Projected Kentucky Derby win odds

By Ed DeRosa

Picking a Kentucky Derby favorite is much easier than picking the Kentucky Derby winner, but tabbing his (and 19 others’) off odds is among the more difficult guessing games in the Sport of Kings.

Of this I’m certain: California Chrome will be favored and Wicked Strong will be second choice.

After that, there are questions: What will California Chrome’s price actually be? Will Wicked Strong as second choice be closer in odds to California Chrome or the third choice? Who will be the third choice? Who will the longest shot on the board be?

My projected odds below attempt to answer these questions. I’m not calling it a projected morning line because it’s not my guess at what the morning line will be but what the off odds will be.

Horse

Projected odds

California Chrome

4

Candy Boy

20

Chitu

15

Commanding Curve

30

Dance With Fate

20

Danza

15

General a Rod

20

Harrys Holiday

40

Hoppertunity

12

Intense Holiday

12

Medal Count

15

Ride On Curlin

15

Samraat

18

Tapiture

18

Uncle Sigh

35

Vicars In Trouble

15

Vinceremos

35

We Miss Artie

40

Wicked Strong

8

Wildcat Red

25

I’m on the higher side than what most think Santa Anita Derby winner California Chrome will be, but I just can’t make the math work to get him any lower, though given most people think he’ll be between 9-to-5 and 5-to-2, I’d gladly make his over/under price 2.99-to-1 and take the over all day.

Wicked Strong I put in the middle of the first and co-third choices with the TwinSpires.com Wood Memorial Stakes winner projected at 8-to-1 and both Louisiana Derby runner-up Intense Holiday and Santa Anita Derby runner-up Hoppertunity at 12-to-1.

After that I have a bunch in the 15- to -18-to-1 range and then have the bombs filling out the 30+ range with the Spiral Stakes exacta of We Miss Artie and Harry’s Holiday as the longest shots at 40-to-1 each.

In preparing this column about horses who go off at shorter odds in the Derby than they did in their final prep, I looked at Derby PPs back to 1992, which gave me a good feel for trends in how the race has been bet through the years.

For Brisnet.com Ultimate Past Performances of every Kentucky Derby race dating back to 2000, CLICK HERE.

The watershed moment for Derby win betting came in 2001 when Churchill Downs eliminated the mutuel field and the Kentucky Racing Commission eliminated coupled entries allowing for 20 individual wagering interests. That was the last year any horse was more than 80-to-1, and lately 50-to-1 seems to be the ceiling as well as the movie named for the last longshot winner.

If I were to make the bottom six wagering choices 20-to-1 as part of a mutuel field, then on my odds line California Chrome could drop to 3-to-1 and every other horse can drop two points. That’s a huge difference.

As sophisticated bettors, another thing to remember with Derby win betting is that the odds in that pool aren’t necessarily indicative of how a horse is getting bet in other pools. E.g., it’s difficult to imagine that Sunland Derby winner Twice The Appeal was really 11-to-1 across all pools, but Calvin Borel—fresh off consecutive Derby wins as part of a three-for-four streak—attracts win money.

For that reason, the cardinal ranking of horses is worth noting; e.g., Vicar’s In Trouble is one of five I have as the co-fifth choice at 15-to-1, and I have two others at both 12- and 18-to-1, but it’s possible that the Rosie/Ramsey factor will actually make her the third choice. For multi-horse wagering purposes, though, I doubt Vicar’s In Trouble will be any more bet than the others I have in the same range.

Horses like Harry’s Holiday I only expect to be in the win spot of exotics tickets that use “ALL” on top.

4 Comments

Leave a Comment:

Pedigree Ann

Candy Boy galloped up and by Chitu under a hand ride - so you think the fact that Chitu won in El Paso means that he will be at lower odds than Candy Boy? Are people that illogical?

30 Apr 2014 2:58 PM
Hasty'smoosh

Pretty good predictions, but Candy Boy will be a lower price...I prefer to stay with the horses that have flown under the radar...Commanding Curve, Tapiture,Danza, Ride on Curlin, Candy Boy of course all keyed with the Real CC.  Commanding Curve****

30 Apr 2014 3:17 PM
Carlos in Cali

I'll gladly take anything above 3-1 on Cali Chrome... hand-over-fist! Especially with him drawing in the middle of the speed horses. Perfect!

30 Apr 2014 8:16 PM
X-DRFMan

These make sense. The betting is always more spread around than your average race because of all the tourist money.

01 May 2014 7:21 AM

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