Most of the top online sportsbooks such as MyBookie have recently updated their horse racing futures odds to win this year’s, Kentucky Derby. The crown jewel of the Triple Crown racing series for the top three-year-old thoroughbreds is set for Saturday, May 4 as the highlight of an exciting race card at Churchill Downs in Louisville.
The recent prep season featuring major graded events such as the Florida Derby, Santa Anita Derby, and Arkansas Derby helped separate the true Kentucky Derby contenders from the rest of the field. With 20 three-year entries expected to compete in this year’s ‘Run For The Roses’, this could be one of the most competitive fields in recent memory.
2019 Kentucky Derby - Top Contenders
The three colts at the top of MyBookie's futures list would be Roadster (+650), Omaha Beach (+700) and Game Winner (+750). What these early betting odds signal is the fact that there is no clear favorite to win this year’s race. This sets up any number of interesting betting combinations come to Derby Day.
Famed horse trainer Bob Baffert could be in the best position of all. After guiding Justify to his stunning Triple Crown title last year, he is training two of the top three contenders on this year’s list. Game Winner won last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Churchill Downs in early November. However, some of the luster with this Kentucky-bred colt has been lost with back-to-back second-place finishes in the Grade 2 Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park and the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby. Baffert’s other top contender, Roadster has been gaining some traction with early bettors after winning the Santa Anita Derby on April 6.
Omaha Beach is trained by Richard Mandella and he made a big move up the board following his victory in the Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn on April 13. This Kentucky-bred colt was also the winning colt in one of two divisions of the Rebel States. He ran past Game Winner and Market King in 1:42.42 over the 1 1/16 miles of dirt at Oaklawn.
Each of these three top favorites offers betting value at their current odds. However, I would still go with Game Winner as the best option given his overall potential to shine at Churchill again as a three-year-old.
2019 Kentucky Derby - The Best of the Rest
Another Baffert-trained entry at +900 odds to win is Improbable along with trainer Jason Servis’s Maximum Security. Improbable is another Kentucky-bred colt that gained most of his notoriety as a juvenile with three victories in three races. This run included the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Futurity on Dec. 8 to close out his two-year-old campaign. In his first race as a three-year-old, he finished second to Long Range Toddy in the other division of the Rebel as the favorite. His last time out, Improbable was second in the recent Arkansas Derby.
Maximum Security brings a perfect 4-0 record into the Kentucky Derby after winning the Grade 1 Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park on March 30. He covered the 1 1/8 miles on dirt in 1:48.86 past Bodexpress and Code of Honor.
2019 Kentucky Derby - One to Watch
There are a handful of probable entries with some excellent value in their longer futures odds to win the Kentucky Derby, but the three-year-old colt at the top of my ‘one to watch’ list would be War of Will at +2000.
Trained by Mark Casse, this son of War Front first caught my eye with a victory in the Grade 3 Lecomte Stakes at Fairgrounds on Jan. 19 in his three-year-old debut. He went on to also win the Grade 2 Risen Star at Fairgrounds before the wheels came off with a fade to ninth in the Louisiana Derby on March 23. Casse has had some extra time to get him ready for Churchill Downs and a possible return to the Winner’s Circle.