We are less than a week away from the 145th running of the Kentucky Derby. The 2019 “Run for the Roses” is set to take place on Saturday, May 4th. The race takes place at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky.
Coverage for will start at 2:30pm ET on NBC. Post time is set for 6:34pm ET.
With the field officially set and post positions drawn, I’m ready to release my win/place/show predictions.
The official morning line odds, which I will use for this article, are released once the post positions are set. If you aren’t familiar with the morning-line odds, be sure to check out our Kentucky Derby betting guide.
Can’t get to your local sportsbooks to place a bet on the race. You can also wager online. In fact, several sportsbooks release odds to win the race several weeks in advance.
Expert Handicapper Prediction on Winner of 2018 Kentucky Derby
Win: Omaha Beach (+300)
Last year, I made the mistake of not picking the odds on favorite (Justify), despite the fact that the favorite had won each of the previous five Kentucky Derby’s. My concern with Justify, was he didn’t race as a two-year-old. No horse had not raced at the age of two and won the Derby since Apollo in 1882.
I just don’t know how don’t have Omaha Beach picked to win the race. He’s the overwhelming favorite at 3/1 (+300) after winning both the Arkansas Derby and Rebel Stakes.
It doesn’t hurt that he’s also on veteran jockey Mike Smith, who at the age of 52, rode Justify to a win at last year’s Kentucky Derby. His second win at the historic first leg of the triple crown. Smith had previous won on top of Giacomo in 2005.
Place: Tacitus (+800)
I think the biggest challenger to the favorite is Kentucky’s very own Tacitus. The field for this race is determined by a relatively new points system that was introduced in 2013. There’s a select series of races that are believed to narrow down the horses who are best equipped for this race.
Tacitus led all horses in qualifying points with 150, which was 12.5 more than points runner-up Omaha Beach. Note that there was quite a gap in terms of points after these two, as the next best is Vekoma with 110.
In his final tune-up for the big race on Saturday, Tacitus won the Grade 2 Wood Memorial by 1.25 lengths. He’s got a good jockey on his back in Jose Ortiz (2nd last year with Good Magic) and knows how to finish, which is key a long race like this.
Show: Vekoma (+1800)
I’m actually a little surprised with how far back Vekoma is in terms of odds to win the race. At the time of this article, he’s tied for the 9th best odds at +1800. As surprising as it would be to see the favorite not win, I wouldn’t be shocked if a Vekoma ended up winning this thing.
I mentioned Vekoma was 3rd in points, but that’s not why I’m picking him here. It’s the fact that he won the G2 Blue Grass by 3.5 lengths and was only increasing his lead down the stretch run.
Vekoma likes to stalk the pace setter and as long as there’s not a ridiculous pace to start the race, I think he’s going to be in prime position to show. He does have a bit of an unorthodox style of running, which could be what is scaring some people off. Not me.