Kentucky Derby Cheat Sheet

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Here’s a handy “how to” and analysis for the most exciting two minutes in sports.

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Betting 101-As it pertains to a single race, in this case The Kentucky Derby.

Straight Bets

With straight bets, you are betting on one horse to do a specific thing – Win, Place, or Show. Straight bets require a minimum risk of $2. Below are the types of straight bets as well as a brief description of each.  

Win – You win if your horse finishes 1st.  
Place – You win if your horse finishes 1st or 2nd. 
Show – You win if your horse finishes 1st, 2nd, or 3rd.
Across the Board – A win, place and show bet on the same horse.


Exotic Wagering

Some people like to be a little more daring in their betting. Exotic bets offer a chance to turn a small amount of money into a much larger amount of money. 

Exacta – You win if you select the 1st and 2nd place horses in a race in the “exact” order. 
Trifecta – You win if you select the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place horses in a race in the correct order of finish. 
Superfecta – You win if you select the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place horses in a race in the correct order of finish.
Box – An exotic bet where all possible combinations are covered for a group of two or more horses.
Odds-Pari-mutuel betting is in effect, the odds will fluctuate with the wagering public up until the time the gate opens and the race is off and running.


Saturday, May 7 – Kentucky Derby day-(Note: All times ET)
Kentucky Derby coverage: 4-7 p.m.; TV: NBC 
5:05 p.m.: Lady Antebellum sing the national anthem
5:25 p.m.: Riders called to mount their horses
5:27 p.m.: Singing of “My Old Kentucky Home”
6:34 p.m.: The 142nd running of the Kentucky Derby

The weather should be great so no need to worry about slop or mud runners. The track will be Fast and Firm…unlike most of us.


#1 Trojan Nation – 50 to 1 odds
Trainer: Patrick Gallagher. Jockey: Aaron Gryder. Record: 6-0-1-3
Only horse running to not have a first place finish, was all out bouncing in and out in lane, the rail draw doesn’t help. Gate filler.
Who knew? Winning would make him only the fourth horse in the 142 years of the Kentucky Derby to break his maiden (pop his cherry) in the most exciting two minutes in sports.

#2 Suddenbreakingnews – 20 to 1 odds

Trainer: Donnie Von Hemel. Jockey: Luis Quinonez. Record: 8-3-4-0
Has one of the best pedigrees (bloodline) in the Derby, runs smart and is a physical specimen, could be closing strong down the stretch at big odds. First Kentucky Derby for both the owner and jockey which normally doesn’t bode well. His May birthday makes him the youngest horse in the field. 
Who knew? Owned by Texan “Sonny” Henderson who after recovering from luekemia and a heart condition in 2014 purchased the yearling for the bargain price of $72,000.00. *The other nineteen horses cost six to seven figures as babies.

#3 Creator – 10 to 1 odds
Trainer: Steven Asmussen.Jockey: Ricardo Santana Jr. Record: 8-2-4-1.
Post position and style says he will run far back and make one big run traffic permitting. Horse is very familiar with Churchill having trained there for an extended time. Late bloomer had a dream trip in last. Was it the race or the horse?
Who knew? -Creator is the only Derby contender with Peruvian blood. His momma Morena won at the Group ll level in her native country and ran at Churchill Downs later in her career. She obviously hung around the rail and spent a few nights rolling around the Churchill infield, the result of which is #3 Creator. Hey, anyone who’s been to Derby weekend knows about “Louisville Love”.
#4 Mo Tom – 20 to 1 odds
Trainer:Thomas Amoss. Jockey: Corey Lanerie. Record: 7-3-0-3.
Late runner had major excuses (traffic) in last two races that almost prompted a rider switch, cooler heads prevailed as Lanerie rides this track as good as anyone. Redemption? One of two Derby horses owned by Tom Benson of the New Orleans Saints.

