Derby Day: Here’s the Run for the Roses Run Down and Winner

Mendelssohn is Our Pick to Win the Kentucky Derby and Wear the Roses

It’s Derby day and the anticipation of America’s biggest race has arrived. The 144th Kentucky Derby is being touted as one of the deepest and most contentious Derby’s ever assembled. Opinions are running wild on who will be the 2018 Kentucky Derby winner and wear the garland of roses in the winner’s circle. Here are some story lines and facts surrounding this year’s Kentucky Derby.

  • Will the post-time favorite win the Kentucky Derby for the sixth straight year?
  • No favorite won the Kentucky Derby from 1980-1999
  • Not since 1882 (Apollo) has an unraced 2-year-old won the Kentucky Derby. A total of 61 have tried since 1937. Derby favorite Justify and Magnum Moon will try to become the first unraced 2-year-olds to win the Derby in more than 135 years
  • Every Kentucky Derby winner since 2000 has posted at least one race with 100 or greater Beyer Speed Figure.
  • The winner of the last seven Kentucky Derby’s was victorious in their final prep race

I am sticking with my game plan, and will not be calling an Audible on Derby Day. I bet Mendelssohn to win a month ago at 12-1 odds and I’m counting on this tremendously talented and classy colt to make a strong showing and get us the money. My Derby betting strategy will be similar to last year when we won with Always Dreaming and keyed him on top of all our vertical wagers to collect on a nice exacta. Rather than boxing 5 or more horses in our trifecta betting, we key 1-2 horses on top and add more underneath. This minimizes your wager and risk, and allows you to add more horses underneath.

Kentucky Derby Post Positions and Odds

Clearly the training, breeding and strategy has changed in recent decades to race these younger horses less, and eventually an unraced 2-year-old will break the “Curse of Apollo”. Justify is a superior Thoroughbred, a stunning specimen and a beautiful beast. He possesses the most successful running style as a pace presser with early tracking speed to win the Derby. That style has won 10 of the last 15 Kentucky Derby’s, including four in a row. ‘Big Red’ is going to take the most money to win, but I can’t ‘Justify’ making him my top pick. In fact, I prefer the horse he beat in the Santa Anita Derby, Bolt d’ Oro, who has a hard-trying spirit, great action, speed and proven pedigree and experience. Bolt d’ Oro will be an overlay, but Justify with short odds in a very deep and talented field combined with his light racing against small fields and never being pressed or challenged on the front end has me taking a stand against him in our handicapping and approach. The super talented Justify did produce the fastest Beyer Speed Figure (107) in the Santa Anita Derby of all Derby runners in their final prep race. But in may past Kentucky Derby’s, the best, fastest or even most talented 3-year-old did not win the an Run for the Roses.

The Kentucky Derby is an isolated race and a troubled trip is not uncommon in a huge field. Here is a Kentucky Derby betting guide and wagering info.

Wager an amount that’s comfortable for you and within budget. I’ll provide the $.50 cent trifecta strategy with amounts listed, and you can choose which one(s) to play or modify with some of  your key horses on top.

Win and Place: #14 Mendelssohn

Value Win and Place: #11 Bolt d’ Oro, #18 Vino Rosso

Exacta: #14 Mendelssohn with #2 Free Drop Billy, #5 Audible, #6 Good Magic, #7 Justify, #8 Lone Sailor, #9 Hofburg, #10 My Boy Jack, #11 Bolt d’ Oro, #12 Enticed, #18 Vino Rosso

Exacta:#14, #7, #11, #18 with #5, #6, #7, #9, #11, #12, #18

All Trifecta’s list are $0.50 cent

Trifecta: ($44) –  Key #14 with #2, #5, #6, #7, #8, #9, #11, #18 with #2, #5, #6, #7, #8, #9, #10, #11, #12, #16, #18, #20

Trifecta: ($42.50) – Key #14, #11 with #5, #7, #11, #14, #18 with #2, #5, #6, #7, #8, #9, #10, #11, #12, #16, #17, #18, #20

Trifecta: ($83.50) – Key #14, #7, #11, #18 with #5, #7, #11, #14, #18 with #2, #5, #6, #7, #8, #9, #10, #11, #12, #18

Trifecta: ($21) – Key #7, #11 with #7, #11, #14, #18 with #2, #5, #6, #7, #8, #9, #11, #14, #18

$.10 cent Superfecta ($24) – Key #11, #14 with #7, #11, #14, #18 with #5, #7, #9, #11, #14, #18 with #2, #5, #6, #7, #8, #9, #10, #11, #12, #14, #16, #18, #20

Best wishes in your Run for the Roses and a in-the-money finish.

Author: FairwayJay

FairwayJay is a leading national sports analyst and is recognized as one of the sports industry's most insightful handicappers and professionals. Follow him on Twitter: @FairwayJay