The 2013 Kentucky Derby is inching closer, as the post position draw takes place on Wednesday evening and the world prepares to start betting this big event in earnest.
While a horse’s stall at the starting gate has historically mattered, I’ll Have Another defied the odds and became the first winner out of the No. 19 spot in the 138-year history of the Run for the Roses.
With that in mind, it’s time to start thinking about some long shot thoroughbreds to bet, irrespective of the draw results. There are some under-the-radar contenders that simply won’t be anywhere near even money on race day, regardless of where they come out of the gate.
Let’s take a look at these high-risk, high-reward betting options.
Odds courtesy of AllHorseRacing.ag.
Oxbow hasn’t had the most decorated career leading up to the Derby, as it took four tries for him to finally claim a victory and he has just two total wins to his name heading into “the most exciting two minutes in sports.”
However, this strong-willed contender has hit the board on an overwhelming percentage of his starts and has been building a strong rapport with jockey Gary Stevens since a poor showing at the Arkansas Derby—their first time racing together.
77-year-old D. Wayne Lukas has been responsible for Oxbow’s training, a Hall of Famer with four Kentucky Derby wins during his long and decorated career in the field.
Lukas is the perfect trainer for this highly competitive horse, as Oxbow will not give up and works extremely hard—sometimes to a detriment—to get ahead of the pack and win the race.
That sort of competitive attitude is underrated in this event, as it takes as much heart as it does speed and endurance to cross the finish line first at Churchill Downs.
Black Onyx: 40-1
At 40-1, there is a lot of value in betting Black Onyx to be adorned with the blanket of roses after the 10-furlong run.
New Jersey-based Kelly Breen took over training responsibilities from Carl Domino after three starts, going 2-2 in that time period, including an impressive victory at the Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati Spiral Stakes that landed him in the 20-horse field on Saturday.
Breen has been honing Black Onyx’s stalking ability, as the thoroughbred is best hanging out just off the lead and taking it to another level down the stretch with elite acceleration.
Joe Bravo, the legendary jockey that is still seeking his first Triple Crown victory after winning over 4,000 races in his career, has a long history with Breen and is a perfect match for this horse.
If Bravo is able to control Black Onyx and entice him to kick it into a second gear after the turn, there’s a good chance this tandem hits the board.
Frac Daddy : 40-1
Frac Daddy is my pick for the best long shot to bet in the 2013 Kentucky Derby.
He’s completely unheralded and doesn’t seem to be generating any buzz as post time draws closer. It’s unfortunate, but that will all change if he comes out of nowhere to win on Saturday.
Back in November of last year, Frac Daddy made a splash by absolutely destroying the competition at Churchill Downs in his second race. However, by the time the Holy Bull at Gulfstream Park rolled around, things started to sour.
The thoroughbred suffered a gash in his leg and finished sixth, followed by the development of throat ulcers that derailed his training schedule for quite some time.
Frac Daddy struggled in his return at the Florida Derby, but rebounded for a second-place finish behind Overanalyze in the Arkansas Derby.
He’s peaking at the right time and has momentum heading back to the old stomping grounds in Louisville, Kentucky. As long as he remains under 30-1, Frac Daddy is a great value for a long shot and should be right in the thick of things when the horses cross the finish line.