Kentucky Derby Media Poll 2018 Betting Insights
California Horses Dominate Kentucky Derby Poll
Although 2017 Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner Good Magic, who has run three of four times on the East coast, claimed first place in the first week of the 10-week poll, California-based runners Bolt d' Oro and McKinzie have had a lock on the top two spots ever since.
In the first poll, published on February 26, Good Magic came out on top followed by Bolt d'Oro and McKenzie. At that point, Good Magic and Bolt d'Oro had yet to race in 2018, while McKinzie had won the (G3) Sham Stakes in the first week of January. For Bolt d'Oro, his high ranking was based on the fact he had won three straight races to begin his career in 2017, including a pair of Grade 1 stakes, before running third in the BC Juvenile as the post-time favorite.
One week later, Good Magic was out of the top three, and McKinzie had moved to #1, with Bolt d'Oro #2. This is more a reflection on what Good Magic didn't do as opposed to what McKinzie had done. Two days prior to the poll, Good Magic had run a somewhat dissapointing third in his 2018 debut in the (G2) Fountain of Youth Stakes.
Bolt d'Oro Takes Over in Week Three
The weekend following the second poll, Bolt d'Oro and McKinzie met in the (G2) San Felipe Stakes, and at the end of an epic battle, McKinzie hit the wire first - but was then DQd to second for what the race stewards thought was interference with Bolt d'Oro in the stretch drive. It was an impressive performance by both horses, and in the pollsters' minds, enough to boost Bolt d'Oro into top spot. And while neither horse has raced since then, they've remained #1 and #2 in the ensuing three weeks.
Third Place is a Revolving Door
With a Kentucky Derby qualifying race taking place every weekend and producing another eye-catching performance by the winner, the #3 spot in the poll has been fluid, to say the least. After a decisive win in the (G2) Holy Bull Stakes, Audible checked in at #3. After topping a very good field in the (G2) Rebel Stakes on March 17, Magnum Moon grabbed the #3 spot. Then, after a 6 1/2 length win in what was actually an allowance-level race at Santa Anita, Justify was suddenly the flavor of the week and voted up to #3.
What To Expect From Here?
Over the next couple of weeks all of the major Kentucky Derby preps will be run, and you can expect that based on those results we'll see some shuffling of the names. This past weekend, Audible scored another big win in the (G1) Florida Derby and it's likely he'll be back in the top three. The big question mark right now is with McKinzie, given that the news came out a few days ago that he's nursing an injury and will miss the (G1) Santa Anita Derby on April 7, which was scheduled to be his last start before they head for Churchill Downs for the first Saturday in May. So it will be interesting to see if the pollsters still like his chances.
Of the others, Justify has yet to even score any Derby qualifying points, and he'll get his one-and-only chance to do so in either the Santa Anita, or more likely the (G1) Arkansas Derby on April 14, where Magnum Moon is also scheduled to run. Currently sixth on the Derby points list, Enticed is scheduled to race in the (G1) Wood Memorial Stakes on April 7, as is Solomini (16th). After winning the (G2) Tampa Bay Derby, Quip is #10 and will next race in the (G1) Blue Grass Stakes on April 7 where he'll face Good Magic, who will be looking to prove his earlier ranking was legit.
Others to watch for include My Boy Jack (#17) who will run the Arkansas Derby, Flameaway (#18) who will go in the Blue Grass Stakes, as will #20, Free Drop Billy, while Firenze Fire (#20) will go to the Wood Memorial.
It promises to be an interesting few weeks, and we'll check back to see how the poll has evolved before the gates fly open and they make the Run for the Roses on May 5.
And whether you agree with the pollsters' choices or have your own early Derby favorite, you can always get your money down on a future bet and get great odds at Bovada's online racebook.
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