Kentucky Derby Preview: Tips, Draw, Odds & Where To Watch

Churchill Down Grandstand

It’s a case of better late than never for the Kentucky Derby. Originally scheduled for May, the COVID-19 pandemic saw the contest pushed back four months. Saturday will finally see the 146th Run for the Roses, with a field of eighteen bidding to etch their names into history.

Raced over the 1m 2f distance at Churchill Downs, it will be the second leg of this year’s Triple Crown. Traditionally the first step in the journey, this year saw the Belmont Stakes be the first leg. The Preakness, the traditional second, will be the stop in October.

You can find everything you need to know about the Kentucky Derby below, from the thoughts and analysis of our experts, valuable stats and trends, free bets and our Kentucky Derby tip.

How To Watch The Kentucky Derby

There are plenty of ways to watch the world-renowned race from Churchill Downs. Sky Sports Racing will be hosting the action on Sky Channel 415, while many bookmakers will offer streaming services for the entire card.

You will need to meet their minimum bet/deposit requirements and terms will be different for each, but it’s another simple way of making sure you don’t miss the Kentucky Derby.

Kentucky Derby Runners and Riders

No matter what the field, the Kentucky Derby is always run at a strong pace. With a field of eighteen all vying for position early on, you need a horse who sees out every inch of the ten-furlong distance.

All eyes will be on Barclay Tagg’s Tiz The Law, the Belmont Stakes winner who is bidding to keep his Triple Crown bid on track. He’s been scintillating in 2020, winning three Grade 1 races, latterly the Travers at Saratoga. He’s undoubtedly the class of this field and the one they all have to beat. That being said, you can draw negatives. He’s been drawn wide in Gate 17, has to contend with potentially sloppy conditions and Churchill Downs, where he suffered his sole career defeat.

Mike Smith’s 2020 mount is Honor A.P. for John Shirreffs, who landed the Santa Anita Derby on his fourth career start. He was unable to get past Thousand Words when second in the Shared Belief since, but that effort gave the distinct impression that it was a preparation run for the bigger target. He’ll get the ideal trip, given that he likes to run home strongly, and he’ll relish the step up in distance.

Bob Baffert’s Authentic has a huge amount of ability, finishing second to Honor A.P. in the Santa Anita Derby. He looked set to win the Haskell impressively on his latest outing, running away from NY Traffic on the turn for home. He finished very flat, however, and only scored by a nose after leading by five lengths. Whether he lost focus or hit the wall, it certainly wasn’t visually impressive and he needs to lead to show his best, which works against him.

Kentucky Derby Tip

He’s been behind Tiz The Law twice in 2020, but Max Player does hold reasonable excuses for the margins of defeat and this is a race that will play to all his strengths. Having his first start for over four months, he acquitted himself extremely well in the Belmont Stakes despite being sent out seven-wide on the turn for home.

He simply had no pace to aim at when third subsequently in the Travers, but today will be a different story. This will be run a strong gallop and he’ll relish every yard of the distance. With further improvement surely in the locker on his first start for Steve Asmussen, a big run can be expected under Ricardo Santana Jr.

Kentucky Derby Previous Winners

  • 2019 – Country House (William Mott, Flavien Prat) 30/1
  • 2018 – Justify (Chad Brown, Jose Ortiz) 3/1
  • 2017 – Always Dreaming (Todd Pletcher, John Velazquez) 5/1
  • 2016 – Nyquist (Doug O’Neill, Mario Gutierrez) 3/1
  • 2015 – American Pharoah (Bob Baffert, Victor Espinoza) 5/2
  • 2014 – California Chrome (Art Sherman, Victor Espinoza) 5/2
  • 2013 – Orb (Claude McGaughey III, Joel Rosario) 5/1
  • 2012 – I’ll Have Another (Doug O’Neill, Mario Gutierrez) 12/1
  • 2011 – Animal Kingdom (Graham Motion, John Velazquez) 30/1
  • 2010 – Super Saver (Todd Pletcher, Calvin Borel) 15/1

Kentucky Derby Draw and Trends

The Kentucky Derby places a huge importance on the draw. With a field of eighteen runners bursting from the gate, where you land in the run to the first turn can decide your fate very quickly.

Although you may think it, being drawn on the plastic in the modern age has not been an advantage. The last horse to win from Gate 1 was Ferdinand back in 1986, with Finnick The Fierce being closest to the paint in 2020.

Being in the middle of the pack in terms of draw is what is believed to be the plum position. Stall 5 has been the most profitable position in recent years, with California Chrome and Always Dreaming winning from their in recent years. Major Fed has a tall task to continue that trend, however.

All of the major players, in terms of odds, are drawn wide for this year’s Kentucky Derby. NY Traffic (15), Honor A.P. (16), Tiz The Law (17) and Authentic (18) all have some work to do to get into prominent positions. Thousands Words in Stall 10 is best drawn of those at “shorter” prices.

The Triple Crown

The American Triple Crown is one of the most coveted prizes in racing. It’s awarded to any horse who can win the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes. Just thirteen three-year-old’s have managed such a feat, with those being:

  • 2018 – Justify
  • 2015 – American Pharoah
  • 1978 – Affirmed
  • 1977 – Seattle Slew
  • 1973 – Secretariat
  • 1948 – Citation
  • 1943 – Count Fleet
  • 1941 – Whirlaway
  • 1937 – War Admiral
  • 1935 – Omaha
  • 1930 – Gallant Fox
  • 1919 – Sir Barton

Tiz The Law can get one step closer to glory if he lands the Kentucky Derby on Saturday. The Derby is traditionally the first leg in the Triple Crown but due to COVID-19, the Belmont Stakes kicked off this year’s Triple Crown. If Barclay Tagg’s star can land the Derby, he’ll head to the Preakness in a months time with the weight of a nation on his shoulders.

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