2018 Kentucky Derby: Final Post Draw, Odds and Predictions
Published on May 04, 2018
The hype train slows down at Churchill Downs on Saturday, May 5th. Horse racing experts and sports bettors alike have gone back and forth over who this year’s Kentucky Derby winner will be, but now everyone is about to find out.
Justify isn’t the obvious favorite bettors are used to seeing, but the top Kentucky Derby betting sites still like him to finish first ahead of the pack. That pack is finally official, too, with the post draw being announced earlier this week and all 20 horses being accounted for.
Here’s how all 20 horses will come firing out of the gates on May 5th:
It feels like a waste of time to sort through Kentucky Derby history just to see how horses fared coming out of different spots.
Single-digit and double-digit post draws are almost dead even (13 to 14) over the last 27 years, and outside of the 5-spot having a good amount of success (10 wins), where the winner comes from feels random.
Over the last 13 years, a winner has come out of the same spot (5) just once.
A pretty strong argument can be made that it’s far more about the horse and the jockey than the hole they come out of, but it’s good to gather all the information you can.
The Washington Post recently did a pretty good job detailing the .
There is data there to support pretty much any post draw, but the one that feels like a lock to ignore might be #17 (no wins in Kentucky Derby history). Then again, perhaps it’s Solomini’s time to shine as even more KD history is made.
Much more important than where the horses start out of the gates is how the top horse racing betting sites view them.
The odds tend to shape the picture for everyone, whether it be the top favorites to target with heavy bets, some interesting sleepers to confide in, or some Kentucky Derby longshots that could actually shock the world.
If Justify is the horse to beat, it certainly doesn’t feel like Vegas (or anyone else) is all that confident. Just take a look at the wide-open field this year based on the latest Kentucky Derby odds available online.
Even weirder is how the odds can differ depending on which horse racing betting sites you wager at, as well as how quickly the odds can change.
They already moved after the post draw earlier this week, with Firenze Fire climbing from a hefty +10000 to +6600. That may be less about Vegas liking Firenze Fire and more about this field being quite competitive.
That, or it’s another small sign that Justify simply isn’t the clear-cut favorite everyone wants him to be.
Whether Justify really is the top favorite he’s being sold as or not, this is the horse just about all of the Kentucky Derby betting sites out there are vouching for.
That obviously does not mean Justify is a lock to win, but if you want to take a relatively safe shot and go with the horse a lot of the experts and top gambling gurus are rolling with, that’d be the pick.
Justify has a lot going for him, too. The Bob Baffert colt is inexperienced with just three races behind him, but he has yet to lose, and he won the competitive Santa Anita Derby in convincing fashion.
The only problem is that he does have some pretty stiff competition around him. If he does win, I wouldn’t be shocked if it was pretty close in the end.
Depending on who you talk to, the top challenger to Justify could also easily be Mendelssohn or Magnum Moon. The latter is undefeated, and the former has had some pretty big wins.
However, Mendelssohn has also been a bit erratic, and Magnum Moon has the same problem Justify does – he lacks experience.
Audible only has one more race under his belt, but he’s been just as dominant and is coming off a big win at the Florida Derby. With another impressive win at the Holy Bull, this feels like a very real threat at a competitive price.
A lot of horse racing experts will go back and forth between the first few horses when you look at odds, but Audible gives a nice discount and is likely to be in the thick of things this Saturday.
Normally I’d say true Kentucky Derby sleepers start out around +1000 odds, but I just can’t leave Bolt d’Oro out. This has been one of my favorite horses throughout the entire process, and he’s also been lumped in with the top contenders on the back end.
Most horse racing experts deem d’Oro as a threat but don’t seem too willing to hop on board fully.
This is a highly-competitive horse that has yet to finish worse than 3rd across six races, has four wins under his belt, and has fared well in big events like the Santa Anita Derby, San Felipe Stakes, the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, and the 2017 FrontRunner Stakes.
The biggest takeaway has to be d’Oro’s April run in the Santa Anita Derby, where only Justify bested him. That still doesn’t show us this horse is going to get past the main favorite this year, but I do think it gives him a real shot.
On top of that, d’Oro also took down one of the previous favorites (McKinzie) at the San Felipe Stakes and has had solid runnings against quality sleepers like Good Magic, Solomini, and others.
Putting Bolt d’Oro over the top is the fact that he’ll be ridden by elite jockey Victor Espinoza. Espinoza brings championship experience (three-time KD winner) to a very battle-tested colt.
I love the upside here in terms of betting, and I’m not seeing any better value than the +850 price.
If you want a little more upside, I also really like Todd Pletcher’s underrated Vino Rosso (+1200).
I feel like if you’re looking for a worthwhile Kentucky Derby longshot this year, most horse racing experts aren’t stretching their neck very far.
Vino Rosso, Hofburg, and My Boy Jack are popular plays in that regard, while none of them offer better than +1800 odds.
To me, that’s not rich enough to be deemed a true longshot.
I’m looking at prices around +3300 or far greater. Granted, a horse winning beyond that range feels like a stretch, but in such a wide-open field, it’s a Kentucky Derby betting strategy you may want to consider.
There are a few options to look at, but one of my favorite longshots is Instilled Regard. There are other horses that offer superior resumes, have won bigger races, offer better odds, or feel like safer wagers.
The main draw here is that Instilled Regard is a fighter and is built to hang with high-level competition. Experience is an asset, too, and Instilled Regard has run seven times with no finishes worse than 4th.
That’s not amazing on its own, but Instilled Regard does have two wins under his belt and his worst two runs came at the Santa Anita Derby (Justify won) and the Risen Star. These are not easy races, yet Instilled Regard was still in the pack up front.
The lack of high-level success (showing or winning) is what is going to keep the scent off of Instilled Regard, but if he can hang up front and make a late push, he could have the makings of a wild upset.
Justify is your top favorite, but you truly could make a case for a good portion of this 20-horse field. There are some plodders here, some endurance horses, and some flat-out speedsters.
There are also a few newbies that just don’t have the experience you can trust, and Justify is part of that group. This could very well be the most talented horse this year, but I don’t love the experience, and Justify has history working against him.
It’s funny that you’re still getting really awesome value with the would-be obvious favorite, so a bet on Justify does make quite a bit of sense at +350.
You can vouch for Mendelssohn, Audible, Good Magic, Magnum Moon, and so many others. They all have valid arguments, and there are even a few sleepers and longshots to toss in as flier bets.
Bolt d’Oro keeps sucking me in as the best package deal. In terms of jockey experience, running experience, speed, overall talent, production, and odds, this is my favorite horse of the pack.
If you don’t buy Bolt d’Oro to flat-out win, I can’t blame you. There are at least five other horses with extremely sound arguments. I do think this horse deserves a bet to place or show, though.
Most Kentucky Derby betting sites will point to Justify and some of the other top contenders, but I’m looking for a little more value this year. I’m taking Bolt d’Oro to win a tight one.