Kentucky Derby 2019: Ranking All 20 Contenders

Kentucky Derby 2019: Ranking All 20 Contenders

Category : News - Thu 02/05/2019 - 04:26 EDT

In spite of all the hoopla surrounding any Kentucky Derby, it’s best to keep a level head and a fair assessment of the race. As someone who handicaps thousands of horse races a year for hobby, entertainment and profit, here’s my ordinal rank of the contenders.

Before I get down to the business of ranking this group 1-20, I want to throw out a few criteria. I'll be listing the contenders mostly based on who has the best chance of winning, but in some cases I may explicitly elevate a runner based on the element of value. With rain in the forecast for Saturday, I'll also give a nod to those runners who have, or seem capable of performing in different track conditions. You'll see the Kentucky Derby Odds 2019 listed parenthetically. Without further ado, let's start with the Bottom 5. 

The Bottom 5

  • 20. Gray Magician (50/1) None of his 8 career starts have been fast enough to put him in the hunt to contend here. He's the first horse I completley throw out of this race. 
  • 19. Cutting Humor (30/1) Sunland Derby winner improved going a mile and an eighth in his last start, but I question the quality of that field, and that effort seems a one-off type performance. 
  • 18. Win Win Win (15/1) Neither of his route races has been fast enough to contend in a race like this, and he'll likely be far back again in the early stages.
  • 17. Master Fencer (50/1) Japan shipper will be outclassed and outgunned at every stage of this race
  • 16. Country House (30/1) This colt appears very one-paced, and will lack the acceleration to get the job done when the serious running begins

The Second Tier 

  • 15. Plus Que Parfait 30/1 UAE Derby winners haven't fared well in the Kentucky Derby and this colt appears no exception. He only beat Gray Magician (my first toss) by three quarters of a length in that event.
  • 14. Spinoff 30/1 Draws poorly for the Derby (19 post) and figures to get a wide and chasing trip around the Churchill oval. Trainer Todd Pletcher hasn't fared well in the KY Derby despite winning in 2017. 
  • 13. Haikal (30/1) Has been at least 14 lengths off the early pace in each of his last two starts, and that's just too much ground to make up in this Derby. 
  • 12. Code of Honor (15/1) This colt is sure to attract a fair amount of wagering attention and will be someone's "longshot play," but I don't think he's fast enough or tactical enough to get the job done. 
  • 11. Long Range Toddy (30/1) I wanted to like this horse, but his Arkansas Derby was exceptionally poor. That was in the slop, but with rain likely this weekend, I can't elevate this horse into the top half. 

On the Outside Looking In

  • 10. Roadster (6/1) Here's the first short-priced horse, I'll dismiss. Breaking wide from the 17-hole will be a big disadvantage and Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith opts to ride the favored Omaha Beach. 
  • 9. Maximum Security (10/1) The unbeaten Florida Derby winner obviously hasn't done a thing wrong to date, but this front-running former claimer will be pressured far more than in any of his previous races while trying to stretch that speed another another eighth of a mile. 
  • 8. Vekoma (20/1) I actually think this guy is a major talent, but he's just too green right now to pull this off. The Bluegrass was a suspect field to boot. That said, the pedigree supports a muddy/sloppy track, so feel free to elevate in such conditions. 
  • 7. Omaha Beach (4/1) The tepid favorite in this year's Derby has made all the right moves, but it's important to note that he's just been good, not great. I think he's actually best on a sloppy track, so that may elevate him again in the right conditions. Lack of value keeps him out of my top five. 
  • 6. By My Standards (20/1) I'm a big fan of betting horses who are on the uptick approaching a big race. This guy has made massive improvements in his last two starts, including the Louisiana Derby win, and could be really dangerous if he takes another step forward. 

The Top 5

  • 5. War of Will (20/1) This was the 4/5 favorite to win the Louisiana Derby before a baffling ninth-place effort. The recent workouts are strong, and if this guy can return to form, I think he can factor here at big Kentucky Derby odds. He's also proven himself on a sloppy track. 
  • 4. Tax (20/1) I love the grinding style here and the value. This guys wasn't beaten all that much in the Wood Memorial and that winner will be my top pick. 
  • 3. Improbable (6/1) Bob Baffert knows how to prepare Derby horses better than anyone, so the next two picks have my full attention. This guy is talented, versatile and takes the blinkers off for the biggest start of his life. Huge shot. 
  • 2. Game Winner (5/1) Could flip-flop positions with Improbable as they look very similar to me on paper. This guy may have a bit more distance in his pedigree, and should be making a big move once they turn for home. 
  • 1. Tacitus (10/1) Super impressed with this colt in every way. The fact that he's listed at a mouth-watering 10/1 on the morning line is a bonus. Everything about Tacitus looks big-time, but he will need a strong pace to better flatter his closing kick. I think he's sitting on his best race. 

See below the top racebooks where you can wager online and choose the best one for you:



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