Kentucky Derby 2018: Odds, Picks & Trifecta Prediction

The 2018 Kentucky Derby features the deepest field we have seen in years at Churchill Downs. It is unique in that all of the favorites also have noticeable weaknesses they will have to overcome.

Justify entered the week as the morning-line favorite, and has held on to the top spot all week. The horse put up great speed numbers that have many optimistic on his Derby chances. According to Horse Racing Nation, Justify had a 107 Beyer Speed Figure in his Santa Anita Derby victory along with a 104 and 101 in his other two races. Justify’s 107 is the top Speed Figure in this year’s field. The horse also has the benefit of legendary trainer Bob Baffert along with experienced jockey Mike E. Smith. For all of Justify’s success, history is not on his side. Justify is battling the so-called Apollo’s Curse. No horse has won the Derby who has not raced as a two-year-old since Apollo pulled off a win in 1882.

Mendelssohn has pulled even with Justify in the latest OddsShark odds at 7 to 2 (+350). The horse put up a dominant performance at the UAE Derby in Dubai winning the race by 18 1/2 lengths. You can see Mendelssohn pull away at the end of the race in the video below.

His performance earned him a 106 Beyer Speed Figure, just one behind Justify. Timeform had him a little higher at 116. The UAE Derby is the longest prep race on the schedule at 1 3/16 miles, which gives him good experience for the Kentucky Derby’s 1 1/4 miles. There are two key concerns with Mendelssohn. The UAE Derby winner has never gone on to win at Churchill Downs, but none of the previous winners had the kind of performance that Mendelssohn showed off, easily setting the track record. Secondly, there is concern over the horse shipping from Dubai, and recovering in time to be at his best. Mendelssohn has won races all over the world, including the United States, showing a history of traveling well.

Audible enters the race as another top contender. Trainer Todd Pletcher has four horses in the Derby this year, and Audible gives him the best chance to get another win at Churchill Downs. Audible also has top jockey Javier Castellano on the saddle. Audible is coming off a Florida Derby win, which historically has been a strong predictor of Derby contenders. Last year, Pletcher led Always Dreaming from a Florida Derby victory to a win at the Run for the Roses, and is hoping to do the same in 2018 with Audible.

Here’s a look at the latest odds courtesy of OddsShark along with our picks.

Kentucky Derby Odds 2018

Justify 7 to 2
Mendelssohn 7 to 2
Audible 13 to 2
Magnum Moon 15 to 2
Good Magic 8 to 1
Bolt d’Oro 17 to 2
Vino Rosso 12 to 1
Hofburg 15 to 1
My Boy Jack 18 to 1
Solomini 22 to 1
Enticed 25 to 1
Noble Indy 30 to 1
Free Drop Billy 35 to 1
Flameaway 45 to 1
Promises Fulfilled 50 to 1
Lone Sailor 50 to 1
Instilled Regard 60 to 1
Bravazo 60 to 1
Firenze Fire 66 to 1
Combatant 66 to 1

Kentucky Derby Prediction

Three of the top four contenders will make history in some fashion if they end up winning the Kentucky Derby. Justify and Magnum Moon would break Apollo’s Curse, and the stigma associated with not racing as a two-year old. Mendelssohn would be the first horse to win in Dubai, and overcome the travel to end up victorious at Churchill Downs.

Justify, Mendelssohn and Audible are all three strong contenders. For those making multiple picks, a sprinkling of each of the horses winning would be wise. Mendelssohn showed just what he is capable of at the UAE Derby. Even if he is not able to replicate the same race, the horse still has a chance to win with a slightly lesser outing. Mendelssohn is performing up to his pedigree that demanded $3 million at auction. His best is better than anything we’ve seen from the field this year. The horse checks all the boxes when it comes to experience, pedigree and speed. Unlike most of the horses in this field, Mendelssohn has experience going the distance, and thrived in the longest prep race. I like Mendelssohn to buck the trend, and find the Winner’s Circle at Churchill Downs.

Kentucky Derby Trifecta Pick: 1. Mendelssohn 2. Audible 3. Justify

Source: Heavy Sports