Kentucky Derby 2019 Contenders and Picks
All the prep races have been run, and the 145th Kentucky Derby is set to go from Louisville on Saturday with an expected post time of 6:50 PM Eastern. The race will be broadcast live on NBC with coverage beginning at 2:30 PM Eastern.
For handicapping purposes in betting the Derby, note that final entries and the post position draw for the race will take place on Tuesday. The race is open to the top 20 point-getters during the Road to the Kentucky Derby qualifying series that started back in September, and also includes one entry – Master Fencer – that qualified in Japan.
Here’s a look at five of the top contenders for the race and how they got in, as well as four live long shots. Kentucky Derby horse odds are from Bodog.ca.
Kentucky Derby Odds – Top Contenders
He won the (G1) Santa Anita Derby after falling to the back of the small field and then unleashing a strong run halfway through the far turn. He battled Derby rival Game Winner through the stretch to ultimately prevail by a half length.
Game Winner (+500)
The 2018 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile champion will be trying to become the third horse to turn the BC Juvenile/Derby trick since the Breeders’ Cup began in 1984. After winning four consecutive starts in 2018, he’s been runner-up twice so far this year.
Omaha Beach (+500)
He was in the money every time, but it took him five starts to get his first lifetime win. Since then he’s won two graded-stakes, including the (G2) Rebel (a race that was run in two divisions) where he beat Game Winner by a nose and more recently the (G1) Arkansas Derby.
Second to Omaha Beach in the Arkansas, he also finished second previously in the other divison of the Rebel when he was caught at the wire by Derby entry Long Range Toddy. He won the (G1) Los Alamitos Futurity in December.
He came from way back in the field to get up and win the (G2) Tampa Bay Derby in March before shipping up to Aqueduct in New York. He then won the (G1) Wood Memorial where he again rallied from far off the pace and then went head-to-head with Derby contender Tax to get the win 1 1/4 lengths.
Kentucky Derby Odds 2019 – Live Long Shots
Maximum Security (+1000)
He started his career by winning three straight lower-level races by a combined 34 lengths before he stepped up to graded-stakes racing and won the (G1) Florida Derby by 3 1/2. Runner-up Bodexpress will be the first horse to draw into the Derby field if there is a scratch.
The winner of three-of-four lifetime with a pair of graded-stakes wins including last out in the (G2) Blue Grass Stakes where he drew away from the field in the stretch to win by a solid 3 1/2 lengths.
War Of Will (+1800)
Made the switch from racing on the turf to racing on the dirt and promptly reeled off three straight victories included a pair of graded stakes. Was injured in the (G2) Louisiana Derby and finished ninth, but has been training well and appears to be fully healed.
Second in the Wood Memorial, he’s been in the money in all five of his lifetime starts, including a win in the (G3) Withers Stakes despite taking a stumble at the gate and having to be ridden hard to get back in contention.
Kentucky Derby 2019 Picks
- #1 – Omaha Beach
We picked him as the winner for the Arkansas Derby and his performance there gives no reason to get off him now. While it took him awhile to get his first win, two of his three defeats were by a nose and in another he stumbled at the gate. He’s loaded with tactical speed and has shown a willingness to dig in when challenged in the lane.
- #2 – Maximum Security
While he hasn’t been facing the highest level of racing early in his career, his Florida Derby win was legit. He has lots of early speed, and if he draws a decent post position it’s entirely possible he goes to the front and tries to take them wire-to-wire.
- #3 – Tacitus
While we don’t like late runners like him to win the Derby, the move he made in the Wood was visually impressive as he ate up ground as they came through the stretch run. He could be passing a lot of tiring horses late to get into the money.
- #4 – War Of Will
If not for losing his footing in the Louisiana Derby he could be coming into the Kentucky Derby with four straight wins on dirt and would likely be one of the race favorites. A return to his pre-LA Derby form makes him a top-four contender in this field.
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