By Marco Sussman at BetOnline
In terms of sports betting, you won’t find many single-day events as big as the Kentucky Derby, and the 138th edition goes off this Saturday at venerable Churchill Downs. In one of the more wide-open fields in recent memory, a relative youngster to the horse racing scene will steal the show.
What: Horse Betting
When: Saturday, May 5th, 6:00 PM ET
Where: Churchill Downs, Louisville, KY
Union Rags (+350) has been at or near the top of the list for most of the Kentucky Derby trail, and even a third-place finish in the Grade-1 Florida Derby hasn’t derailed him. It was his worst finish in six races as Union Rags had won four of his first and finished second in November’s Breeders Cup Juvenile, which also took place at Churchill Downs, and he didn’t get a lot of luck in the Florida Derby as he was stuck on the rail. If Union Rags can get a favorite post position, the field could be in trouble.
But he may have to hold off Bodemeister (+450), who romped to a 9.5-length win at the Grade-1 Arkansas Derby in what may have been the most impressive performance on the Derby prep trail. Bodemeister doesn’t have a lot of experience with just four career races and he never raced as a two-year-old, but that may have saved his legs and when Bodemeister gets out in front, good luck trying to catch up to him. The major worry is that he’ll burn himself out early, and that could be the only hope for the field.
The Second Tier
Creative Cause (+900), Dullahan (+900) and Gemologist (+900) lead the next group of horse betting candidates for the 138th edition of the “Run For The Roses”, and you could throw a blanket over this trio, that’s how close they are. Gemologist is unbeaten in all five career starts, but only two have been
graded-stakes races. Dullahan definitely has the edge in experience with eight races, five have been graded-stakes races and he showed that he could hang with the big boys by holding off Hansen in the Grade-1 Blue Grass.
However, Creative Cause has them both beat in terms of experience as he has also raced eight times, but seven have been graded-stakes races and all have been either a Grade-1 or Grade-2 event, so Creative Cause should have no issues with the level of competition. Creative Cause is always going to be a factor as he never gives up and may be the most balanced horse in the field in terms of speed and stamina. If you’re looking for a little value outside of the favorites, Creative Cause is probably the horse you’re going to lean towards because it’ll be a major surprise if he finishes outside of the top three.
Hansen (+1100), I’ll Have Another (+1100) and Alpha (+1400) kick off the horse betting longshots, even though their odds aren’t that long at all, and it’s a little surprising to see Hansen in this group after he won the Breeders Cup Juvenile, but he did finish second to Dullahan in the Blue Grass Stakes. The issue with Hansen is that he may not be able to handle the 1 1/4-mile distance of the Kentucky Derby and some fear he’ll gas down the stretch. I’ll Have Another defeated Creative Cause at the Santa Anita Derby and has won both races with Mario Gutierrez in the saddle in 2012, but he has also had back problems in the past.
Alpha is the tricky option here as he finished 11th at the Breeders Cup Juvenile, but has since bounced back with two wins in three starts in 2012 and he finished second to Gemologist at the Wood Memorial. However, you have to confirm his entry into the Derby as Alpha suffered cuts on his leg in that race and he doesn’t have a jockey yet, so he may not make it to the post at Churchill Downs.
How It Will Play Out
Longshots usually have a place in the Kentucky Derby, but this year’s field seems to be very top-heavy and it would take a major mistake for one of the favorites to fall out of the running. Any number of horses could wind up with a bouquet of roses around their neck at the end of the race, but really, it should be narrowed down to seven: Union Rags, Hansen, Bodemeister, Gemologist, Dullahan, Creative Cause and Alpha.
Lean towards Bodemeister, whose lack of experience may help him as he just gets out of the gate and runs as fast as he can, and even though there is some concern of him wearing himself out before the
race, once he gets into the gate, he becomes a machine and after his performance at the Arkansas Derby, it’s tough to look past Bodemeister as your online betting pick.
Kentucky Derby Betting Pick: Bodemeister
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