Update: Haikal was scratched from the race on Friday morning.
The horses at the starting gate–and they’re off at the Kentucky Derby!
The Churchill Downs track announcer will make the call for your 145th Kentucky Derby on Saturday, and millions of racing fans, recreational sports enthusiasts and bettors will tune in on NBC TV, the NBC Sports App or NBCSports.com for the Run for the Roses. Fans can bet lawfully on the Kentucky Derby in their mobile device in 31 states in the U.S., together with many online wagering options at TVG.
Betting on the race is anticipated to create a pari-mutuel wagering pool of over $150 million, that will eclipse last year’s record handle on the Kentucky Derby. Last year’s 14-race card at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Derby day drew a record handle of $227.5 million. It also attracted over 150,000 fans to Churchill Downs on race despite the wettest-ever Kentucky Derby, with more than three inches of rain. Those fans witnessed Justify striding house from the slop to capture the Kentucky Derby on his way to Triple Crown glory. Justify became the sixth straight post-time favorite to win the Kentucky Derby.
This year’s pre-race favorite, Omaha Beach, was scratched from the race this week with a throat problem (entrapped epiglottis).
Rain has fallen on Derby day 68 times over its past 144 runnings, and the prediction for this year’s Kentucky Derby reveals a 90% chance of rain, with morning showers Saturday along with a steady rain throughout the afternoon. There are plenty of opinions and wagering options available on the Kentucky Derby and the big day of racing at Churchill Downs. But as with sports gambling, astute bettors will start looking for value in a form cycle analysis of 3-year-old horses showing great signs of improvement with a pedigree that demonstrates the strength and endurance to be successful at the one-and-a-quarter-mile space for the first time.
Think of it such as Texas Tech during the NCAA college basketball championship in March: The Red Raiders blew out a few teams from smaller conferences and then stepped up in class as underdogs from Gonzaga, Michigan and Michigan State, winning all those games with determination and a strong closing kick in the clutch. Despite Virginia at the NCAA championship game, the Red Raiders maintained fighting to take the lead near the wire at the final seconds, only to see Virginia pull in a dead heat–overtime. Texas Tech would finally come up just short, but the Red Raiders rewarded the value-seeking bettors with a 5-1 ATS run through the NCAA tournament.
Horse handicappers are looking for value with strong horses and contenders who can offer a similar shot of competitiveness and battle a perceived stronger opponent hard to the cable. The reward may be not only a winning bet but a potential larger score on the parlay that’s an exacta, trifecta or exotic bet; those bets pay off big with value horses which hit the board and money in at more odds.
Following is a look at three horses who will offer value in the Kentucky Derby, with some added opinions and insight from Mike Shutty of Super Screener and Horse Racing Nation, TVG racing and betting options and TwinSpires, the official Kentucky Derby betting spouse and residence of the iconic Churchill Downs.
No. 14 Win Win Win (12-1)
Can not think of a better term to blurt out than”Win Win Win” once you cash in on the Kentucky Derby. The Super Screener tabs this three-time winner as a top play of this longshot closers.
Win Win Win was the favorite from the Tampa Bay Derby, won by Tacitus, and he rallied from off the pace to close strong and ended third. His next race last month was the Blue Grass Stakes, and Win Win Win has been steadied near the five-sixteenth pole and came from the back of the pack. He had been shut off while trying to get through horses approaching the stretch and still rallied down the street and was rolling late to get up for second place. That despite a savage rate bias that afternoon in the Keeneland race track. A super final work within the Churchill Downs track provides more optimism for a payday with Win Win Win.
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