Even though Bob Baffert-trained Justify never raced as a two-year-old, he is expected to go off as the favorite in the 2018 Kentucky Derby this Saturday at Churchill Downs.
Justify is currently listed at +325 (bet $100 to win $325) on the 2018 Kentucky Derby odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark with Mendelssohn (+450) and Audible (+500) rounding out the top three choices on the board among a field of 20 horses, which is the maximum allowed for the race.
After winning the only three starts of his career as a three-year-old, Justify is hoping to overcome the curse of Apollo, who is the last horse to win the Kentucky Derby without racing at age two way back in 1882. Justify scored triple-digit Beyer Speed Figures in all the races, capping his successful run with a victory in the Santa Anita Derby on April 7.
Justify drew the seventh post position on Tuesday, and only one horse has won from there since 1981, with Street Sense the last to finish first in that spot (2007). Six of the past 10 winners have started from a double-digit post position, including five of the last seven. However, Always Dreaming won the 2017 Kentucky Derby from the five position.
Todd Pletcher-trained Audible will begin from that same spot this year with Mendelssohn starting from the No. 14 position. The winner of the Kentucky Derby has actually started fifth twice in the previous four years while you have to go back to 1961 to find the last time a horse won it from the 14th post.
Baffert has won the Kentucky Derby four times, the last coming three years ago with Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, and Pletcher has won it twice, including last year with Always Dreaming. Mendelssohn's trainer Aidan O'Brien won the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf in 2017 with him and followed that up by taking first in the Patton Stakes and UAE Derby.
Other notable contenders to win the 2018 Kentucky Derby with lower odds include another Pletcher-trained horse in Magnum Moon (+700), Good Magic (+900) and Bolt d'Oro (+1100). Baffert and Pletcher have two more horses with decent odds behind them at +1400 in Solomini and Vino Rosso, respectively. In addition, Pletcher has a fourth horse in the field too, as Noble Indy is the long shot of his group at +2500.
For more odds information, betting picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes or listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com.