The 142nd running of the Kentucky Derby is scheduled for Saturday, May 7 at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. While we still have over a week left before the big race, odds have been released on the current field.
As of right now there are 30 horses with odds available. Clearly there won’t be that many horses taking the post in the actual race. The field will drop considerably over the next few days.
For everything that you need to know about betting this race, check out my Kentucky Derby Betting Guide. I’ll also have my win/place/show picks posted shortly in my Kentucky Derby Predictions article.
Top 5 Contenders
Below I have provided some insight on the five horses that currently have the best odds to win the race.
Keep in mind that these are not a representation of my five favorite horses in the field. Simply the ones who are getting the most attention at the books right now.
Ever wonder how much money is bet on the Derby? You might be surprised by how much action this event brings in. Find out how much cash is wagered in my year-by-year betting totals article.
According to the experts this is the horse to beat. It’s hard to argue with them. Nyquist was named the 2015 Elipse 2-Year-Old Horse of the Year.
He’s been perfect to this point with an undefeated record of 7-0 in 7 starts. His most recent being the Grade 1 Stakes Florida Derby earlier this month. In that win he defeated another Derby favorite in Mohaymen (finished 4th). He also defeated Exaggerator in the prior race at the San Vicente Stakes.
The sire of Nyquist is Uncle Mo, who you might recall was the favorite leading up to the 2011 Kentucky Derby. Uncle Mo never got a chance to race at the Derby, as he was scratched with a gastrointestinal infection.
Nyquist is trained by Doug O’Neil, who won the 2012 Kentucky Derby with I’ll Have Another. Mario Gutierrez is expected to mount Nyquist. Gutierrez was a part of the 2012 win with I’ll Have Another.
Next in line according to the oddsmakers is Exaggerator, who enters off a win at the San Anita Derby-G1. It was a big bounce back performance for the 3-year-old. He had just finished 2nd at the San Vincente Stakes-G2 and 3rd at the San Felipe Stakes-G2.
There’s going to be plenty of talk about how Exaggerator has lost three times to Nyquist. Why would this time be any different? There is some reason for optimism. Exaggerator has closed the gap on Nyquist in each of the last two starts.
He was runner-up to Brodys Cause in the Breeders Cup Futurity-G1 and in his next race he won with him in the field. Exaggerator finished 3rd behind Danzing Candy and Mor Spirit at the San Felipe Stakes. He then proceeded to beat both horses in the Santa Anita Derby.
This is a horse that is built for longer distances. The 1 1/4 mile track at Churchill Downs is 3 furlongs more than the last race he faced Nyquist.
There’s going to be mixed opinions on Mohaymen and his ability to win the Derby. There was a lot of hype surrounding this horse after a perfect 5-0 start to his career. Those expectations took a big hit when he finished 4th at the Florida Derby-G1.
I really question whether this horse has the stamina needed down the stretch run to win at Churchill. He certainly didn’t have it at the Florida Derby. He’s still considered a serious contender right now with odds at 10 to 1, but I’m not sold on him being a threat. I’ll have a difficult time including Mohaymen on my betting card.
Gun Runner (10/1)
Here’s a horse that some experts are going to like and others will want little to do with. At least in terms of winning the race. Gun Runner leads all contenders with 151 points. Thanks to four wins in five starts. Nyquist is second with 130.
Why is that important? Since the Derby point system was introduced in 2013, every winner has had at least 150 points.
Now the bad news. Gun Runner’s most recent win came at the Louisiana Derby-G2. The last horse to win that race an go on to win the Derby was Grindstone in 1996.
Brody’s Cause (12/1)
The winner of the Blue Grass Stakes-G1 will be a horse worth keeping an eye on at the Derby. Brody’s Cause has excellent closing speed, something I love to look for when betting on this race.
Some will be scared away from a 7th place finish at the Tampa Bay Derby-G2 prior to the win at the Blue Grass. However, the longer distance of the Derby makes him a threat. His winning time at the Blue Grass was 1:50:20 on the 1 1/8 mile track. Slightly worse than Nyquist’s winning time at the Florida Derby (same length) of 1:49:11.
One of my favorite sleeper picks in the week leading up to the Derby. Destin is working on back-to-back wins, with the most recent coming at the Tampa Bay Derby-G2. Typically I wouldn’t get too excited about a grade 2 stakes win, but it was a special performance.
Destin set the track record with a winning time of 1:42:82. That race was held on a 1 1/16 mile track. The same length of the Breaders’ Cup Juvenile-G1, which Nyquist won with a time of 1:43.79. Most importantly it looked like Destin had more in the tank. Which he will need at the longer track he will face at Churchill Downs.
Another thing that I like about this horse is that he enters the Derby well rested. Highly regarded trainer Todd Pletcher decided not to run Destin after his win back in early March. Giving him a full 8 weeks to train and rest up for the biggest race of his career.
The Rest of Field
|My Man Sam||25/1|
|Matt King Coal||40/1|
|Cocked and Loaded||50/1|