‘The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports’ is a truly special occasion and a huge crowd in excess of 150,000 is set to feast their eyes on the thrilling race at Churchill Downs. Not only is the Kentucky Derby America’s longest running sporting event but it also attracts well over $100m in betting activity.
The 2020 race was originally scheduled for Saturday 2nd May but has now been moved to Saturday 5th September.
Next Race: Saturday, 5th September 2020
The next race is scheduled to run on 5th September 2020. The race info, trends and tips shown below will be updated for the next renewal once the final declarations have been made.
Last Run: 4th May 2019
- Winner: Country House
- SP: 65/1
- Trainer: William Mott
- Jockey: Flavien Prat
A $3 million purse is up for grabs in this Grade 1 on the dirt at Churchill Downs.
|Going||Distance||Grade||Prize Money||Runners||EW Terms|
|Fast||1m 2f||Grade 1||$3m||20||1/5 1-3|
Kentucky Derby Betting Tips
Note: The following tips are from the last running of the race. Tips for the next renewal will be added once the final declarations have been made.
Legendary American trainer Bob Baffert needs just one more win to become the joint leading all-time trainer of this race. His trio of contenders occupy the top three spots in the betting this year following the withdrawal of Omaha Beach, and from them it’s Roadster who we most like the look of.
The gate draw is usually the subject of plenty of discussion prior to any big American race and this is no exception. It is believed that starting on the inside is far from ideal. Historical data doesn’t support this but only because older races featured significantly smaller fields. In more modern times, there is a large risk horses by the rail get squeezed in by those outside them due to the greater numbers. It’s been 32 years since a horse won from gate one and 40 years since there’s been a winner from the slot next door.
The bookies have been doing a fine job calling this race just lately. The favourite has been the horse first past the line during the last six renewals.
One other recent trend that has emerged since the introduction of the current scoring system that began in 2013. All Derby winners since scored at least 100 points, good news for the likes of Roadster and Maximum Security, two of just six horses on this year’s racecard that fit the bill.
Having beaten both Improbably and Game Winner this season, Bob Baffert will have been rather relieved that Omaha Beach has been ruled out by an entrapped epiglottis. Out of action for an estimated three weeks, the absence of the ante-post favourite has given Baffert’s trio a much increased chance of Kentucky Derby success.
ROADSTER LOOKING TO BREAK 17 CURSE
No horse has even won this race from gate 17 before but don’t let that put you off the impressive colt that is Roadster. There have been enough winners starting from a wide berth, just one or two either side of 17, that there’s no real reason to think Bob Baffert’s horse is at any real disadvantage. Previously struck down by a six-month layoff, the son of Quality Road returned in emphatic style when winning in March. Revisiting the same course again a month later, the colt claimed the coveted Santa Anita Derby trophy, a sign he’s peaking at just the right time.
VICTORY LOOKING SLIGHTLY IMPROBABLE
Having been housed in Justify’s former stable, this goes to show just how highly Baffert values Improbable. Posting some fantastic speed figures during his debut season, expectations went sky high for the young chestnut colt. So far though, the three-year-old has not quite been able to deliver. Beaten by Long Range Toddy first up, another loss followed as Omaha Beach proved too strong in the Arkansas Derby. Although Richard Mandell’s horse is missing this time, there is no lack of talented horses out to prevent Improbable regaining his spark.
SECURITY OVER GAME WINNER
Settling for second behind Roadster in the Santa Anita Derby was stablemate Game Winner. It’s the second time this campaign the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner has been the beaten odds-on favourite with recent speculation materialising about whether or not he’s 100% fit. Looking in far better shape right now is Maximum Security, the only unbeaten horse among the field. Hard to stop when he gets going, the Jason Servis-trained horse won his opening three tests by a combined 34½ lengths. A strong start is vital for him here as the colt relishes setting the pace and starting in gate seven gives him a real chance of taking an early lead.
FINAL VERDICT: ROADSTER TO WIN
In the Santa Anita Derby, Game Winner’s tactics effectively paved the way for Roadster’s victory and Bob Baffert may well want to operate a similar approach here. A rapid start to the race will also be to Roadster’s advantage and this is something that Maximum Security could well provide. The pair look set to finish this race strongly but from the two it’s Bob Baffert’s in-form colt who looks the most likely to secure glory.
