Its days before the biggest and most prestigious horse race in the world, the coveted Kentucky Derby. If you don’t know what all the excitement is about, then you should know that every Wednesday just before the perennial event, the official morning-line odds and post positions are released by official Churchill Downs oddsmaker Mike Battaglia.
Battaglia has been Churchill Downs’ morning line oddsmaker for a whopping 40 years. The horse racing veteran has also served as Churchill Downs’ announcer for two decades (1977-97) and simulcast host for another decade (1997-2007). Battaglia, is currently a horse racing analyst for NBC Sports, the track announcer for Turfway Park and simulcast host for Keeneland Race Course.
Morning line odds, which are odds given to horses in a race prior to the start of betting as a prediction how the linemaker thinks the public will bet, will be revealed at the Kentucky Derby Post Position Draw. Battaglia has correctly predicted the Derby favorite 80% of the time: 32-for-40. Morning Line Odds were first published in the official Kentucky Derby Day program in 1949.
Okay, with the official odds and post positions now being set in granite for the annual Run for the Roses, it’s time for horse racing betting aficionados to start honing in on their prospective bets on Saturday’s annual showdown. Here’s a brief look at some of the horses in the field.
Kentucky Derby Info
Inaugural Race: 1875
Race Type: Thoroughbred
Distance: 1¼ miles (10 furlongs)
Track: Dirt, Left-handed
Weight: Colt/Gelding: 126 lbs ( 57.2 kg ) Filly: 121 lbs . ( 54.9 kg )
Purse: $2 million U.S. , 1st Place : $1,425,000
Number of Horses In Race: The field is limited to 20 horses.
In last year’s 139th running of the Kentucky Derby, Orb, the field’s favorite at 5/1, cashed in for horse racing gamblers by eking out huge underdog Golden Soul (35/1) and another top contender, Revolutionary (6/1) on a sloppy track. 12/1 underdog Normandy Invasion placed fourth to put big-time cash in bettors’ pockets that had the foresight to pick each of the race’s top four finishers. Orb won from the No. 16 post last year, marking the third consecutive Kentucky Derby that the winner has been at No. 16 or higher.
Kentucky Derby Facts
Did You Know that the No. 10 post has had the most winners, nine (9), since the starting gate first was used in 1930?
Now, let’s take a look at the morning-line odds for Saturday’s 140th running of the Kentucky Derby.
|1||Vicar’s In Trouble||Rosie Napravnik||Mike Maker||25-1|
|2||Harry’s Holiday||Corey Lanerie||Mike Maker||50-1|
|3||Uncle Sigh||Irad Ortiz Jr.||Gary Contessa||35-1|
|4||Danza||Joe Bravo||Todd Pletcher||8-1|
|5||California Chrome||Victor Espinoza||Art Sherman||21-10|
|6||Samraat||Jose Ortiz||Rick Violette Jr.||16-1|
|7||We Miss Artie||Javier Castellano||Todd Pletcher||33-1|
|8||General A Rod||Joel Rosario||Mike Maker||18-1|
|9||Vinceremos||Joe Rocco Jr.||Todd Pletcher||50-1|
|10||Wildcat Red||Luis Saez||Jose Garoffalo||18-1|
|11||Dance With Fate||Corey Nakatani||Peter Eurton||14-1|
|12||Chitu||Martin Garcia||Bob Baffert||22-1|
|13||Medal Count||Robby Albarado||Dale Romans||22-1|
|14||Tapiture||Ricardo Santana Jr.||Steve Asmussen||20-1|
|15||Intense Holiday||John Velazquez||Todd Pletcher||12-1|
|16||Commanding Curve||Shaun Bridgmohan||Dallas Stewart||33-1|
|17||Candy Boy||Gary Stevens||John Sadler||18-1|
|18||Ride on Curlin||Calvin Borel||William G. Gowan||18-1|
|19||Wicked Strong||Rajiv Maragh||James A. Jerkens||8-1|
|SCRATCHED||Pablo Del Monte|
Analysis: California Chrome is the clear-cut favorite heading into Saturday, but guess what horse racing gamblers?
You should know that no California-bred horse has won the Derby in a whopping 52 years and that just three Cali-bred horses have ever won the first leg of the Triple Crown. Chrome however, has won his last four races, including an overwhelming victory over second-place finisher Hoppertunity in the Santa Anita Derby less than a month ago on April 5. Still, California Chrome will have some considerable challengers in trying to bring home the bacon as he seeks to recreate history for Cali-bred thoroughbreds.
No. 2 favorite Wicked Strong, is coming off a fine win at the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct on April 5 and a lot of folks, particularly on the East Coast, will be pulling for Boston-based ‘Wicked’ to win, seeing as he was named after the Boston bombing of a year ago and that five percent of his winnings will be donated to the One Fund, an organization created to assist those following the 2013 terrorist attack on Boston’s famed Boston Marathon.
Once again however, horse racing gamblers need to know that Wicked Strong’s last victory was its first stakes win ever and wasn’t expected to run in the derby – until its recent win.
Danza, the No. 3 favorite on the board, won the Arkansas Derby three weeks ago on April 12 at stunning odds of 41/1 to make him arguably the most attractive horse in the field that’s not a top-three fave. Like Wicked Strong however, Danza wasn’t expected to even compete in the Derby until his latest win.
No. 3 favorite Hoppertunity, came in second place (to California Chrome) at the Santa Anita Derby on April 5 after winning the Grade II Rebel Stakes in March and finishing fourth in the Grade II Risen Star.
No. 4 favorite Samraat won his first five races until placing second in the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct in his last race while No. 5 favorite Dance with Fate is another California-bred horse that recently won the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland the last time out. Racing bettors should know however, that Dance With Fate hasn’t performed well on dirt in the past
Kentucky Derby Facts
Did You Know that no California-bred horse has won the Derby in a whopping 52 years?
Kentucky Derby Trivia!
Can you name all three California-bred horses to win the Kentucky Derby and the year in which they did so? Answer Below!
Kentucky Derby Trivia Answer!
Morvich in 1922, Swaps in 1955 and Decidedly in 1962.