Kentucky Derby 144: My Picks

May 4, 2018

The field for the 144th Kentucky Derby is set and as always all eyes of the sports world will be on Louisville, Kentucky for the first Saturday afternoon in May for the annual Run for the Roses.

As I’ve written about plenty already, the Kentucky Derby is a must-attend event. Whether you’re fortunate enough to make it to Churchill Downs or you’re having your own Derby party, it is a very festive day around the Bluegrass State and beyond.

Wagering on the race always makes it fun. For some of you beginners, here is a helpful list of some horse racing betting basics to help get you started.

If you choose to bet some exotics wagers (Exacta, Trifecta, Superfecta etc.), this is the day to do it as the prices are generally high given the fact the field is as large as you’ll see with 20 horses breaking from the starting gate. This three-year old class is as deep in talent as we’ve seen in nearly a decade.

There are easily 10-12 horses in this field which have a legitimate chance to win this race. With so many horses breaking from the gate, anything can happen. Things have to break right for your horse to cross the finish line first more so than any other race. I expect a very fast pace in the race and think the winning horse be one of those that stay just off the pace.

(No. 7) Justify is the morning line favorite at 3-1 and there is plenty to like about him. Given that betting value though and his lack of experience, the Bob Baffert-trained horse will be one I will have light exposure to.

Like last year, I like the Todd Pletcher-trained horse breaking out of the same post position as Always Dreaming did a year ago in (No. 5) Audible. The Florida Derby winner is always a horse I eye and usually include in my exotics and it has paid off historically for me.

The next three horses I like are in this order (No. 11) Bolt d’Oro, (No. 9) Hofburg and (No. 6) Good Magic. My exotics will key these around these horses. My longshot play of the day is (No. 8) Lone Sailor.

I like doing a Tri-Wheel each year that keys a few horses on top with about half the field on the bottom in third place.

I have posted this Tri-wheel on every year since I launched the website in 2003. It has hit five times in those 15 years, including in two of the last three years and just missed last year. During that span the average $1 Tri paid $5232.70. My two best hits came in 2003 (Funny Cide) and 2010 (Super Saver).

In addition to my Tri wheel, I’ve picked the winner eight times in 15 years and had the exacta seven times as well.

Let’s see if we can add to the winnings in 2018. Here are my picks:

$10WP – #5 Audible (total $20)

$2 EX Box – #5, #6, #9, #11 (total $24 – you can drop to $1 EX box and only pay $12 for bet)

$1 Tri Wheel
(total $120 – you can drop to down to $0.50 Tri wheel and only pay $60)

#5 Audible / #9 Hofburg / #11 Bolt d’Oro…

#5 Audible / #6 Good Magic / #8 Lone Sailor / #9 Hofburg / #11 Bolt d’Oro / #16 Magnum Moon with…

#5 Audible / #6 Good Magic / #7 Justify / #8 Lone Sailor / #9 Hofburg / #10 My Boy Jack / #11 Bolt d’Oro / #12 Enticed / #16 Magnum Moon / #18 Vino Rosso.

(from my favorite horse racing guru friend @RyanWolking)

Human Distaff (Race 6) -> #8 American Gal

I also asked him if somebody had only $20 to bet on the race, based off the horses he likes what he recommended as the “best bang-for-your-buck” bet. He gave me this:

$1 EX Box
#5 Audible / #6 Good Magic / #8 Lone Sailor / #9 Hofburg / #11 Bolt d’Oro

Follow more of my Derby day action on Twitter @DanClasgens.

Here is a look a the complete field (from


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