KY Derby Contenders

Kentucky Derby Betting Odds and Contenders

This is shaping up to be one of the most competitive Kentucky Derby fields in recent history. There are no rock-star horses this year, no obvious favorites like American Pharoah or California Chrome. But there are six talented thoroughbreds on the list of 2018 Kentucky Derby contenders. Here’s how they stack up at press time:
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Justify (4/1)

This Bob Baffert-trained colt has only one graded stakes race under his saddle, but it was a big one: He took down the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby on April 7, beating Bolt d’Oro – another contender on the Kentucky Derby betting lines – by three lengths. Justify will attempt to become just the second horse to win the Kentucky Derby without racing as a 2-year-old; Apollo was the first, way back in 1882.

Mendelssohn (9/2)

Before Justify’s win at Santa Anita, Mendelssohn was briefly on top of the 2018 Kentucky Derby odds board, thanks to his impressive victory at the G2 UAE Derby on March 31. This is the most experienced of the favorites at Churchill Downs, bred in Kentucky but raced overseas under trainer Aidan O’Brien. His last three races were wins on dirt, turf and synthetic tracks, including last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at Del Mar.

Audible (11/2)

The first of two Todd Pletcher-trained horses in the Kentucky Derby betting lead, Audible is looking sharp after doubling up at Gulfstream Park, winning both the G2 Holy Bull Stakes on February 3 and the G1 Florida Derby on March 31. This was after taking down a pair of one-mile races at Aqueduct as a 2-year old. Does he have the stamina to handle the 1-1/4 miles at Churchill Downs? Maybe not; sire Into Mischief has yet to produce a graded stakes winner at longer than nine furlongs.

Magnum Moon (8/1)

No worries about stamina with Pletcher’s next horse on the Kentucky Derby 2018 odds list. Magnum Moon, also unraced as a 2-year-old, is the product of Malibu Moon, who sired 2013 Derby winner Orb. Magnum Moon is undefeated at 4-0 following victories at the G2 Rebel Stakes on March 17 and the G1 Arkansas Derby on March 14, both at Oaklawn Park. Those wins leave Magnum Moon at the top of the Road to the Kentucky Derby standings heading into Churchill Downs.

Bolt d’Oro (10/1)

One of the early favorites on the Kentucky Derby betting odds, this year’s prep races have been somewhat troubling for both horse and trainer Mick Ruis. Bolt d’Oro won the G2 San Felipe Stakes on March 10, but only after McKinzie was relegated to second for drifting. Then Bolt d’Oro finished second behind Justify at Santa Anita. Jockey Javier Castellano has decided to ride Audible at the Kentucky Derby, leaving Bolt d’Oro for Victor Espinoza, who piloted both American Pharoah and California Chrome to victory in five of their six Triple Crown races.

Good Magic (12/1)

This is the reigning Breeders’ Cup Juvenile champion, a race that saw Bolt d’Oro finish third, and his odds for Kentucky Derby glory have improved after winning the G2 Blue Grass Stakes on April 7. Good Magic is trained by Chad Brown, and was sired by the amazing Curlin, who won the 2007 Preakness Stakes and finished on the podium at both the Kentucky Derby (third) and the Belmont Stakes (second). But there will be some doubters after Good Magic came in third at the G2 Fountain of Youth Stakes on March 3, behind Promises Fulfilled and Strike Power.

Other Kentucky Derby Contenders

While these six horses deserve their spot at the front of the pack, they’re not the only ones who claimed victory on the Road to the Kentucky Derby. Vino Rosso (16/1) shocked the horse racing world with his breakthrough win at the G2 Wood Memorial on April 7, and Noble Indy (20/1) took down the G2 Louisiana Derby on March 24, giving Pletcher two more quality horses with viable odds on the Kentucky Derby dance card.

If you prefer to bet on Kentucky Derby dark horses, watch out for Solomini, yet another product of Curlin, who’s available at 22/1 after podium finishes in all six career races – but only the one victory at his maiden. However, losing twice to Magnum Moon at Oaklawn Park could leave the Baffert-trained colt as a better choice for filling out trifectas and superfectas. Stay tuned for ongoing analysis and fresh odds on the Kentucky Derby as we get closer to the Fastest Two Minutes in Sports.

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