2018 Kentucky Derby Power RankingsJosh Bailey
The greatest two minutes in sports is here and it will be a race to remember. This Derby field is being hailed as one of the best ever, which makes it a very intriguing race to bet on. The 144th Kentucky Derby will be run Saturday night at Churchill Downs with an approximate post time of 6:34 p.m. ET.
A full field of 20 horses is scheduled to post in the Derby. Just in case of emergency, Blended Citizen is on the also-eligible. The horse will get the call if one of the 20 horses in the field scratches before Friday at 9 a.m.
Here are my 2018 Kentucky Derby Power Rankings!
- Mendelssohn +570 – I believe by post time this will be the horse to beat. Five straight, nine of the last 18 and seven of the last 11 Derby winners were the post-time favorite. Mendelssohn looked great on the Churchill Downs track when he got out there. Furthermore, the Irish-trained horse is the best and most talented horse in the field.
- Justify +350 – The morning line Derby betting favorite might very well be the most freakishly fastest horse ever to grace the Twin Spires. He is also trained by Bob Baffert. The white-haired Californian has four Derby champions and gunning for another. However, Justify has faced a total of 17 horses total in his three career races. This weekend he has to beat 19 of the top runners in the world in the fastest two minutes in sports.
- Bolt d’Oro +900 – Bolt d’Oro is getting lost in the tier of 2018 Kentucky Derby betting favorites. Don’t be shocked if he wins while Justify and Mendelssohn focus on beating each other. He would have smoked all runners in each of the other Derby preps other than the Santa Anita. He has also looked amazing on the track at the Downs.
- My Boy Jack +1750 – He opened at +3000 to win the 2018 Kentucky Derby. Sharps have tanked the payout to +1750. This horse has the stamina to pass a whole lot of tired horses down the stretch, but will he still be in contention? The 10th post position could be My Boy Jack’s ticket to the roses.
- Good Magic +900 – Good Magic is reigning the 2-year-old champion and the winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. He is coming off a win in the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland in his last prep race. If this horse slips into the middle of the betting odds pack on Derby day, bet big!
- Hofburg +1700 – Why am I ranking a Derby starter who has only ran three races in his whole racing career this high? After all his trainer, Hall of Famer Bill Mott has never had a horse place better than eighth in the Kentucky Derby. But Hofburg has a similar résumé to the 2008 Derby winner. That’s when Big Brown won from the 20th post position while only racing three times before.
- Vino Rosso +1400 – Jockey John Velazquez had his pick of Todd Pletcher barn. He chose Vino Rosso as his best chance for a second consecutive Derby win and a third overall. That makes this horse the smart bet!
- Audible +700 – A great draw position at five puts this horse in contention. A four-race win streak adds the swagger. Is Audible’s win at this year’s Florida Derby a sign of things to come? Each of the last two Florida Derby winners — Always Dreaming last year and Nyquist in 2016 — went on to win the Derby.
- Magnum Moon +825 – He’s 4-for-4 and won the Arkansas Derby. So why am I not ranking Magnum Moon higher? Tough competition and an even tougher post position at No. 16 pushes this horse out of contention in my opinion.
- Lone Sailor +5500 – Five straight post-time favorites have won the Derby in a row. Can long shot Lone Sailor upset the odds? Fifty-to-1 shots have won the Kentucky Derby before. Mine That Bird and Giacomo won the race in 2009 and 2005, respectively. Can Lone Sailor be added to that list?
- Noble Indy +3300 – Todd Pletcher put on blinkers in the Louisiana Derby – and he won. But drawing the 19th post position has sunk this horse’s chances. With little to no early money coming in on Noble Indy, it will take a miracle for this horse to come in the money on Saturday.
- Free Drop Billy +4300 – This horse has one big run in him and it’s not this one.
- Enticed +3300 – The Derby distance will undo Enticed.
- Solomini +2400 – Can the forgotten horse in the Bob Baffert barn win the Derby after placing second in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile? This is one of the times when the question answers itself.
- Flameaway +4500 – There are better options if you are looking to back a long shot.
- Bravazo +6700 – The No. 13 post position requires a more early energy than this horse has to give to come out a winner in the end.
- Instilled Regard +6600 – He has inherited the stamina necessary to go 1 1/4 miles. The challenge will be flashing his speed early enough to get him in position to dominate down the stretch.
- Combatant +7500 – Winless since breaking his maiden in October. Won’t win again here.
- Promises Fulfilled +5500 – Drawing the No. 3 post position will put this horse in the early lead. But that lead will be long gone down the final stretch.
- Firenze Fire +10000 – Breaking from the rail is not going to be easy. It has been 31 years since a horse won from the inside post when Ferdinand did in 1986. Firenze Fire is a closer and could hang back and wait for the traffic in front to shake out. But by then the speed of the favorites put this horse out of the money.