Kentucky Derby Picks 2015: Field Predictions Based on Odds for Churchill Downs

Sean ODonnellContributor IIIMay 1, 2015

Exercise rider Dana Barnes gallops Kentucky Derby entrant Dortmund at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., Friday, May 1, 2015.  (AP Photo/Garry Jones)
Garry Jones/Associated Press

We're only one day away from the 2015 Kentucky Derby, and following the post position draw, bettors placed a flurry of wagers on the race's top contenders. Of course, the end result was Vegas oddsmakers shifting betting lines to compensate for the action each horse was receiving.

Expect this trend to continue right up until post time.

So, what's the advantage of placing early bets? Well, if you're locked in to a particular horse that may garner some heavy attention on race day, placing a bet early will give you better odds for your money, as that contender's price will surely continue to rise.

In an effort to help you decide which horse to back at Churchill Downs, here's a look at the race's updated odds and predictions.

2015 Kentucky Derby Odds

2015 Kentucky Derby Odds, Contenders and Post Positions
1Ocho Ocho Ocho25-1
2Carpe Diem17-2
5Danzig Moon40-1
7El Kabeir33-1
10Firing Line16-1
12International Star22-1
14Keen Ice50-1
16War Story50-1
17Mr. Z50-1
18American Pharoah13-5
20Far Right40-1
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Race odds provided by Odds Shark.

2015 Kentucky Derby Picks

2015 Kentucky Derby Superfecta Prediction
Place18American Pharoah13-5
Show10Firing Line16-1

In the days leading up to the post draw, American Pharoah was the sexy pick to win the 2015 Kentucky Derby. Well, following Pharoah's acquisition of the No. 18 gate, it's easy to like the race's second favorite, as the powerful Dortmund is in great position in gate No. 8.

The eighth position has seen quite a deal of success over the years, producing eight winners since 1930 and two in the past nine years (Barbaro in 2006 and Mine That Bird in 2009). This position suits Dortmund nicely, as he runs little risk of getting caught up in traffic out of the gate, allowing him to easily move to the front of the pack.

If Dortmund can settle in near the front, he'll be able to salvage his stamina while maintaining good pace due to his long legs creating big strides. That will lead to a strong finish capable of holding off any charging competitors coming from behind.

Garry Jones/Associated Press

Speaking of competitors coming from behind, that's exactly what American Pharoah will have to do after starting in gate No. 18. With such an outside position, his options in the beginning of the race will be limited, and he may be forced to settle into the middle of the pack. Unfortunately, that won't sit well with a horse that really likes to be out front.

Pharoah is a graceful horse and can glide at a great pace, saving plenty of stamina for a late-race push. However, if he's forced to run through more traffic than usual, he may not have the energy necessary to move all the way to the front of the pack by the race's end.

Expect a hard charge from Pharoah down the final stretch, as he cruises past the field to finish just behind Dortmund.

Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

Firing Line is a bit of a surprise pick here, but he's set up nicely in the Kentucky Derby. He'll be starting in gate No. 10, a position that has produced nine winners over the years, and will be able to get out in front early due to his advantage of being the last horse to load—spending little time in the starting gate will help the horse remain calm.

This colt already showed he has what it takes to keep up with Dortmund throughout the majority of a race, as the pair went head-to-head in the Robert B. Lewis Stakes and Firing Line lost by a mere head. There's no reason to think the Derby's result will be any different considering his favorable position.

Rounding out the top four is Materiality. This Todd Pletcher-trained horse didn't have the most favorable draw, as he's slated to start in gate No. 3—a position that's a little too close for comfort to the rail. Still, Materiality is known to be excellent out of the gate and should be able to navigate his way out of danger without a problem.

Once out of danger, expect Materiality to use his sprinting speed to move toward the front of the pack, where he should be able to maintain his position throughout the duration of the race. He isn't the strongest closer, however, and that will lead to his fall back to fourth.

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