We’re only a few days away from “the greatest two minutes in sports”! And I’m of course referring to the 2019 Kentucky Derby.
This year’s Derby will be the 145th running of the race, and will be hosted in Louisville, Kentucky at Churchill Downs on Saturday, May 4. The running will be televised live on NBC, and undercard races will be held on NBCSN starting at 12:30 PM ET.
As we all know, the race is open to a field of 20 horses, and that field was determined by points on the 2019 Road to the Kentucky Derby. These 20 three-year-old Thoroughbreds will compete in a Grade I stakes race where the distance is 1 1/4 miles (2.0 km). It should also be pointed out that this year’s purse has increased from $2 million to $3 million — the stakes just got a bit higher.
Where the horses will post has also been decided, as the drawing took place on April 30. Some notables from the field is the favorite Omaha Beach being listed at 4-1 with the morning line. And you, of course, have to give trainer Bob Baffert some love. After already winning the Derby five times and claiming the Triple Crown with American Pharoah and Justify, Baffert comes into the 2019 Kentucky Derby with three more potential winning horses: Two-year-old champion Game Winner, Santa Anita Derby champion Roadster, and another solid horse in Improbable.
“This year is different,” Baffert said to the media. “With [Justify and American Pharoah], I knew I had the horse and felt like I needed a little luck. Now I’ve got three nice horses, and there’s a lot of parity. It’s wide open.”
Here is the official field for the 2019 Kentucky Derby and their morning line odds that you can find in our top Kentucky Derby betting sites:
Omaha Beach comes in as the favorite for the 2019 Kentucky Derby, and will be starting from the No. 12 post position. When you look at his resume, you can fully understand why he is the top dog in the odds. In six races, Omaha Beach has nothing but top 3 finishes to show for it, and he’s also won three out of six of those. His victories would come in the Maiden Special Weights (MSW) at Santa Anita Park, the Rebel Stakes-G2 at Oaklawn Park and the Arkansas-Derby G1 also at Oaklawn Park. Not overwhelming, but he deserves the top spot in the odds.
There’s a reason why Roadster only places behind Omaha Beach by -150 in the odds, and that’s been because of his excellent resume — out of four races, Roadster has won three of them, and he also showed for third place in the other. His first win would come in a Maiden Special Weights (MSW) race at Del Mar. About a month later, he would race at Del Mar again in the Del Mar Futurity-G1, and there’s where he would get his show. His other wins would be in the AlwOC at Santa Anita Park, and the Santa Anita Derby-G1 obviously at Santa Anita too.
Just three horses into the odds list and we’ve already got two Bob Baffert-trained horses, and that should already tell you how open this year’s Kentucky Derby will be — especially with the favorite not being a Baffert horse. Like the previous two mentioned colts, Game Winner has also had an impressive showing up until this point. In six races, he would win four of them, and he would place second in the other two. His victories include: Maiden Special Weights at Del Mar, Del Mar Futurity-G1, American Pharoah Stakes-G1, and the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile-G1.
The last horse in the field for trainer Bob Baffert, Improbable helps Baffert take three out of the top four spots in the odds. And not just that, but Improbable’s resume makes the field even more open than it already is. Out of five races total in his career, Improbable has won three of them, and he placed in second in the other two. His victories would be in a Maiden Special Weights race at Santa Anita Park, Street Sense at Churchill Downs, and he would also win at the Los Alamitos Futurity-G1 at Los Alamitos. Yet another legitimate threat to win the Derby.
Tacitus comes in as another horse with a legitimate shot of taking the 2019 Kentucky Derby, and that’s due to another impressive resume being brought into the race. Out of four total races in his career, Tacitus has won three of them. The other one is a bit tainted with a fourth-place finish, which helps explain the less stellar odds. Tacticus would claim victories in a Maiden Special Weights race at Aqueduct, the Tampa Bay Derby-G2 at Tampa Bay Downs, and he would also win the Wood Memorial-G2 at Aqueduct. Obviously, a horse that knows how to win.
I’m honestly surprised that Maximum Security isn’t higher in the odds, and that’s due to the undefeated record on his resume. Out of four races throughout his young career, Maximum Security has won all of them. All of the races include: Maiden Claiming at Gulfstream Park, AlwOC at Gulfstream Park, another AlwOC at Gulfstream Park, and last but not least, the Florida Derby-G1 — yet another race at Gulfstream Park. Which could help explain the +1000 odds. With no expertise outside of Gulfstream Park, questions may arise at Churchill Downs.
It’s safe to say that we’ve now approached long-shot territory with Code of Honor making an appearance on the list with his +1400 odds. But do we have a thoroughbred long-shot here? I say no. Code of Honor does have the potential to win. Out of five career races, the colt won two of them — Maiden Special Weights at Saratoga and Fountain of Youth-G2 at Gulfstream Park. In other races, he would finish 2nd in the Champagne-G1, fourth in the Mucho Macho Man, and a show for third in the Florida Derby-G1. As you see, Code of Honor can put in some work.
War of Will has plenty of experience on his resume, racing in a total of eight races throughout his career — it would take awhile, but War of Will would eventually get his first win in a Maiden Special Weights race at Churchill Downs. He would follow up that performance with two more wins in a row. The colt’s second victory would come in the Lecomte-G3 at Fair Grounds, and his third would come in the Risen Star-G2 at Fair Grounds. Other finishes that would be beside War of Will’s name would be a 9th place finish, 5th, 4th, 3rd, and 2nd. Long shot, for sure.
I’m surprised that Vekoma isn’t higher in the odds, but it may due to the lack of experience. Out of four races ran throughout his career, the colt would win three of them. Those wins would come in a Maiden Special Weights race at Belmont Park, Nashua-G3 at Aqueduct and Blue Grass Stakes-G2 at Keeneland. His other race, Fountain of Youth-G2 at Gulfstream Park, he would take a show after finishing in third place. Not a bad showing, but due to the lack of experience (like previously mentioned) and his competition, you have to put him at +1800 odds.
The 3-year-old colt has lengthy +1800 odds for a reason, and that’s due to having four out of his five races being Maiden Special Weights races. He wouldn’t win until the fourth one, and that would take place at Fair Grounds. The previous MSW races would be a 3rd place finish at Fair Grounds, a 2nd place finish at Fair Grounds, and then another 2nd place finish which would be at Churchill Downs. After his MSW win, By My Standards would then go on to win the Louisiana Derby-G2 which is also at Fair Grounds. The winning took awhile, but it happened.
To explain the hefty +2200 odds, Tax has only ran three races throughout his career, and only has one win claimed on his resume. The 3-year-old gelding would start out in the Remsen-G2 at Aqueduct, where he would finish solid for a show after placing 3rd. His first career win would come in the Withers-G3, also held at Aqueduct. And then another Aqueduct race, Tax’s last up until this point, in the Wood Memorial-G2, he would take a place after finishing in 2nd. Needless to say, there isn’t enough experience nor winning to help out Tax in the big race.
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