No matter whether you’re an experienced better or a novice, the Kentucky Derby is one of the days of the year when everyone makes a bet. The biggest race day on the U.S. calendar will take place on the second Saturday in May this year, and a talented field of three-year-olds will line up for the race.
However, to ensure that you maximize the Kentucky Derby odds available, assessing the stats and trends from previous editions of the race may be worthwhile. Trends and stats can help pinpoint the best value in the betting markets. This also includes looking at the prep races that the runners this year have followed, as it could be a significant pointer towards a horse that could run extremely well at Churchill Downs.
One of the first points to consider is the recent winners of the opening Triple Crown race, including their starting position, odds, and trainer. The most recent edition was one of the most controversial, as Bob Baffert-trained Medina Spirit won the race, before subsequently being disqualified following a failed drugs test. That meant that Mandaloun won the race for trainer Brad Cox and jockey Florent Geroux.
Last year’s winner came from stall seven, making it the second time in four years that the winner had come from that stall following Justify in 2018. Higher draws have been more successful in recent years, with Authentic and Country House winning from stalls 15 and 19, respectively. The most successful trainer over the past five years has been Bob Baffert, but the Hall of Famer is banned from making entries this year.
With many of the horses lining up in the Kentucky Derby being towards the beginning of their careers, experience is a factor that is important. All 16 previous winners of the race have made between two and four career starts, which means horses that have made more than that have a distinct disadvantage according to the trends. The distance covered on their last run is also an important trend to consider, with 15 of the previous 16 winners having run over at least a mile and a half on their latest start before the Kentucky Derby.
Another important factor is the class that they have been running against, with 15 previous winners having landed a graded prize before the Kentucky Derby. Meanwhile, 14 of the previous 16 winners have also won within their last three starts, and also finished in the first three on their latest start. The terrain is also an important consideration, as 14 of the last 16 winners have made their debut away from the turf.
The most experienced horse racing bettors will tell you that the prep races on the Road to the Kentucky Derby are essential reading. In total, there are 42 races on the prep trail, with all races having different qualifying points on the line. The most lucrative of which are the Blue Grass Stakes, Jeff Ruby, and Wood Memorial Stakes. Many may wait until after all prep races have been completed on April 9th before making their wager, as results can often show trends towards a potential winner of the opening Triple Crown race.
One that is worth watching is the Florida Derby, which has produced 20 previous Triple Crown race winners, including 15 Kentucky Derby winners. Meanwhile, the Santa Anita Derby has been the most successful in recent years, with three of the previous four winners having come through this route. Two of the most prestigious races on the Road to the Kentucky Derby are the Wood Memorial and Blue Grass Stakes. However, winners from these races in the Kentucky Derby have been harder to come by, with no horses in the past ten years having landed the opening Triple Crown race following this route.