‘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.
Next Race: TBD
The next renewal of this race has not been scheduled yet. We will update this once the schedule has been released for next season. The race info, trends and tips shown below will be updated for the next renewal once the final declarations have been made.
Last Run: 5th September 2020
- Winner: Authentic
- SP: 84/10
- Trainer: Bob Baffert
- Jockey: John R Velazquez
The trip is 1m2f for this iconic Grade 1 contest, which this year acts as the second leg of the American Triple Crown and offers a whopping of £2,255,639 in prize money. The dirt course is currently described as riding fast.
|Going||Distance||Grade||Prize Money||Runners||EW Terms|
|Fast||1m2f||Grade 1||£2,255,639||18 Runners||1/5 1-3|
Kentucky Derby Betting Tips
Note: The following tips are from 2020. Tips for the next renewal will be added once the final declarations have been made.
Named after the UK’s most famous classic, this contest is held over a two furlong shorter trip, but in common with the Epsom event it is open only to three year olds. Also in common with the English Derby, the roll of honour makes for seriously impressive reading, with Triple Crown heroes, Justify and American Pharoah, and the brilliant California Chrome all featuring amongst the past 10 winners of the race.
With five previous wins, Bob Baffert is the most successful of the trainers on show. Baffert sends Authentic and Thousand Words into battle this time around and, should either prevail, he will move into a tie for the all-time lead amongst trainers.
This has been an excellent race for the market leader of late, with six of the past ten jollies having come home in front, handing favourite backers a level stakes profit of £16.80 over this period.
|Tiz The Law||4/7||Barclay Tagg||Manuel Franco|
|Honor A P||5/1||John Shirreffs||Mike E Smith|
|Thousand Words||18/1||Bob Baffert||Florent Geroux|
Tiz The Law – 4/7
Out in front at the head of the betting this time around – and looking set to the shortest priced favourite in many a year – is the Barclay Tagg-trained runner, Tiz The Law.
With six wins from seven races overall in his career to date, this son of Constitution heads into the race seeking a fifth win on the spin and, having already landed the Belmont Stakes, is this year’s Triple Crown hopeful. Impressive when almost four lengths too good for the field in that Belmont success over 1m1f, he was even better when stepped up to this distance for the first time in the Travers Stakes at Saratoga last time out.
Prominent throughout, it was all over as they turned for home, as the mount of Marc De Franco appeared to be cantering whilst the rest of the field were hard at work. Ultimately being eased right down for a five and a half length success, he looked a class apart that day and is clearly the one to beat if in anything like the same form here.
Honor A P – 5/1
If the favourite is to come unstuck, then the horse most likely to upset the applecart – according to the market at least – is the John Shirreffs-trained, Mike Smith-ridden Honor A.P.
This trainer and jockey combo landed this prize in 2005 with Giacomo and will have high hopes for this son of Honor Code. Never out of the first two in five career starts to date, he thrust his hat into the ring for this contest with an impressive success on his only previous crack at Group 1 level in the Santa Anita Derby two starts back. Coming four-wide to make his challenge that day, the manner in which he hit the line in that 1m1f event augurs well for this step up in trip.
He does however arrive on the back of a defeat, having been turned over at Del Mar at odds of just 1/5. He did once again finish to good effect over an inadequate 1m½f trip that day though, and it wouldn’t be the biggest surprise if the main purpose of that outing had been to tee him up nicely for this.
Thousand Words – 18/1
The lightly raced Authentic looks dangerous for Bob Baffert, but hasn’t appeared to be crying out for this step up in trip, and has also been handed a tough draw in stall 18 for one who likes to dominate. At a much bigger price, the second of the Baffert runners Thousand Words looks more interesting from an each way perspective.
Sired by Pioneerof The Nile, who has already given us 2015 winner of this race, American Pharoah, this one is capable of throwing in a subpar effort, but on the pick of his efforts is by no means out of this. A Grade 2 winner at two, he had taken a while to come to the boil in 2020, but significantly arrives on the back of what was close to a career best effort last time out at Del Mar. Making much of the running that day, we liked the way he kicked again once challenged in the straight, to successfully fend off the strong-finishing Honor A.P. He’s around four times the price of the John Shirreffs runner here, but may well make a bold bid if getting a decent start from stall 10.
Kentucky Derby Winners
|2020||Authentic||84/10||Bob Baffert||John R Velazquez|
|2019||Country House||65/1||William Mott||Flavien Prat|
|2018||Justify||29/10||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|
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.