Kentucky Derby Winners
|2019||Country House||65/1||William Mott||Flavien Prat|
|2018||Justify||5/1||Bob Baffert||Mike E. Smith|
|2017||Always Dreaming||9/2||Todd Pletcher||John Velazquez|
|2016||Nyquist||2/1||Doug O’Neill||Mario Gutierrez|
|2015||American Pharaoh||5/2||Bob Baffert||Victor Espinoza|
|2014||California Chrome||5/2||Art Sherman||Victor Espinoza|
|2013||Orb||11/2||Joel Rosario||Claude McGaughey III|
|2012||I'll Have Another||153/10||Doug O'Neill||Mario Gutierrez|
|2011||Animal Kingdom||209/10||H. Graham Motion||John Velazquez|
|2010||Super Saver||8/1||Todd Pletcher||Calvin Borel|
About the Kentucky Derby: Churchill Downs’ Run for the Roses
Horse racing is an international sport. Lucrative and highly reputable races take place throughout the year in Europe, the Middle East, Australia and the USA. The Kentucky Derby is up there with the most well-known horse races anywhere in the world and is certainly one of the most iconic and exciting for US racing fans.
Taking Cues from Europe
The Kentucky Derby was first held in 1875. The race was the brainchild of Colonel Meriwether Lewis Clark Jr. who had visited Europe and learned about the history of horse racing in both Epsom and Paris. He decided to start something similar back home and got about working on a course in Louisville, Kentucky. That would be known as Churchill Downs after John and Henry Churchill who provided the ground for the course.
The first Kentucky Derby was held on 17 May 1875. The first 20 years saw the race run at 1 mile 4 furlongs which is the same distance as the Epsom Derby before being cut to the current distance of 1 mile 2 furlongs in 1896. Those early days were exciting as American horse racing fans were drawn to the new race but Churchill Downs had continual financial troubles until Colonel Matt Winn headed a syndicate of business people who ensured a more stable footing which helped to grow the reputation of the Kentucky Derby both nationally and internationally.
First Leg of the Triple Crown
The other major boost to the prestige of the Kentucky Derby was the emergence of the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes. Together they came to form the United States Triple Crown which became known as the Holy Grail of American racing. Perhaps because of the similarity of distance in all three races it is still regularly attempted in contrast to the British Triple Crown which comprises the 2000 Guineas (1000 Guineas for fillies), the Epsom Derby (Oaks for fillies) and the St Leger. As the list below shows, Justify became the latest American horse to join the pantheon of greats in 2018.
United States Triple Crown Winners
|2015||American Pharoah||Bob Baffert|
|1977||Seattle Slew||William H. Turner Jr|
|1948||Citation||Horace A. Jones|
|1943||Count Fleet||Don Cameron|
|1941||Whirlaway||Benjamin A. Jones|
|1937||War Admiral||George Conway|
|1930||Gallant Fox||Jim Fitzsimmons|
|1919||Sir Barton||Harvey Guy Bedwell|
The Trends to Consider in the Hunt for a Winner
In the eyes of many racing fans the Kentucky Derby has overtaken the races on which it was originally based. It is now among the biggest sporting events in the world. The thousands attending each year and the millions watching around the world enjoy traditions such as the contrast between the infield parties and the exclusive seats in Millionaires row, the blanket of 554 roses awarded to the winner and the shout of “riders up” which commands jockeys to mount their rides.
No matter where they are watching from or the style they are watching in, the one thing that connects all fans of the Kentucky Derby is the desire to pick a winning bet. As it’s such an historic race there is a host of statistical information to devour for punters looking for an edge.
This is bigger than your average Group 1 contest and it always takes a performance of the highest quality to win. That’s one reason favourites have such an excellent recent record (Justify became the sixth straight favourite to oblige in 2018). Taking a longer term view, favourites tend to win over just over 25% of the time. Don’t discount long shots though as betting shocks do happen in the Kentucky Derby.
The importance of the barrier draw in the race is so pronounced that it has a major impact on the odds when announced. Those drawn low have a considerable disadvantage with very few winner from barriers one, two or three in the last 40 years. Justify broke the long held belief that horses who did not race as two-year-olds cannot win the Kentucky Derby but he had already proven himself as a Group 1 winner before heading to Churchill Downs, had already won over 1 mile 2 furlongs and headed into the race with just three runs in the season which is about the maximum you’d want as a punter.