Road to the Kentucky Derby Qualifying Series

Road to the Kentucky Derby Qualifying Series

With most of the major horse races in North America in the books for 2018, it's a perfect time to divert your attention to the biggest race of 2019. Of course, I'm referring to the Kentucky Derby. One of the most heavily-wagered upon events anywhere in the world, the Kentucky Derby elicits gambling action from just about everyone with even a passing interest in horse racing. Of course, we don't have to wait until the first Saturday in May to make a bet.

Of the Kentucky Derby’s many charms, the build-up to the event may top the list. It starts in earnest just after the conclusion of the Breeders’ Cup in November and ramps up with the Kentucky Derby Prep Season in late fall and winter, followed by the Kentucky Derby Championship Season in late winter/early spring. 

In 2019, there are 46 races that award official points toward qualifying for the Kentucky Derby (19 in prep season, 16 in championship and 11 designated specifically for Japanese contenders). 

Bettors following the road to the Kentucky Derby can bet online at any of these junctures in the futures market. The appeal of a future wager, of course, is twofold: better odds and bragging rights. While finding great value is the core of any wagering venture, there’s also the allure of seeing into the future before the rest of the wagering public. The latter endeavor makes for spirited banter among those who follow the sport closely and perhaps brings the anticipation of spring during the winter doldrums. 

Betting Tips

2019 KY Derby Future Odds

Generally speaking, the colt that wins the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile takes all the early money. This, however, makes little sense as only two BC Juvenile winners have gone on to win the Kentucky Derby. Street Sense was the first in 2007 and Nyquist duplicated that effort in 2016. 

Bob Baffert is the right trainer to buck trend data though. He broke a 37-year dry spell on the Triple Crown with American Pharoah in 2015 and repeated the task with Justify in 2018. Baffert happens to train 2018 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Game Winner and it seems plausible, if not certain, that Baffert will have a host of other emerging three year-old colts in his barn once the bigger preps begin in 2019. 

Here’s the top 20 betting choices in the futures market for the 2019 Kentucky Derby at the beginning of November:

  1. Game Winner +300
  2. Gunmetal Gray +800
  3. Knicks Go +800
  4. Instagrand +1000
  5. Signalman +1200
  6. Bulletin +1500
  7. Complexity +1500
  8. Dunph +1500
  9. Magic on Tap +2000
  10. Maximus Mischief +2500
  11. Tale of the Union +2500
  12. Code of Honor +3000
  13. Mind Control +3000
  14. Well Defined +3000
  15. Aurelius Maximus +3000
  16. Honcho +4000
  17. U.S. Navy Cross +4000
  18. Cruel Intention +5000
  19. Dueling +5000
  20. Garter and Tie +5000

Mind Control To Win the Kentucky Derby Odds
+3000

Longer shots and closing thoughts

The best and most practical way to approach the futures market is with an open mind. Watch the preps. Take notes. Find value. Personally, I couldn’t accept less than +5000 this early in the game. 

Standard Deviation, currently listed around +7500 at most race betting sites, is the kind of horse that may make a reasonable futures bet. He ran last in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, but you needn’t go back too far to find a KY Derby winner who did the same thing in the Juvenile as Mine that Bird won the race in 2008. 

Standard Deviation has a distance-oriented pedigree that suggests he’ll improve with age and distance. He also hails from a top-class barn with ace conditioner Chad Brown managing the colt’s affairs. 

Searching for a futures bet must be done with an aggressive mindset and some creative thinking as finding a diamond in the rough isn’t easy. 

See below the top sportsbooks where you can wager online and choose the best one for you:

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