3 Kentucky Derby Longshots to Consider

By J. Keeler Johnson ("Keelerman") Twitter: @J_Keelerman

Anyone that has ever played the trifecta or superfecta in the Kentucky Derby knows that finding live longshots is the key to hitting those bets. With two exceptions, every Kentucky Derby since 2001 has seen at least one horse at odds of 20-1 or higher finish in the superfecta, and having more than one huge longshot hit the board has not been uncommon.

As a result, it can pay to think outside the box when handicapping the Derby in an effort to uncover live longshots that can finish in the top four. Finding the right ones isn't easy-they're longshots for a reason!-but it's always a fun and challenging task that can pay off in a big way if you're right. Here are three longshots that I feel have a chance to hit the board in the 2016 Kentucky Derby:


Although Majesto lost the first four starts of his career, he ran very well in three of those races while holding his own against proven stakes horses like Destin and Gettysburg. He finally broke his maiden in his fifth start, defeating the next-out maiden winners Dig Deep and Street Gray (Dig Deep also won a stakes race last week), and off that promising effort, Majesto was entered in the Florida Derby, where finished a strong second behind the unbeaten champion Nyquist.

Majesto's Florida Derby effort was particularly noteworthy because while he did save ground throughout the race, he did so while racing over by far the wettest part of the track. Rain throughout the afternoon had left large puddles along the rail at Gulfstream, but Majesto showed no hesitation sloshing through them, and he stayed on gamely in the homestretch to finish just 3 ¼ lengths behind Nyquist.

To me, Majesto looks like a rapidly-improving colt that is heading into the Kentucky Derby in great shape. He's already proved that he doesn't mind racing inside of horses, a good asset in the Derby, and his pedigree-by Tiznow out of the Unaccounted For mare Unacloud, the dam of 2013 Arkansas Derby (gr. I) winner Overanalyze-suggests that Majesto will have no trouble with the distance of the Derby. It's also worth noting that Majesto has already run three races at nine furlongs, which is rare to see in a Derby contender. He may not win the Derby, but I think Majesto has a strong chance to finish in the superfecta at around 30-1.


After winning the Southwest Stakes (gr. III) by 2 ¾ lengths with a visually spectacular late rally, Suddenbreakingnews had slightly troubled trips in the Rebel Stakes (gr. II) and Arkansas Derby (gr. I), having to wait behind horses in the former race and having to rally very wide in the latter. But with the exception of the Rebel Stakes, he's never finished worse than second in any of his races and has adapted to a wide variety of pace scenarios.

In terms of pedigree, he's by Mineshaft-sire of 2010 Derby runner-up Ice Box-out of a mare by Belmont Stakes winner Afleet Alex, who finished third in the 2005 Derby and sired the 2010 Travers Stakes winner Afleet Express. He seems to make his move in the homestretch as opposed to the far turn, so the long homestretch at Churchill should be to his liking. If the Derby pace is fast, expect to see him gobbling up ground in the final furlong to contend for a spot in the superfecta.

My Man Sam

He had a somewhat difficult trip in the Blue Grass Stakes, getting a very wide trip after starting from post fourteen, but despite rallying extremely wide at the top of the stretch, he finished strongly in the final two furlongs to finish second, beaten just 1 ¾ lengths by the talented Brody's Cause. As a deep closer-as opposed to just a closer-My Man Sam hasn't really shown any early speed at all, and much like Suddenbreakingnews, he does his best running in the homestretch rather than on the far turn. But he's already achieved a lot for a horse with just four starts under his belt, and one more step forward could put him in the hunt for finishing in the superfecta.

Now it's your turn! Which longshots do you like in the Kentucky Derby?


To help simplify the process of choosing and keeping track of everyone's prime horse selections in our 2016 Road to the Kentucky Derby Handicapping Challenge, I would like to ask everyone to please submit their prime choice each week by leaving a special comment on the official blog page for the contest. This will greatly reduce the chances of any prime horse selections getting overlooked, and will also make it simpler to double-check the standings. Thanks, and enjoy the racing!


J. Keeler Johnson (also known as "Keelerman") is a writer, blogger, videographer, handicapper, and all-around horse racing enthusiast. A great fan of racing history, he considers Dr. Fager to be the greatest racehorse ever produced in America, but counts Zenyatta as his all-time favorite. He is the founder of the horse racing website http://www.theturfboard.com/.

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