Horse betting becomes relevant for even the casual fan this weekend with the running of the first jewel of the Triple Crown, the 135th Kentucky Derby.
Last year at Churchill Downs Big Brown galloped past the rest of the field in an impressive win that looked like the beginning of the first Triple Crown in 30 years. Big Brown got it done in the Preakness Stakes, but completely fell apart in the Belmont Stakes to extend the Triple Crown drought.
Before anyone can even talk about a possible Triple Crown winner, we need a Derby winner, and right now the experts and oddsmakers are touting I Want Revenge as the favorite. In his last two races I Want Revenge has put together two solid wins in the Wood Memorial and the Gotham Stakes, both at Aqueduct.
His win in the Wood was very impressive because he started out horribly and had to run down the entire field to earn the win. With that kind of make-up speed and stamina, I Want Revenge is a clear favorite on the horse racing odds at plus-300.
Behind I Want Revenge on the horse racing odds are three horses all tagged at plus-500: Pioneerof the Nile, Dunkirk, and Fresian Fire. Pioneer of the Nile is trainer Bob Baffert’s entry this year and has gone undefeated so far this season with wins in the Santa Anita Derby, San Felipe Stakes, and Robert B. Lewis Stakes, all held at Santa Anita.
If Pioneerof the Nile can stay undefeated at Churchill Downs he would be Baffert’s fourth Derby champion, joining War Emblem (2002), Real Quiet (1998), and Silver Charm (1997).
Like Pioneerof the Nile, Fresian Fire also enters the Derby undefeated. He easily captured the Louisiana Derby earlier this month and also won the Risen Star Stakes and Lecomte Stakes, all held at the Fair Grounds
Dunkirk is famous trainer Todd Pletcher’s best shot at putting an end to his lengthy losing streak at the Derby. Pletcher has started 21 horses at the Derby, but has failed to reach the winner’s circle.
Dunkirk started the season with wins in the Maiden Weight Special and the Allowance Stakes at Gulfstream, but had to settle for second place in his last race, the Florida Derby. Pletcher is also expected to enter Advice in the Derby, but he is a plus-2500 underdog in the racebook.
The favorites in the Derby saw their prospects get a little brighter earlier in the week after Quality Road was forced to withdraw due to injury. A cracked hoof forced Quality Road out, which dropped him off the board from a plus-500 favorite just last week. Quality Road had won his last two races, with victories in the Florida Derby and the Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park.