by Eddie Olczyk
May 4, 2018
Analysis: This year’s Kentucky Derby field is one of the deepest in memory and particularly strong at the top. How else can you explain the reigning 2-year-old champion at 12-1 in the morning line? While there are always some longshots to consider for the exotics in a 20-horse field, the top of this division looks awfully strong. I’ll focus on the winners of the three key preps – the Xpressbet Florida Derby, Santa Anita Derby and Blue Grass.
Main Contenders: Morning line favorite JUSTIFY has been perfect in 3 starts and absolutely can win this even if he has the lightest resume in the field. His talent can overcome a lot of that. If it rains, he’s got a win on a wet track, and I always like to remind horseplayers to keep an open mind to the conditions as they potentially change. AUDIBLE has been outstanding this year, particularly in the Xpressbet Florida Derby at Gulfstream. That’s been a key prep historically for the Kentucky Derby and produced Always Dreaming last year for AUDIBLE’s trainer, Todd Pletcher, who won two-thirds of last year’s Triple Crown. Respect MENDELSSOHN, but I’ll take a pass on him at what should be under-laid odds as the second public choice.
Value Plays: GOOD MAGIC at 12-1 in the morning line jumps off the page. He’s trained beautifully for this, and it appears trainer Chad Brown – who won the Preakness last year for his first Triple Crown race victory – has him peaking back to his championship form at 2. You get the nation’s top trainer and jockey (Jose Ortiz) and a very fair price. Longshot looks go to late-runners MY BOY JACK, VINO ROSSO and HOFBURG as you can typically expect at least one closer to get a piece of the superfecta.
$100 Wagering Strategy
Eddie's Kentucky Derby Picks