Kentucky Derby Betting Preview and Trends

Bettors turn their attention to the horses this weekend as the 143rd running of the Kentucky Derby gets the Triple Crown season started.

There is no overwhelming favorite in this year’s 20-horse field. At the Bovada Sportsbook the race favorite on the Kentucky Derby odds is Classic Empire at +425. Right behind him at +450 is Always Dreaming.

Classic Empire made waves last year when he posted impressive wins in both the Breeders’ Futurity Stakes and the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. However, his first race of 2017 was a bit of a disappointment after he ran to a third-place finish in the Holy Bull Stakes. A foot abscess kept him in the stables for a few months before he came back strong and won the Arkansas Derby in mid-April.

Always Dreaming has two wins under his belt this season, with the more important of the two being his victory in the Florida Derby last month. Always Dreaming is the latest Derby contender for famed trainer Todd Pletcher, who trained 2010 Derby winner Super Saver.

Rounding out the contenders on the odds list at the Bovada Sportsbook are McCraken at +600 and Irish War Cry at +650.

McCraken was undefeated in his racing career until last month when he stumbled to a third-place showing in the Blue Grass Stakes. Irish War Cry is trained by H. Graham Motion, who led Animal Kingdom to a Derby win in 2011. In three races this year Irish War Cry has a pair of wins in the Wood Memorial and the Holy Bull Stakes, with a surprising seventh-place finish in the Fountain of Youth Stakes sandwiched in between.

If you do your betting based on post positions, Always Dreaming may be the way to go. He’s drawn the No. 5 post which has the most Kentucky Derby wins with 13. The posts for the other contenders include No. 14 for Classic Empire (two wins), No. 15 for McCraken (five wins), and No. 17 for Irish War Cry (zero wins). For those wondering, last year’s Derby winner, Nyquist, burst out of the gate from the No. 13 post.

If you’re looking for an upset special in this year’s Derby field you may want to look at Gunnevera. Listed at +1200 at the Bovada Sportsbook, he has never finished worse than third this season, including a win in the Fountain of Youth Stakes where he bested Irish War Cry.

Gunnevera also finished ahead of Classic Empire in the Holy Bull Stakes. Also benefiting Gunnevera, he’ll start in the No. 10 post, which has hosted 10 Kentucky Derby winners in the past.