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Kentucky Derby weekend is a grand spectacle that draws the eyes of even the most casual fan. Every horsemen wants to be the center of attention. Big purses and big fields are the byproduct, bringing more value than any other horse racing weekend of the year (sans the Breeders’ Cup).
It creates the perfect storm for bettors. Some horses don’t belong in the big races, but every owner would love to add a Kentucky Derby notch to their belt. Of the 20-horse field, maybe half are capable of winning the races. The following horses could win, but you won’t get the best value for a multitude of reasons.
The Derby favorite is an undefeated, beautiful gray horse trained by a guy that grew up blocks away from the Twin Spires. Even at the short price of 2-1, it will be a fan favorite. To make matters worse, Mattress Mack will drive the price down with what is expected to be the largest wager in Kentucky Derby history.
Hot Rod Charlie
In 2018 My Boy Jack was 30-1 in the morning line set by Mike Battaglia. The third-place finisher in the Louisiana Derby was the second-choice at 7-1 by post time of the Kentucky Derby. The shocking price drop could be credited to its closing style and the fact that it raced well in the slop, but the name is what really sucked the value out of what would have been a nice long shot bet in exotic wagers.
Many folks threw down some coin on My Boy Jack because of their cousin or uncle Jack. The same will be the case for Hot Rod Charlie. There is definitely a guy named Charlie that has a hot rod or two. If you know that guy, you’re betting on the horse, plain and simple. It could very well win the race, but you will not be able to get this horse at 8-1 by post time.
Soup and Sandwich
This will be a favorite among the females who love a trip to Panera, particularly the sorority girl that might refer to herself as “basic” to sound relatable. Don’t fall for it. The horse will have an early lead and potentially set the pace, but it will flame out in no time.
Bob Baffert is pretty good at turning horses into Kentucky Derby winners. He’s tied for the most in history with six. Plenty of people will return to the well to bet on a horse that even Baffert has admitted is an “overachiever.” Even if Baffert is simply setting the bar low in the hopes of exceeding expectations, Medina Spirit is at best the third best three-year-old in Baffert’s barn this year, behind Concert Tour and Life is Good. It’s still in the hunt for the garland of roses because the colt was able to cruise against relatively weak fields in west coast prep races.
The Bourbon Horses
“I love bourbon. I love horses. I’ll bet on the bourbon horses.” It’s pretty sound logic. The problem is that Bourbonic won the Wood Memorial at 72-1. That will be the highlight of the horse’s career. It’s not finishing in the money Saturday. Midnight Bourbon has a shot, but I doubt you’ll be able to get true long shot value as Steve Asmussen, the winningest trainer in the history of Churchill Downs, tries to win his first Kentucky Derby.