#5 Gun Runner – 10 to 1 odds
Trainer: Steve Asmussen.Jockey: Florent Geroux. Record: 5-4-0-0.
First Kentucky Derby for jockey. Only loss came at Churchill as a two year old…the horse, not the jockey. Last Louisiana Derby victor to win the Kentucky Derby was 30 years ago. Long layoff has him flying under the radar, quick horse extremely athletic and capable of being very close to any pace. Traditionally #5 is good post position for victory with a 9.8% success rate.
#6 My Man Sam – 20 to 1 odds
Trainer: Chad Brown. Jockey: Irad Ortiz Jr. Record: 4-1-2-0.
Lightly raced horse with sharp jockey and a budding superstar trainer who is better on turf but due to win a big dirt race if not THE biggest. Pace will determine how this closer finishes. Could be worth keeping an eye on, Sam I am.
#7 Oscar Nominated – 50 to 1 odds
Trainer:Michael Maker. Jockey: Robby Albarado. Record: 7-3-2-0.
Smallish turf horse who has never been on dirt. After lucking into the Derby,  Churchill legendary trainer Ramsey (who has money) sought investors to get into the race. Trainer and jockey are better than the horse. Gate filler.
#8 Lani – 30 to 1 odds
Trainer: Mikio Matsunaga. Jockey: Yutaka Take.Record: 6-3-1-0.
Kentucky bred and Japanese trained. Much like their workforce Japanese horses are well trained, unfortunately he’s also well traveled logging in 4,800 miles to race in Dubai where he won and qualified for a 7,200 mile trip to Churchill. Frequent flyer is long shot for a reason.
#9 Destin – 15 to 1 odds
Trainer: Todd Pletcher, Jockey: Javier Castellano. Record: 5-3-1-0
Trainer Pletcher has won the Derby but is 1-45 doing so. Impressive speed figures (that’s horse sabermetrics to you Fantasy geeks), should be in the right spot pace wise. Long eight week layoff works against his history, distance is an unknown. Third toughest post position, last horse to win the Derby at #9 was back in 1972. April 16th birthday traditionally works against winning the Kentucky Derby-still a baby.
Who knew? Around 90% of all Kentucky Derby winners are born between January and March three years prior. *Horse pregnancies last 11-12 months which means that many of the horses running today are Valentines Day babies.
#10 Whitmore – 20 to 1 odds
Trainer: Ron Moquett. Jockey: Victor Espinoza Record: 6-2-2-1
Won at Churchill as a two-year-old, likes to settle in and make one big run, great blood lines as both his grand dad and grand daddy won the Kentucky Derby back in the day. # 10 post position has the most winners in Kentucky Derby history with an 11.8 % success rate. Jockey Victor Espinoza has won the last two Kentucky Derby’s and hopes to be the first to win three in a row. A hat trick?
#11 Exaggerator – 8 to 1 odds
Trainer: Keith Desormeaux. Jockey: Kent Desormeaux,.Record: 9-4-2-1.
Brotherly love for first time Derby trainer Keith and three time Kentucky Derby winning jockey Kent. Horse owns the career best speed figures in the field with a solid resume under his belt in nine career starts. Will need some luck but has the ability to create a minor upset. “Wonder twins power…form of, the winner’s circle.”
#12 Tom’s Ready – 30 to 1 odds
Trainer: Dallas Stewart.Jockey: Brian Hernandez Jr. Record: 9-1-4-0
Had an early foot injury that slowed his growth, bloodline shows that distance shouldn’t be a problem but his lack of speed might be. One of two horses racing in the Derby that are owned by New Orleans Saints and Pelicans owner Tom Benson. Second toughest post position, last horse to win the Derby at #12 was back in 1971. Tom may not be ready.
#13 Nyquist – 3 to 1 odds
Trainer: Doug O’Neill, Jockey: Mario Gutierrez, Record: 7-7-0-0.
Trainer/ Jockey combo won the Kentucky Derby in 2012. Horse hasn’t lost in his career after racing at different surfaces and distances along the way. The post draw was very kind to him and suits his running style. All systems go for the deserved favorite.
