Many people will place bets on Saturday’s 137th running of the Kentucky Derby. It’s fair to say that good portion of those will be doing so on a horse race for the only time this year. But hey, that’s the draw this event has for those that don’t consider themselves to be die-hard horse racing aficionados.
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But while many are hoping to get some ‘inside dope’ on the smartest investment to make, many times the Derby is the ultimate lottery. Many times, despite all of the prognostications and opinions, a horse jumps up from seemingly out of nowhere to win this race. Especially when you consider the number of horses that will launch from the starting gate (20) at Churchill Downs, as opposed to the other two legs of the Triple Crown. Typically, the field dwindles down for the Preakness and the Belmont.
Four of the greatest upsets in Kentucky Derby history have occurred within the previous sixteen races. In 1995, Thunder Gulch was a 24 ½-1 favorite and paid out $51.00 to win. Four years later, the appropriately named Charismatic captured the Derby as a 31-1 pick, paying out $64.60 on a winning ticket.
Then in 2005, Giacomo posted the third biggest reported amount on a win ticket, overcoming a 50-1 pre-race showing to produce $102.60 for the win. And four years after that, Mine That Bird topped Giacomo thanks to 50 ½-1 odds to pay out $103.20.
The all-time biggest long shot to come home occurred way back in 1913 as Donerail won after being listed as a 91 ½-1 listing, paying $184.90 to win.
While there are no horses in this year’s field with that long of odds, here are a few to try if you are into the ‘high risk, high reward’ theory of betting the ponies.
Kentucky Derby Long Shots:
Comma to the Top starts off as a 30-1 proposition, and is coming off an impressive showing at the Santa Anita Derby, one of the biggest pre-Derby tune-up races. Comma to the Top led at Santa Anita wire to wire.
Another horse that narrowly won a major tune-up race is Shackelford, also at 30-1. Shackelford almost pulled a major upset at the Florida Derby, losing at the wire to Dialed In, the Kentucky Derby pre-race favorite.
Animal Kingdom, at 30-1, is also getting considerable upset talk, especially because of solid showings on muddy tracks. Weather could be a big factor for the race. However, jockey Alan Garcia elected to ride Soldat instead of Animal Kingdom, and not usually good for a horse to deviate from the jockey that he most recently ran with.
Finally, Watch Me Go is the biggest long shot in the field at 50-1, and is starting from the 20th and final outside position in the race. The 3-year old finished 17 lengths out in the Illinois Derby.
My long shot pick for this year’s Derby; Comma to the Top. With 13 races under his belt, he is the most experienced contender in this field in terms of races ran.