The Kentucky Derby’s 136th running is now a wide open affair with Eskendereya the early favorite now out with a leg injury. The new favorite at 2-1, will be Lookin at Lucky, a Bob Baffert trained horse that is a two time winner at Del Mar. The two wins for Lookin at Lucky, the Best Pal Stakes and the Del Mar Futurity, were both won when the horse was a two year old.
The Kentucky Derby is not about picking the favorite though. The Kentucky Derby is usually won by an 8-1 shot or greater and the challenge is to figure out which horse it will be. Some things to consider when handicapping the field are the post position, the jockey and of course the horse.
Post position and it’s importance for the Kentucky Derby.
The Kentucky Derby is always the largest field most of these three year old horses will ever race. The field is always 20 horses deep and Churchill Downs uses two starting gates to accommodate the horses. For betting purposes it does make sense to down grade a horse starting in the second gate which will be post positions 13-20. A horse starting out of the 20th post position should never win the Kentucky Derby but don’t tell Big Brown that. Big Brown won the Kentucky Derby from the 20 spot in 2008.
According the Daily Racing Form’s stats on winning post positions, the number one post position and the number five post position have the most winners in the Kentucky derby with 12 each. The next two post positions are the number four spot and the number 10 post position with 10 wins each. The best outside or second gate post position for winners is the 13th post position. The reason this is a good slot is because it is the first post position of the second gate. For all post positions and jockey silks, click here.
The jockey is very important when it comes to the Kentucky Derby.
The Kentucky Derby is a race that revolves around strategy. A great jockey can his control a horse and have him hang back without wearing him down or taking away his rhythm. Also a great jockey can make that final stretch run through horses, without touching a hair on the other horses and come through on the other side at full speed. The Kentucky Derby is all about the stretch run and not letting the field get away if there is a horse that is a good closer.
The best jockey’s in the Kentucky Derby are the ones that are fearless. A Joe Talamo or a Calvin Borel are capable of taking a lesser horse and getting every ounce of adrenaline out of the horse. Mike Smith and David Flores will also have a shot of being there at the end.
The horses are still the stars of the Kentucky Derby.
Lookin for Lucky may be the favorite going in and may have the best post position but don’t expect him to be there at the end. Instead look to the other pole position, the 13th post position and the horse, Jackson Bend trained by Nick Zito.
The experts that handicap the Kentucky Derby (John Asher, James Scully and Kellie Reilly) and are regulars at Churchill Downs, are touting Awesome Act to win from the 16th post position. Another horse that could have a strong run in the Kentucky Derby will be Homeboykris. A long shot on the board do throw this Rick Dutrow trained horse out of your exotics and he will have a great chance to win.
Odds and background information regarding, Jackson Bend, Awesome Act and Homeboykris, gathered from the Kentucky Derby website, Twin Spires.
Best bet to win the Kentucky Derby Jackson Bend at 12-1.
Jackson Bend, with veteran Mike Smith aboard, is a great combination that cannot be ignored. The 13th starting position is a distinct advantage for Jackson Bend, he will have a little added room in this spot and be able to take his desired position. Jackson Bend has to be tired of coming up second, the Florida bred thoroughbred has finished second in the Wood Memorial, the Holy Bull Sweepstakes and the Fountain of Youth. Jackson Bend at 12-1, will need to take advantage of the starting spot and get a good break out of the gate but he is the best bet to win the Kentucky Derby.
Second best bet to win the Kentucky Derby Awesome Act at 8-1 opening line on Kentucky Derby website.
Awesome Act has a rough starting spot in the 16th post position but can overcome that with a fast break to get away from the also rans. Awesome Act also has an impressive resume heading into the Kentucky Derby. A third in the Wood Memorial, a first in the Gotham Stakes and fourth in Breeders Cup Juvenile. Julien Leparoux will on Awesome Act’s back and could prove to be a good match. Awesome Act at 8-1 is a solid second choice, don’t be afraid to include in the exotics also.
Third best bet to win the Kentucky Derby Dublin at 10-1 opening line according to Kentucky website.
Dublin draws a bad post position, 17th but good horses become great horses by overcoming adversity in the Kentucky Derby. Dublin has a third in the Rebel Stakes, a third in the Arkansas Derby and second in the Southwest. Jockey Terry Thompson may make his mark in this race with the D Wayne Lukas trained colt. A good scenario for Dublin is that Awesome Act makes a hard break to the lead early and Dublin follows and settles behind. Dublin has a good shot to win at 10-1 and is a good horse to throw in the exotics.
Long shot bet to win the Kentucky Derby Homboykris at 40-1 opening line according to Kentucky Derby website.
Homeboykris does not have much of a resume heading into the Kentucky Derby but stranger things have happened. Homboykris’ two best performances are a fifth in the Holy Bull and a fifth in the Remson. Nothing to write home about but Homeboykris a Rick Dutrow horse with Ramon Dominguez aboard lives up to the title, long shot.Homeboykris is a very small play for fun with current odds of 40-1 he should go off at 55-1.
www.twinspires.com odds to win and post positions.