Betting action is heating up for the 139th Run for the Roses. We take a look at the Kentucky Derby betting favorites and why the oddsmakers are siding with these horses heading into Saturday’s race.
Trainer Shug McGaughey is a legend of the sport - a Hall of Famer. It’s rare to see him with a Derby horse, though, because he only shows up when he has a real chance. Just as rare is seeing him as excited about a horse as he clearly is about Orb. He just can’t say enough about this runner.
There is a lot to say, too. He’s the impressive winner of the Florida Derby, the same race that Barbaro won before his Kentucky Derby glory. His training in the weeks leading up to the race has been as close to flawless as is possible.
The biggest concern is that the horse is a deep closer, so he will need a lot of luck to move through the pack down the stretch without finding trouble. Still, the horse is the class of a pretty solid field and if he runs his race, he’ll be tough to beat.
Trainer Todd Pletcher has five horses in the field, but this colt will likely go off at the lowest odds. He has been viewed as the favorite to wear the roses for much of the spring. In the last week or two, though, critics have started to throw stones.
His win in his final prep race, the Wood Memorial, was much more gritty than eye-opening. He’s undefeated, but has only run four times in his career - fewer than ideal by at least a couple of races.
Most significantly, all four races occurred this calendar year. Not since Apollo in 1882 has a horse won the Kentucky Derby without running as a two year old, though 48 horses have tried in the last 57 years.
The second of Todd Pletcher’s fab five, Revolutionary has been gaining serious betting momentum over the last week or two. The biggest reason for that by far is that Calvin Borel was named to ride him.
Borel, the only jockey to win the Kentucky Derby three times in four years, became a hero to the racing public with his bold, rail-hugging moves, especially with his near-impossible victory on Mine That Bird.
Revolutionary, the Louisiana Derby winner, is a closer who seems well suited to Borel’s style. The jockey is not riding well lately, though, so the public will almost certainly give him far more credit here than he deserves. This is not the place to find value.