2018 Kentucky Derby Picks
Kentucky Derby Preview and Odds
A full field of 20 three-year-old colts will line up in the gate on Saturday at Churchill Downs to race for the $2 million purse and as usual in the Derby there are lots of storylines to follow. Two colts in the field, Justify and Magnum Moon, will be trying to win the race despite the fact they didn’t race as two-year-olds, something that hasn’t happened since Apollo did so in 1882.
At the same time, Mendelssohn will be trying to become the first horse to come through overseas qualifying races to win, after grabbing a qualifying win in UK, and following that up with another in the United Arab Emirates Derby in Dubai.
Besides those three, Audible (listed at 13/2 in the Bovada racebook) will be trying to make a little history of his own by becoming only the second New York-bred colt to win. One of four in the field for trainer Todd Pletcher (winner last year with Always Dreaming), he has won his last four races since running third in his career debut last September, the last two of those wins in graded-stakes.
In the 1 1/16 mile (G2) Holy Bull Stakes he sat just off the early pace and then made an impressive move to pull away as they turned into the lane. Next out in the 1 1/8 (G1) Florida Derby he fell to second last in of nine on the backstretch before starting to roll as they approached the far turn and then sweeping wide past the field to win by three lengths.
There’s no lock in this field, and for Audible the concerns are how he breaks from the gate, since he doesn’t have a ton of early speed, and whether he can last the Derby distance.
Justify Will Try to Break the Apollo Curse
Since winning his career debut by 9 1/2 lengths at Santa Anita, Justify (7-2) has been the buzz horse for this year’s Derby. That win came in mid-February and he has made remarkable progress in a few short months, grabbing another win in March, before making his major-league debut in April in the (G1) Santa Anita Derby.
There he took on another solid Kentucky Derby contender in the form of multiple Grade 1 winner Bolt d’Oro. While it can be argued he enjoyed an easy run on the lead at a fairly slow pace that day, he did what he had to do to turn back the threat from Bolt in the stretch to win by three lengths.
He’ll be facing some real adversity here for the first time in his young career, with the huge Derby field and others that will want to challenge him early for the lead, and we’re going to see just how far his talent can take him.
The post position draw didn’t do any favours for Noble Indy (30-1) , who will have to overcome starting way out in the #19 spot in the gate. Another Todd Pletcher trainee, he only has one more race on his resume than Justify, and looks to be an improving colt each time out. He won his first two lifetime starts before running third in the (G2) Risen Star Stakes, where he ran into some traffic trouble and out of track before he could get rolling.
Next up in the (G1) Louisiana Derby he again had some early traffic trouble, got to the front as they came down the stretch, was actually passed by two others and then came back to get the win by a neck. He’s a quirky kind of runner and it may prove that the Derby water is just too deep for him, but at the same time if he puts together his very best race he has as good a shot as many to get up and into the money.
Although he was bred in Kentucky, Mendelssohn (7-2) has spent most of career racing overseas for international superstar trainer Aiden O’Brien. Like most European horses he first started racing on the turf, and his only previous trip to the United States came last November when he was sent to California to capture the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf.
With an eye on making the Derby field, he was switched off the turf this year, and won the Patton Stakes at Dundalk Race Course in Ireland, and then went to the UAE Derby, where he raced on dirt for the very first time and won by 18 lengths. The field is a lot tougher here, and like Justify he’s going to find lots of other company if he wants to try and establish himself early near the lead.
Outside of those four, previously mentioned Bolt d’Oro was the most accomplished two-year-old last fall, and has been competitive in all his races this year, even with the loss to Justify. Good Magic deserves consideration as the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile champ, and comes in off a win in the (G1) Blue Grass Stakes. Finishing second there was Canadian-bred Flameaway who can be expected to be somewhere in the mix as they come through the stretch.
The 2018 Kentucky Derby goes Saturday, May 5 from Louisville, Kentucky. It’s race #12 of 13 on the Saturday Churchill Downs card that includes six other graded-stakes races. Post time for the Derby is 6:50 PM Eastern. The race will be carried live by NBC sports.
Entries w/ Bovada Odds
- Firenze Fire (66-1)
- Free Drop Billy (35-1)
- Promises Fullfilled (50-1)
- Flameaway (45-1)
- Audible (13-2)
- Good Magic (8-1)
- Justify (7-2)
- Lone Sailor (50-1)
- Hofburg (15-1)
- My Boy Jack (18-1)
- Bolt d’Oro (17-2)
- Enticed (25-1)
- Bravazo (60-1)
- Mendelssohn (7-2)
- Instilled Regard (50-1)
- Magnum Moon (15-2)
- Solomini (22-1)
- Vino Rosso (12-1)
- Noble Indy (30-1)
- Combatant (66-1)
Kentucky Derby Picks
- 1) #5 – Audible
- 2) #7 – Justify
- 3) #19 – Noble Indy
- 4) #14 – Mendelssohn
Kentucky Derby Betting
You can bet the Kentucky Derby as well as Friday’s Kentucky Oaks and all the big races on both days at Churchill from home with an account at Bovada’s online racebook.
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