Mike Watchmaker from the Daily Racing Form is one of the most highly respected handicappers in the country. He has posted early odds on all of the possible contenders, and you can check them out below.

2019 Kentucky Derby Opening Lines

Game Winner5-1
Omaha Beach6-1
Roadster6-1
Improbable8-1
Maximum Security10-1
Tacitus10-1
Vekoma15-1
By My Standards20-1
Code of Honor20-1
War of Will20-1
Cutting Humor30-1
Haikal30-1
Long Range Toddy30-1
Plus Que Parfait30-1
Spinoff30-1
Tax30-1
Win Win Win30-1
Country House50-1
Gray Magician50-1
Master Fencer50-1

Initial Analysis for the 2019 Kentucky Derby

When you are handicapping the Kentucky Derby, you have to take the unique nature of the race into account.

This year, with the odds being so high on the favorites, Thoroughbred horse racing fans are salivating. I will look at the race from an overview here and conclude with some betting advice.

Pace Scenario

For generations, experienced horse players have lived by the credo “pace makes the race.” This is just as true today as it was when the first Kentucky Derby was run in 1875. You have to examine the past performances and create a simulated race in your mind’s eye with regard to the pace scenario.

The first order of business is to determine which horse or horses will be at or near the lead at the beginning of the race. I will provide an educated prediction, but the post positions will be a major factor on this level. At this point, the post position draw has not been held.

Before I move on, I should point out the fact that post position is always going to be somewhat of a factor in a horse race. This being stated, when you have 20 horses in the starting gate, it is of the utmost importance.

It’s not easy to clear the field if you are riding a front running horse that is breaking from post position 19 or 20. In fact, Big Brown is the only horse that has won the race from the number 20 spot.

Post position 1 is also disadvantageous because of the likelihood of getting shuffled back if a horse does not have a great deal of early speed.

If you do the research, you will find that the horse that was assigned the first post position has won the Kentucky Derby eight times. However, seven of them were in the early days when there were far fewer entrants. The last horse to pull off this feat was Ferdinand back in 1986.

For this pace scenario analysis, let’s assume that all of the jockeys will have the ability to seize a decent running position.

Omaha Beach is a colt with good early foot, but he doesn’t absolutely need the lead to win. He has tactical speed, and this is a valuable attribute for Kentucky Derby participants. Maximum Security is undefeated in four tries, and he is definitely an early-speed merchant as well.

Vekoma likes to run on or near the lead, along with Tax. It looks like there will be a good bit of competition for the front running spot, and that bodes well for the middle-of-the-pack types and the closers.

Of course, this is not to say that a standout horse like Omaha Beach can’t set the pace and take home the prize. At the same time, none of these jockeys will be able to sit chilly on the lead at a leisurely pace.

Best Value

When you are betting on the horses, whether it is the Kentucky Derby or a cheap claiming race, value is the name of the game. The goal is not to pick the most likely winner; you want to place your money on the horse that has a better chance than its odds would indicate.

There has not been a Kentucky Derby in recent memory that provided more value across the board than this one. If the favorite actually winds up going off at odds of 5-1 or 6-1, the value is off the chain, so this should be a fantastic betting race.

In essence, you’re going to get a square price regardless of who you back, and that’s something you rarely see when speculating on the sport of kings. If you are ever going to dig into your funds to take some significant risks on a horse race, this is the one.

The Top of the Heap

I watched all of the Kentucky Derby prep races during the month of April in real time, and I also looked at video replays. Omaha Beach has the attributes that an equine athlete needs to win this race. He has good speed that makes him versatile, and he possesses a great deal of stamina.

This colt is conditioned by Hall of Famer Richard Mandella, and the ageless wonder Mike Smith will be in the irons. Smith guided Justify to a Kentucky Derby win last year, and he went on to capture the Triple Crown.

Smith also piloted Giacomo, the 2005 winner of the Run for the Roses. For the record, the horse paid $102.60 to win, and the next finisher, Closing Argument, paid $70 to place. The two-dollar exacta paid over $9,800, and the two-dollar trifecta paid $133,134.

The one-dollar superfecta delivered a whopping $864,253 payout. As you can see, life-changing sums of money can be won on Kentucky Derby day.

Omaha Beach will put a three-race winning streak on the line at Churchill Downs, and he has beaten two of the three top competitors out of the Bob Baffert barn: Improbable and Game Winner.

The two Baffert charges mentioned above are definitely big-time players, and he is saddling Santa Anita Derby winner Roadster. All three of these horses are going to take action, but they are also going to provide good value.

When a colt has never done anything wrong, you have to take him very seriously. As stated in the section on pace, Maximum Security has a perfect record to this point. He has won all of his races with ease, and he is not to be overlooked.

Tacitus enters the big race on the heels of wins in the Tampa Bay Derby and the Wood Memorial. He likes to run from off the pace, and he is certainly a viable contender for legendary conditioner William I. Mott.

Vekoma, the Candy Ride colt that bested the field in the Blue Grass Stakes, is another one of the leading contenders.

My Longshot Pick

I was very impressed by the performance of Win Win Win in the Blue Grass. He had a terrible trip when he was bumped and steadied, and he was in fifth, eight lengths behind Vekoma, at the top of the stretch.

This horse came flying late and finished a hard-charging second, 3 ½ lengths behind the winner. That was a mile and an eighth race, and if it had been a mile and a quarter like the Kentucky Derby, Win Win Win would have won won won. He is my upset special for the first Saturday in May.

Check Back for More Kentucky Derby Updates!

As each day passes, there will be more information available about workouts, potential late defections, and other relevant Kentucky Derby news. The post position draw next week will be a big event that helps to bring the field into better focus.

We at GamblingSites.com are closely monitoring all of the twists and turns as the clock ticks down to Derby day, and we urge you to watch this space to stay up-to-date and fully prepared to pad your bankroll.

In the meantime, check out our list of recommended Kentucky Derby betting sites. When the time comes to get your money down, you’ll want to ensure that you’re betting with safe and reputable operators such as the ones we recommend.

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