It wasn’t that long ago that thoroughbred racing was one of the most popular spectator and betting sports in America. While it remains one of the few sports legal to wager on in the entire United States, its popularity overall has severely waned in past years.
However, even casual sports fans usually tune in on the first Saturday of May for the annual Run for the Roses, the Kentucky Derby from Churchill Downs in Louisville.
Saturday is the 144th running of the “Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports.” The Derby is run on Churchill Downs’ dirt track at a distance of 1 1/4 miles by three-year-old horses (rarely females). It’s also the first leg of racing’s Triple Crown, followed two Saturdays later by the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico in Baltimore and then three Saturdays after that with the Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park in New York.
There have been just 12 Triple Crown winners, the last being American Pharoah in 2015.
The betting favorite on the odds to win the 2018 Kentucky Derby at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com is Justify at +350, and the colt will begin from Post 7 in the 20-horse field – the Derby usually has a full field of 20, which is always significantly larger than the Preakness or Belmont. Trainers pray their horse doesn’t start on the inside (Post 1) or outside (Post 20).
While the favorite has paid off on the Kentucky Derby odds five straight years, one major trend is against Justify and fellow contender Magnum Moon (+700 from Post 16): No horse who didn’t race as a two-year-old has won the Kentucky Derby since Apollo in 1882.
Justify has won all three races this year at age 3, the last the prestigious Santa Anita Derby in April. He is trained by Bob Baffert, who has saddled four Derby winners in his Hall of Fame career, the last American Pharoah.
Magnum Moon is one of four entrants trained by Todd Pletcher, who won last year’s Kentucky Derby with Always Dreaming. Magnum Moon is 4-0 this year, last winning the Arkansas Derby in April.
The American champion two-year-old male horse was Good Magic, who is +900 and starts from Post 6. Good Magic won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile last year, the premier race for two-year-olds, and has a third-place finish (Fountain of Youth Stakes) and a win (Blue Grass Stakes) in 2018.
For more odds information, betting picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes or listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com.
Source: Heavy Sports