A full day of stakes races like you’ll find at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Derby Day generally provides plenty of nice betting opportunities. However, the Kentucky Derby offers this in one race.
The Kentucky Derby field is like the NCAA Tournament—you may not think much of some of the college basketball teams, but over the past couple of months leading into the tournament, each team has done something right to get them to the tournament. Each of the 20 Kentucky Derby contenders has earned his or her spot in the field.
You may not think some of them should be there and they’re not all going to be 1 or 2-seed caliber contenders, but that’s what provides the betting opportunities. The 20 individual wagering interests the Kentucky Derby offers means that money can be made, especially in a field without a clear-cut favorite.
In last year’s Kentucky Derby, Dialed In went off as the favorite at just over 5-1. That’s a pretty nice return on a legitimate favorite. However, this is the Kentucky Derby and anything can happen. Dialed In, a closer, dropped to last early on and then got into traffic trouble, which is one of the big issues in a 20-horse field, and couldn’t get out in time to make his run. Animal Kingdom, the Kentucky Derby winner, was mid-pack early and able to get out in time to catch the front-running Shackleford. At odds of nearly 21-1, a simple $2 win wager on Animal Kingdom returned $43.80. Pair that with Nehro, another capable, but overlooked contender, at nearly 9-1, and a $2 exacta paid $329.80. If you added in Mucho Macho Man, at odds of 9-1, you got $3,952.40 for a $2 trifecta. That’s nothing to scoff about!
As the 138 Kentucky Derby field enters the starting gate, you can bet there will be similar money making opportunities just waiting for the taking.