The Kentucky Derby is a Grade 1 stakes race for three year old thoroughbreds held annually during the first Saturday of May at Churchill Downs in  Louisville, Kentucky. The race is ran over one and a quarter miles with colts and geldings in the race carrying 126 pounds (57kg) and fillies in the race carrying 121 pounds (55kgs).

The Kentucky Derby is also the first leg of the Triple Crown in American horseracing as it precedes both the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes. The race is popularly known as the “Run for the Roses”, which is a reference to the blanket of 554 red roses draped on the Kentucky Derby winner. In the United States, it is also dubbed as the “Most Exciting Two Minutes In Sports” and “ The Fastest Two Minutes in Sports” due to the estimated duration of the race. For horse racing betting tips take a look at our guide.

The Kentucky Derby has been run every year since its first race in 1875. Hence, this year’s installment of the race is the 145th edition of the Kentucky Derby. It will be held on May 3 and 4, 2019 with the big race scheduled for May 4, 2019.

This year’s race will have the highest purse ever in the history of the Kentucky Derby with the Kentucky Oaks scheduled for May 3rd.
As announced by Churchill Downs last January, the purse for the 145th Kentucky Derby will be raised to $3M from the $2M purse since 2005. As a result, the winner of the 2019 Kentucky Derby  will now receive a gargantuan $1.86M in prize money while the 2nd placed finisher will take home $600,000. The 3rd placed horse will earn $300,000 and the 4th place  will walk away with $150,000.

Last year, Bob Baffert’s chestnut colt won the 2018 Kentucky Derby on the way to becoming the 13th Triple Crown winner in the history of American Horseracing. Justify wasn’t just Baffert’s second triple crown winner, he was the famed trainer’s fifth horse to win the Kentucky Derby. This year, Baffert has a couple of early favorites for the 2019 Kentucky Derby. With one month to go before the big race, let’s take a look at who the oddsmakers think will win the race.

“Trophy" The Favorites

Here are the latest odds to win the 2019 Kentucky. Odds taken from Bovada as of 4/9/19:

Horses Odds
Game Winner +600
Improbable +700
Maximum Security +1200
Code of Honor +1600
Omaha Beach +1600
Cutting Humor +2000
Hidden Scroll +2000
Long Range Toddy +2000
Roadster +2000
Anothertwistafate +2500
Bourbon War +2500
By My Standards +2500
Complexity +2500
Global Campaign +2500
Haikal +2500
Win Win Win +2500
Instagrand +2500
Mucho +2500
Nolo Contesto +2500
Tacitus +2500
Vekoma +2500
War of Will +2500

Gary and May West’s champion 2-year old Game Winner is the odds-on-favorite to win this year’s edition of the Kentucky Derby. Trained by Hall of Famer and defending five-time Kentucky Derby winning trainer Bob Baffert, Game Winner lost by a nose to Omaha Beach in the Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park last March 16, 2019. The defeat was the first of his career and in his first start of the year Despite that setback, Game Winner produced a Beyer Speed of 96 and is still considered the top favorite to win the race. The sone of Candy Ride is expected to enter the Santa Anita Derby (G1) this Saturday as his last preparation before the Kentucky Derby.

Like his stablemate Game Winner, Improbable was previously unbeaten when his Kentucky Derby schedule was interrupted and he was untimely shipped to Oaklawn Park where he raced in the split divisions of the Rebel Stakes. There, he raced to an early lead before getting caught and ultimately losing to Long Range Todd, Despite the loss, Improbable recorded a Beyer Speed of 95 and prior to that race, he was impressive in winning the G1 Los Alamitos Call Futurity last December 8, 2018.

Based in South Florida, Maximum Security is trained by Jason Servis. The bay colt by New Year’s Day, broke his maiden at Gulfstream last December before winning a couple of events in Florida. Last month, Maximum Security wired the $1M Florida Derby (G1) field and won by 3 ½ lengths. In four career starts, Maximum Security has won by a combined total of 38 lengths.

Code of Honor moved to #3 in the Road To the Kentucky Derby standings after earning 50 points for his victory at the Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream Park last month. William Farish’s homebred sophomore colt debuted at Saratoga last summer and led at every call. Six weeks later, he returned at Belmont Park for a second place finish at the Champagne Stakes (G1).

The improving Omaha Beach held of Kentucky Derby favorite Game Winner to win the Rebel Stakes (G2) at Oaklawn Park to earn his first stakes win. Starlight Racing’s colt Cutting Humor emerged from the Sunland Park Derby (G3) with a hard earned, neck victory under the guidance of John Velasquez. Hidden Scroll turned heads in his career debut at Gulfstream Park last January where he won a one-mile special maiden weight race by 14 lengths.

“Trophy" Who Wins?

Game Winner is a solid favorite given his track record but if  there’s one strike on him, it’s the fact that he is a Breeders Cup Juvenile winner and that trainer Bob Baffert doesn’t have a good history with his Breeders Cup Juvenile winners. Baffert’s last three Breeders Cup Juvenile winners-  Vindication (2002), Midshipman (2008) and New Year’s Day (2013) have missed the Kentucky Derby due to injury.

Another piece of history though, puts him in the same pedestal as a pair of Kentucky Derby winners. Game Winner accomplished the same Grade 1 double recorded by Kentucky Derby winners American Pharoah and Nyquist: the Santa Anita American Pharoah S. (G1) formerly knowns as the FrontRunner and the Del Mar Futurity (G1).

Although he lost in the Rebel Stakes, there are plenty of reasons to believe why he can win the Kentucky Derby. One, he lost by just a nose. Two, the race was his first start in more than four months and that start was a rush decision after the after the San Felipe Stakes, which was supposed to be held at the Santa Anita las March 9, was cancelled due to equine safety issues.

If that defeat is any indication, Game Winner is the kind of horse you want in a Kentucky Derby: resilient. Game Winner fought all the way back from sixth to finish second and that, to me is what impressed me most about him. Sometimes when you run a big race like the Kentucky Derby, all you have to do is just to show up and that’s what this horse does. Prediction: Game Winner

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