2018 Kentucky Derby Preview

The top racehorses in the world are at Churchill Downs working in preparation for the Kentucky Derby. Audible, Noble Indy, Vino Rosso, and Magnum Moon, all trained by Todd Pletcher, arrived at Churchill on Monday and all galloped 11 furlongs on a wet track. Together the group has 14 wins in 18 starts, and only Vino Rosso has a plurality of losses.


Todd Pletcher is trying to repeat as Kentucky Derby winner, having won last year with Always Dreaming and in 2010 with Super Saver, and has brought four excellent horses. All are able to contend at Churchill Downs, and the odds are decent that the fastest of his horses will be the winner.

Pletcher doesn’t own the outright favorite at this point, though, and the depth of this field extends further than Pletcher’s stables.

Justify is the early favorite, now at 3/1 after already being a 4/1 favorite a few weeks ago among the field for this years Kentucy Derby betting favorites.

The reigning 2-year-old champion, Good Magic, is by all measures still a contender, although no longer a favorite. He’s slipped to 11/1 on the odds sheet since he won the Breeders Cup Juvenile.

Bettors might have been too quick to discard Good Magic after he finished a disappointing third at the Fountain of Youth Stakes, but he’s a good horse with spectacular pedigree, one of the best trainers in the world and a jockey who won the Belmont Stakes last year.

It’s also interesting to see Bolt d’Oro falling so far on the odds sheet, now available at 9/1, after being such a darling in the futures pools. Some bettors aren’t impressed by his four wins in six starts, apparently, and are discarding his San Felipe Stakes win because McKinzie made it to the line first. The fact remains, however, that Bolt d’Oro has the highest Equibase Speed Figure by some distance and a three-time Kentucky Derby-winning jockey on his back in Victor Espinoza.

There are two real stories of the Kentucky Derby that will come to dominate the narrative in the coming week. The first is that two horses, betting favorite Justify (listed at 3/1) and the aforementioned Magnum Moon, are taking on the Curse of Apollo and trying to win the Kentucky Derby without having raced as two-year-olds. They’re both fantastic horses, and if two-year-old results were all that mattered, Good Magic wouldn’t be at 11/1.

The second story is that 2018 is sadly the last year Scat Daddy’s crop will race in the Kentucky Derby, and although his progeny have been very successful, they have never won the Run for the Roses. Carrying the flag for Scat Daddy is Justify, the favorite, and Mendelssohn, the international flavor. Mendelssohn is listed at a tentative 4/1, as he doesn’t have much experience racing on dirt and almost none racing in North America.

If his skills travel, the highly touted and massively expensive yearling will do his sire a great tribute.


Author:  Total Horse Channel