We have our finger on the pulse of all of the horse racing betting action this year, and we know that this year’s Kentucky Derby odds are going to be amongst the toughest to beat. Today, we look at the post positions and morning line odds for all 20 horses in the field, and we make our Kentucky Derby picks for the horses that we think will and will not be able to challenge in the Run for the Roses.
Kentucky Derby Post Draws and Morning Line Odds
1: Black Onyx (50 to 1)
2: Oxbow (30 to 1)
3: Revolutionary (10 to 1)
4: Golden Soul (50 to 1)
5: Normandy Invasion (12 to 1)
6: Mylute (15 to 1)
7: Giant Finish (50 to 1)
8: Goldencents (5 to 1)
9: Overanalyze (15 to 1)
10: Palace Malice (20 to 1)
11: Lines of Battle (30 to 1)
12: Itsmyluckyday (15 to 1)
13: Falling Sky (50 to 1)
14: Verrazano (4 to 1)
15: Charming Kitten (20 to 1)
16: Orb (7 to 2)
17: Will Take Charge (20 to 1)
18: Frac Daddy (50 to 1)
19: Java’s War (15 to 1)
20: Vyjack (15 to 1)
Before we get started with the horses that we really like, we want to take out of the equation two of the favorites that we just don’t think are worthy of such great prices. We think that Orb is a crying joke of a favorite and a complete sham. Perhaps we are going to turn out to be wrong, but we just don’t like what we have seen out of this horse thus far. He has never run faster than a 97 Beyer Speed Rating in his career, and that’s bad news for a colt that is going to probably have to run around a 108 or so to win this race.
We also are taking Goldencents off of our radar for now. We don’t have anything against this horse, and we do think that he legitimately could win this race, but at 5 to 1, there is just no value there any longer. Perhaps if Goldencents gets up to 10 to 1 or so, we would consider, but we don’t think that the California road to the Kentucky Derby at Santa Anita was all that worthwhile this year, as a number of the best contenders ended up going down injured.
That out of the way, there are plenty of horses that we do like. Verrazano is the colt that we truly believe to be the best three-year old in this year’s class. He reminds us of Big Brown just a bit, and he was a horse that won the first two legs of the Triple Crown before getting pulled up in the Belmont Stakes with an eighth of a mile to go. Verrazano is an undefeated four-time champion, and about the only issue that we see with him is that he has never had dirt kicked in his face in his career. However, with the 14th post position and another horse in Falling Sky set to get out of the blocks towards the front of the field right next to him, we think that this is setting up to be another great run for Verrazano, as he is going to cut this field in half right away and be positioned to turn on the gas in the final four furlongs or so.
There are a few horses that essentially have always been bridesmaids, but never been a bride in the big time races that we are going to be keeping an eye on, strictly out of their value. From inside to outside, we have our eyes on Normandy Invasion, Palace Malice, Itsmyluckyday, Java’s War and Vyjack. Palace Malice is clearly the scariest of the horses to bet on, knowing that he is probably the fifth best horse of the ones that Trainer Todd Pletcher is training. All of these horses have something in common, though. They all finished right behind some of the best horses in the world in the prep races leading up to the Kentucky Derby.
Vyjack is the horse that interests us the most. Jockey Garrett Gomez is going to be riding this colt, and though he has a lousy post position on the far outside at post No. 20, it isn’t the end of the world. Java’s War (more on him in a second) is going to be out of his way, so the break should be totally clean. Vyjack will likely go everywhere that Orb and Verrazano go, so don’t be shocked if this turns out to be a horse to watch. Remember that Vyjack was only beaten for the first time in his career at the Wood Memorial by Verrazano, and that was the race that Normandy’s Invasion made a name for himself by finishing second.
In the end though, the horse to really watch out for is Java’s War. We love everything about this horse right now. Java’s War is going to fall right to the back of the pack without all that much in the way of company, and he is going to be able to run the race that he wants to run. The question is whether he can navigate through a field of 19 other horses in time to get up to the front. We think that with Jockey Julian Leparoux on his mount, he can do just that.
Don’t be shocked if we see Verrazano and Orb in a bit of a duel with Vyjack and Normandy Invasion and/or Itsmyluckyday at the end, and since none of these horses have ever been involved in such a race, Java’s War might be able to steal the day.
Bang the Book Kentucky Derby Picks
1: Java’s War
Aaron Ryan has been in the sportswriting biz since the late-90s, and he has worked side by side with some of the best and brightest in sports gambling. Always searching for the best trends in sports, Andrew uses his brilliant math mind to his advantage to beat the books.