While the 2019 Kentucky Derby continues to draw near, the horses and their trainers continue their preparations for the big race. Along the way are other races which can shape and reshape the way oddsmakers look at the race.
Game Winner has been the unanimous favorite to win the 2019 Kentucky Derby since his win at the American Pharoah Stakes. But in the most recent oddsboard, there is a new sheriff in town who has taken over the tag as the new betting favorite to win the 2019 Kentucky Derby.
Take a look at the latest oddsboard from Bovada as of 4/11/19:
|Code of Honor||+1400|
|Long Range Toddy||+2000|
|Be My Standards||+2500|
|Plus Que Parfait||+2500|
|War of Will||+2500|
|Win Win Win||+2500|
A New Favorite
Roadster went from a +2000 in our previous article to the top of the oddsboard at +500 after the Santa Anita Derby last April 6, 2019. The Bob Baffert colt won the Santa Anita Derby by half-a-length over stablemate Game Winner and went from being out of the Kentucky Derby to probably being the favorite on race day.
Roadster had not been on the list of early Kentucky Derby favorites after he missed five months of racing due to throat surgery. But after healing up, he returned to action last March 1st to win in an AOC at Gulfstream Park. Then last April 6th, he may have turned a corner.
Three quarters of a mile into the Santa Anita Derby, he looked like he was finished. Then it happened. Jockey Mike Smith called upon the colt to make his move as they headed to the second turn. Roadster seemed to have found another gear, a higher one as he chased down then Kentucky Derby favorite and stablemate Game Winner to win the Santa Anita Derby by half a length. And just like that, Roadster has emerged as the new odds on favorite to win the 2019 Kentucky Derby.
Roadster was purchased for $57,000 by Speedway Stables from from the Stone Farm Consignment to the 2017 Keeneland September Yearling Sale. Bred in Kentucky, Roadster is out of the Silver Ghost mare Ghost Dancing. The son of Quality Road easily won his special weight debut on July 29, 2018, winning by 4 ¼ lengths. Then in his next start, he placed 3rd in the Del Mar Futurity (G1) behind Game Winner and Rowayton. He missed the next months following surgery and returned to action last March 1st.
Tacitus is also another horse on the rise as he’s gone from a -2500 on the previous oddsboard to a +1200 as of 4/11/19. The William Mott trained three year old colt won the Wood Memorial (G2) last April 6, finishing ahead of Tax and Haikal who are also among the Kentucky Derby favorites at +2000 and +2500, respectively in the latest oddsboard. Tacitus has won three straight races after placing 4th in his maiden race.
Like Tacitus, Vekoma was a +2500 in the previous oddsboard but is now at a +1400 after winning the Blue Grass Stakes (G2) at Keeneland. The three year old colt of R.A. Hill Stable – Gastas Stables won his maiden special weight race and the Nashua (G3) last year before finishing third behind Code of Honor and Bourbon War in the the Fountain of Youth (G2) horse race last March 2nd but after beating out Win Win Win and Signalman at Keeneland last April 6, he’s now among the top favorites to win the 2019 Kentucky Derby.
I think the best answer to this question is a name not a horse. That’s because Hall of Fame trainer and five-time Kentucky Derby winner Bob Baffert now has the Top 3 horses in the latest oddsboard. Of course, we talked about Roadster earlier and then he is followed by Game Winner who had been the favorite since January and Improbable, who could shake up the oddsboard and become the favorite himself after this weekend’s Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park.
Since his win in the American Pharoah Stakes (G1) last September, Game Winner had been established as the early Kentucky Derby favorite. Even after he lost the Rebel Stakes last March, everyone was still high on Game Winner. But after back to back losses, he’s slipped a bit and is now #2 on the oddsboard behind Roadster, the new talk of the town. With Roadster zooming to the top, Improbable also slipped from #2 to #3 but as we said earlier, even if the three horses keep on interchanging places in the oddsboard, Bob Baffert is grinning from ear to ear. With the current Top 3 favorites in the 2019 Kentucky Derby, Baffert is poised to tie the great Ben Jones with a record six Kentucky Derby wins.
So who’s our pick now? The 2019 Kentucky Derby field has always been considered as a wide open one and it’s proving that right now. If you ask me now, I’d still go with Game Winner because I am a little concerned about how Roadster has been pushed to do so much in so little time after a five-month break due to surgery. But that’s just me and I know that he’s gotten the needed clearances to run the races he’s ran so far. And yes, he’s in Hall of Fame hands with Baffert and jockey Mike Smith so that shouldn’t be much of a concern. What about Improbable? We’ll see what happens this weekend.
But the fact is that the last five favorites have won the Kentucky Derby so perhaps more than the horse, it’s the designation that’s going to make the difference. I’d still say it’s Game Winner for me. He’s lost back to back races but both were close and he came in second in both. With his pedigree, I have no doubt he will rise to the occasion when the big race arrives. On the other hand, maybe the best tip right now is to pick a Bob Baffert horse and go with the one who is on top of the oddsboard.