A fascinating renewal of The Run for the Roses in prospect this weekend and as a bookmaker who pride themselves on global racing, RaceBets are an ideal place for your Kentucky Derby wagers, including our 60/1 double. This weekend also sees the first two Classics of the year at Newmarket, where we have Guineas Festival Tips.
We have a Kentucky Oaks Preview & Tip where there’s a clear market leader in Bellafina who has been carrying all before her since the turn of the year, most recently winning the Santa Anita Oaks.
Her last performance was a particularly impressive effort beating one of today’s rivals Flor De La Mar by 5 lengths. Although she brings strong form to the table there are definitely negatives, her wins have been in small fields and the last time she ran at Churchill Downs she could only manage fourth behind another of today’s rivals JAYWALK.
That filly has had her problems so far this season after an interrupted prep and a lack-lustre seasonal debut when only fourth but she took a step forward when only beaten two lengths in the G1 Ashland (behind rivals Out For A Spin 1st, Restless Rider 2nd) last time out.
She’s trained by a particularly astute trainer in John Servis and it would be no surprise to see her peak on return to the scene of Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies’ win.
The Kentucky Derby is one of the pinnacle races of the US racing calendar, and is loved by the Louisville locals more than anyone, as they stream out in their thousands to witness, what they hope, is a horse who is going to emulate recent Triple Crown winners Justify and American Pharaoh.
To find the winner of this race requires a training programme which starts early enough to have your horse raring and ready to go for this race, and for the best, this has to be balanced with preserving enough in your equine talent to then tackle the Preakness and the Belmont.
There’s a reason there haven’t been many Triple Crown winners and it says quite something that the only two in recent memory were trained by Bob Baffert.
Baffert sends three here in the pursuit of back to back wins and his runners will have to be on their A game as there is a host of quality opposition ready to take the trophy.
With the post positions announced there will be some happy, and some not so happy faces in the Kentucky vicinity. The draw certainly can’t be understated here – find yourself drawn right on the inside and you’re going to need a speedy runner to keep in contention.
Find yourself hung out wide, you’re going to need a jockey with enough tactical nous to get a decent position. It’s another element of an intriguing puzzle.
One of the key pieces of form coming into this looks to come from the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct, a track where it is generally harder to come from off the pace than here at Churchill. The Wood Memorial, however, featured a complete burn up of speed, allowing Tacitus, Tax and Haikal to take advantage of stalking/closing trips to take the 1-2-3.
Given the trouble early on, Tacitus is the one to take from the race and is expected to hold up the form with the two opponents he re-opposes today.
The Arkansas Derby 3 weeks ago saw Omaha Beach keep on to beat IMPROBABLE by a length and Country House by 7 lengths. That was an impressive performance and coming as it did on sloppy going – with the same expected here – that’s the key prep race.
No Omaha Beach now to take on Improbable and everyone knows how good Baffert is at targeting his horses at this race. One has to think he’ll have left a little bit to work on with Improbable.
An interesting selection at a longer price is Vekoma who bounced back to form in the Bluegrass following defeat in the Fountain of Youth. Win Win Win looked a live foe going into that race but the way Vekoma drew clear in the closing stages under Castellano, was impressive.
That victory showed he had come on for his seasonal bow at Gulfstream, that performance putting him in with a live chance here. He has drawn a solid post position, and would be a good contender for any tricast bets.
Our double of Jaywalk and Improbable pays a tasty 60/1 with RaceBets at time of writing at 10/1 and 9/2 respectively.