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144th Running of the Kentucky Derby
Triple Crown Betting Online: Horse racing takes on a life of its own in the Spring. Bettors who don't pay a lick of attention to the Sport of Kings for the entire year all of a sudden try to become expert handicappers for the Kentucky Derby. Each year, the Derby provides great hope for the next Triple Crown winner, and no matter who ultimately wins the race, the question which is immediately asked is if that pony can go on to win both the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes.
The 2018 Kentucky Derby is scheduled for Saturday, May 20. As is the case every year, the action at Churchill Downs can be seen live on NBC.
2018 Kentucky Derby At a Glance
Race Distance: 1 1/4 Miles
Record: 1:59.40 (Secretariat, 1973)
Purse: Approximately $2 million
Qualification: 3-year olds (colts and fillies)
The qualification process just to get into the Kentucky Derby is an extensive one for sure. Horses amass Derby Points over the course of their two- and three-year old seasons, and the ones who ultimately reach at least 40 points or so end up finding their way into the field at Churchill Downs if their connections choose to race them there.
The closer the Kentucky Derby gets, the more Derby Points each race is worth. The biggest races, the Santa Anita Derby, Blue Grass Stakes, Arkansas Derby, Wood Memorial, Louisiana Derby, UAE Derby and Florida Derby are all worth 100 points to the winner and 40 points to the second place finishers, and all of the colts which finish first or second are essentially granted automatic entry into the Run for the Roses.
A maximum of 20 horses run in the Kentucky Derby each year, and for the most part, the slots are always filled, though 2016 was an exception to the rule due to an abnormally high amount of defections the week before the race.
The horses which end up as the favorites to win the Kentucky Derby are the ones which win major Grade 1 races held in March and April. The only exception is the UAE Derby winner who almost always ends up being one of the longer shots on the board. To this day, no horse which won the UAE Derby has come anywhere near winning the Kentucky Derby.
List of Kentucky Derby Winners (Since 2000)
|Year ||Winner ||Odds ||Jockey ||Trainer ||Time|
|2017||Always Dreaming||4.70||John Velazquez||Todd Pletcher||2:03.59|
|2016||Nyquist||2.00||Mario Gutierrez||Doug O'Neill||2:01.31|
|2015||American Pharoah||2.50||Victor Espinoza||Bob Baffert||2:03.02|
|2014||California Chrome||2.50||Victor Espinoza||Art Sherman||2:03.66|
|2013||Orb||5.00||Joel Rosario||Shug McGaughey||2:02.89|
|2012||I'll Have Another||15.00||Mario Gutierrez||Doug O'Neill||2:01.83|
|2011||Animal Kingdom||20.00||John Velazquez||Graham Motion||2:02.04|
|2010||Super Saver||50.00||Calvin Borel||Todd Pletcher||2:04.45|
|2009||Mine That Bird||8.00||Calvin Borel||Bennie Woolley Jr.||2:02.66|
|2008||Big Brown||3.50||Kent Desormeaux||Richard Dutrow||2:01.82|
|2007||Street Sense||4.50||Calvin Borel||Carl Nafzger||2:02.17|
|2006||Barbaro||6.00||Edgar Prado||Michael Matz||2:01.36|
|2005||Giacomo||50.30||Mike Smith||John Shirreffs||2:02.75|
|2004||Smarty Jones||4.10||Stewart Elliott||John Servis||2:04.06|
|2003||Funny Cide||12.80||Jose Santos||Barclay Tagg||2:01.19|
|2002||War Emblem||20.50||Victor Espinoza||Bob Baffert||2:01.13|
|2001||Monarchos||10.50||Jorge Chavez||John Ward Jr.||1:59.97|
|2000||Fusaichi Pegasus||2.30||Kent Desormeaux||Neil Drysdale||2:01.00|
Fastest Times in Kentucky Derby History
|Year ||Horse ||Time|
|1985||Spend A Buck||2:00.20|
Running the Kentucky Derby in anything less than 2:01 or so is really considered to be blazing. Last year's winner of the race, Nyquist only finished up in 2:01.31. That's fast for sure, but it's nowhere near the fastest time in the history of the Derby.
Secretariat holds that mark for sure at 1:59.40. The only horse who truly came anywhere near threatening that mark was Monarchos back in 2001, and his 1:59.97 paled in comparison to what the horse they called Big Red pulled off three decades earlier.
There have only been four examples of three-year olds who have completed the Kentucky Derby in less than 2:01, none of which have come since 2001. Nyquist's 2:01.31 was the fastest Derby finishing time since Funny Cide covered the distance in 2:01.19 in 2003.
Longest Odds To Win the Kentucky Derby
|Year ||Horse ||Odds|
The odds of a horse like Donerail winning the Kentucky Derby again are slim and none, but with the way these prices play themselves out, you really just flat out never know. Though the last three winners of the Run for the Roses were all favorites, history tells you that there are more double-digit dogs who win the race than favorites.
Three different horses have won this race at a price of 50 to 1 or better, two of which have come in the last dozen years.
Most Jockey Wins in Kentucky Derby History
|Jockey ||Kentucky Derby Wins ||Years Won|
|Eddie Arcaro||5||1938, 1941, 1945, 1948, 1952|
|Bill Hartack||5||1957, 1960, 1962, 1964, 1969|
|Bill Shoemaker||4||1955, 1959, 1965, 1986|
|Angel Cordero Jr.||3||1974, 1976, 1985|
|Calvin Borel||3||2007, 2009, 2010|
|Earl Sande||3||1923, 1925, 1930|
|Gary Stevens||3||1988, 1995, 1997|
|Isaac Murphy||3||1894, 1890, 1891|
|Kent Desormeaux||3||1998, 2000, 2008|
|Victor Espinoza||3||2002, 2014, 2015|
It's becoming tougher and tougher for modern jockeys to really have success in a race like this one, but there are a few who are really standing out. Calvin Borel has made a living out of winning the Kentucky Derby with late-charging horses who love running on the rail. However, it's Victor Espinoza who is getting the most run now. He's easily got the most victories in recent history at the Derby with three, and he was beaten in 2016 after winning it in both 2014 aboard California Chrome and in 2015 with American Pharoah.
Most Trainer Wins in Kentucky Derby History
|Trainer ||Kentucky Derby Wins ||Years Won|
|Ben Jones||6||1938, 1941, 1944, 1948, 1949, 1952|
|Bob Baffert||4||1997, 1998, 2002, 2015|
|D. Wayne Lukas||4||1988, 1995, 1996, 1999|
|Herbert Thompson||4||1921, 1926, 1932, 1933|
If you thought it was tough to try to figure out which jockey was going to win the Kentucky Derby year in and year out, trying to pick the trainer is even harder. Of this list of four men who have won the Run for the Roses at least four times, only one is relatively modern in Bob Baffert. Even he has only trained one winner since 2002, that being American Pharoah in 2015.
When Doug O'Neill won the race with Nyquist in 2016, that ended a stretch of 13 consecutive years in which a different trainer won the Kentucky Derby. O'Neill also trained I'll Have Another in 2012.
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2018 Kentucky Derby Contenders