Who knew? The last horse to leave Churchill wearing the roses with his perfect record intact was Big Brown in 2008. Does Nyquist deliver?
#14 Mohaymen – 10 to 1 odds
Trainer: Kiaran McLaughlin. Jockey: Junior Alvarado. Record: 6-5-0-0. 
Impressive bloodline (Tapit) is overdue to bring a Kentucky Derby winner into the family. History has proven that the final prep race before the Kentucky Derby is very important, unfortunately his was flat. Should rebound, just not enough to win. #14 post is THE WORST with the last winner coming back in 1961.
Who knew? Mohaymen is the most expensive horse in the Derby having been bought for 2.2 million as a yearling. With that kind of dough they should’ve bribed someone for a better post position.
#15 Outwork – 15 to 1 odds
Trainer: Todd Pletcher, Jockey: John Velazquez, Record: 4-3-1-0
Both trainer (1-45) and jockey have won the Kentucky Derby before. All speed, will seek the lead and try to hold on. His daddy Uncle Mo has become North America’s hottest first crop stallion. In other words, he’s got some really great “swimmers”.
#16 Shagaf – 20-1 odds
Trainer: Chad Brown, Jockey: Joel Rosario, Record 4-3-0-0
Great jockey and a trainer looking to make his mark. Bernardini bloodline is always a plus but much like his trainer this horse appears to be geared more for turf. Distance shouldn’t be a problem. Hunch bet on a lightly raced sleeper at big odds?
#17 Mor Spirit – 12 to 1 odds
Trainer: Bob Baffert, Jockey: Gary Stevens, Record:7-3-4-0.
Winning combo of legendary trainer who won the Derby last year and three time Kentucky Derby winning jockey aboard. Distance shouldn’t be a problem. Has been the betting favorite in every career start placing second four times, shows up but doesn’t really blow the field or you away.
Who knew? “Mor” translates to “mom” in Swedish. The horse is named in honor of the owner’s feisty 89-year-old mother. Mother’s Day special?
#18 Majesto – 30 to 1 odds
Trainer:Gustavo Delgado. Jockey: Emisael Jaramillo. Record: 6-1-2-2.
First Kentucky Derby for trainer. Final prep race set up nicely for this ridgling who was talented enough to take advantage but probably not talented enough for this field. Gate filer.
Who knew? A “ridgling” is a male horse with one or both testicles undescended. Should he lean to the left during the race you’ll know why. 
#19 Brody’s Cause – 12 to 1 odds
Trainer: Dale Romans. Jockey: Luis Saez. Record: 6-3-0-1.
Ran well previously at Churchill and won, great bloodlines on his daddy’s side, #19 is not the best draw for his running style, may be more of a turf horse (grass) than dirt horse, usually makes one big run and could be charging down the stretch.
Who knew? – Owner is a Des Moines pesticide magnate whose veggies you’ve probably enjoyed.
#20 Danzing Candy – 15 to 1 odds
Trainer: Clifford Sise Jr. Jockey: Mike E. Smith, Record: 5-3-0-0.
Tends to get worked up in a crowded field and may get headstrong. Big horse with baby fat, not sure about the distance. Has Hall of Fame and Kentucky Derby winning jockey Mike Smith on board to nurse him home. 


50 Shades of Gray – There are four gray horses running in the race; #3-Creator, #8-Lani, #9-Destin, and #14-Mohaymen. A gray horse is the equivalent to a “red head” among humans in terms of rarity. A total of eight gray horses have won the Kentucky Derby with the last being Giacomo who romped home at 50-1 odds in 2005. A luck of the Irish bet on a gray horse may be worth your while.
By The Numbers – Lastly you could always find a winner by matching up a horse # to the number of victories of your favorite baseball team. A quick look at the MLB standings shows us that since there are only twenty horses running this rudimentary system may be applied to all teams…all teams that are not located in Chicago that is. To learn more about winning baseball on the north side of town visit

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