2018 Kentucky Derby Betting Angle: Trainers And Jockeys
Jockeys and Trainers Who Win the Kentucky Derby
In this age where it seems that a small handful of trainers dominate all the biggest races, it's a bit of a surprise to find that only two trainers have won more than one Kentucky Derby in the past 10 years. Those trainers are Todd Pletcher, who won in 2017 with Always Dreaming and in 2010 with Super Saver, and Doug O'Neill who won with longshot I'll Have Another in 2012, and favorite Nyquist in 2016.
In the other six Derbys, only Bob Baffert in 2015 with American Pharoah was a previous winner, and had in fact won the race three other times, including back-to-back wins in 1997-98. All of the rest claimed their first-ever Derby victory in the past decade, including Art Sherman, who trained California Chrome to victory in 2014, becoming the oldest trainer to ever win the Derby at the age of 77.
On the other side of the coin, four jockeys - John Velazquez, Victor Espinoza, Mario Guiterrez and Calvin Borel - have each had two wins in the past 10 years (with Borel actually winning three-of-four between 2007-'10) with Joel Rosario and Kent Desormeaux splitting the other two. Desormeaux and Espinoza both now have three Derby wins in their career
Trainers in the 2018 Kentucky Derby
As mentioned above, there has been a recent wave of certain trainers dominating big races in North America. Success breeds success, and when a trainer starts to win a lot of races, more owners want those people training their horses. Since there is no limit on the number of horses a trainer can have, or any rule prohibiting a trainer from having more than one horse in a race like the Derby, it's not uncommon to find certain trainers have multiple entries.
As things stand right now, it's possible that that Pletcher could have as many as three starters in the Derby, with Audible, Noble Indy and Magnum Moon all having enough points to get in. Bob Baffert could have three, with McKinzie, Solomini, and Justify, although Mckinzie is injured and there's a good chance he'll have to miss the race, and Justify has yet to qualify. No other trainer will likely have more than one, although Steve Asmussen has two right on the bubble for the 20-horse field, with Snapper Sinclair sitting at #20, and Combatant at #21.
In terms of racing success so far in 2018, Asmussen, Pletcher and Baffert are 1-2-3 as far as purse money earned in races, while likely Derby trainers Chad Brown (Good Magic), Mark Casse (Flameaway) and Dale Romans (Free Drop Billy) are also in the top 10.
As far as wins so far this year, Asmussen, Pletcher, Casse and Tom Amoss (Lone Sailor) are all in the top 10.
Jockeys in the 2018 Kentucky Derby
When it comes to jockeys, things are a little less straightforward, as some of the top jocks have been the rider-of-record for more than one Derby contender in their last start. Most trainers have their "go-to" jockey that rides their best horses in the biggest races, and thus Baffert has used previous Derby winner Mike Smith on both McKinzie and Justify, while Pletcher has given John Velazquez the mount on both Audible and Noble Indy. Obviously, if all those horses get in, some jockey switches will have to be made.
While it's totally up to the trainer to decide which jock rides which horse, quite often jockeys at the level of Smith and Velazquez are often given the option by the trainer which horse they would prefer to ride, and since the jock wants to win the race as much as anyone, noting that a certain jockey picked one horse over another is an important handicapping angle.
As far as the 2018 season, Florent Geroux (Quip), Luis Saez (Magnum Moon, Strike Power), Javier Castellano (Bolt d'Oro), Jose Ortiz (Good Magic), and John Velazquez (Audible, Noble Indy) are all in the top 10 in wins this year.
Betting Trainers and Jockeys in the Derby
Whether you have a favorite trainer, jockey or have a trainer/jockey combination that has won a big bet for you in the past, keeping track of it all is an important part of having success in betting the Derby. As the field takes shape over the next couple of weeks, you can use that information when putting together a winning ticket at a top-rated online racebook.
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