Lo Duca: My Betting Card for the 2019 Kentucky Derby

Lo Duca: My Betting Card for the 2019 Kentucky Derby article feature image
Credit:

John Velasquez, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Always Dreaming

  • The 2019 Kentucky Derby will begin on Saturday, May 4 at 6:50 p.m. ET on NBC, but there are plenty of races beforehand.
  • Paul Lo Duca shares his betting card for the Derby and 10 undercard races on Saturday.
  • Game Winner (5-1) is the favorite to win the Run for the Roses, but this is a wide-open race and the rain could make it even more unpredictable.

The Kentucky Derby is always special, but this year’s race should be even more fun than normal for bettors, as it’s totally wide open. The favorite was scratched and there’s some weather expected to come in. That means some juicy prices should hit the board, leading to big payouts for those lucky enough to hit the right combinations.

Let’s dive in to what should be a terrific day of racing.

2019 Kentucky Derby Odds

No. 1: War of Will (20-1)
No. 2: Tax (20-1)
No. 3: By My Standards (20-1)
No. 4: Gray Magician (50-1)
No. 5: Improbable (5-1)
No. 6: Vekoma (20-1)
No. 7: Maximum Security (6-1)
No. 8: Tacitus (8-1)
No. 9: Plus Que Parfait (50-1)
No. 10: Cutting Humor (20-1)
No. 13: Code of Honor (10-1)
No. 14: Win Win Win (14-1)
No. 15: Master Fencer (60-1)
No. 16: Game Winner (4-1)
No. 17: Roadster (9-2)
No. 18: Long Range Toddy (30-1)
No. 19: Spinoff (30-1)
No. 20: Country House (30-1)
No. 21: Bodexpress (40-1)


Before we get into the stakes races, here’s what I’m playing in the early races:

For those who aren’t normal horse players, how this works is that I will pick a couple of horses in each race.

For example, in Race No. 1, I like the No. 3 horse. I am playing it “over” the No. 1 and No. 6, meaning I will be playing exactas and trifectas with the No. 3 as the winner and No. 1 and 6 to finish behind him in second and third.

If I list my picks like this — “No. 3, 4, 6” — it means those are the horses who I’m picking to win outright.

Race No. 2
Post: 11:01 a.m. ET
Picks: No. 3, 4, 6

Race No. 3
Post: 11:31 a.m. ET
Picks: No. 1a over No. 4 and 6

Race No. 4
Post: 12:03 p.m. ET
Picks: No. 9 over No. 2 and 4

Race No. 5
Post: 12:35 p.m. ET
Picks: No. 3, 7, 8, 12

Race No. 6: The Humana Distaff Stakes
Post: 1:13 p.m. ET
Picks: No. 7 over No. 2 and 5

The first stakes race of the day features seven fillies and mares traveling seven furlongs. No. 7 Marley’s Freedom (7-5) is the favorite with No. 2 Spiced Perfection (7-2) not far behind. She’s won a pair of Grade II stakes races with Mike Smith and I think she’s the one to beat here considering her great form and cozy draw.

Race No. 7: Longines Churchill Distaff Turf Mile
Post: 2:01 p.m. ET
Picks: No. 6 over No. 7 and No. 9

This should be a pretty open run with No. 6 Precieuse (3-1) as the favorite. I like the Irish filly to win this race, who struggled to break out of the gate — which happens with a lot of European horses — but still took the win her last start. Her speed figures are good and I am happy to use her as the anchor for this race.

Race No. 8: Churchill Downs S. presented by Twinspires.com
Post: 2:45 p.m. ET
Picks: No. 8 over No. 1, 6, 11, 12

I’m having a hard time not picking the favorite No. 8 Mitole (7-2), who comes into this Grade I stakes race on a five-race winning streak. No. 6 Promises Fulfilled (4-1) has won graded stakes races before and is worth a good look but my hope is that one of the bigger prices, No. 1 Do Share (10-1) or No. 11 Uno Mas Modelo (20-1) come in chasing Mitole.

Race No. 9: American Turf S. presented by Ram Trucks
Post: 3:37 p.m. ET
Picks: Playing all

As my colleague Adam Staple noted in his preview, this is a historically tough race to pick. My strategy is simple, I’m going to play the field in my Pick 4 and move on.

Race No. 10: Pat Day Mile S. presented by LG and E and KU
Post: 4:28 p.m. ET
Picks: No. 7 over No. 1, 3, 10

This is a one-turn mile for 3-year-old horses and features some Kentucky Derby hopefuls that couldn’t quite get there. No. 10 Instagrand (6-5) is the deserving favorite and was sensational as a 2-year-old. I could see Instagrand getting even shorter than 6-5, which is crazy in a field this big. Still, the price isn’t worth getting involved with so I’m instead looking at No. 7 Mr. Money (12-1). This is a big step up in class for the Texas-based horse, but his speed numbers are great and he’s worth taking a shot on. He’ll need to come out flying and stay on top to win and I think he can do it. He is my pick of the day.

Race No. 11: Old Forester Turf Classic Stakes
Post: 5:25 p.m. ET
Picks: No. 12 over No. 1, 7, 8

Trainer Chad Brown is a genius on turf races and he’s got the top two morning-line selections for this one in No. 12 Bricks and Mortar (5-2) and No. 2 Raging Bull (5-1). The Chad Brown Exacta will be a pretty popular play, so instead I’m using Bricks and Mortar with a few horses at longer odds and hoping one of them hits the board.

Race No. 12: The 145th Kentucky Derby
Post: 6:50 p.m. ET
Picks: No. 16 over No. 5, 6, 7, 17, 19, 20

All right, time for the big show. I’ll get this out of the way now, even though this race is going to be wide open, it’s hard to pass up No. 16 Game Winner (5-1). You can’t go wrong betting Bob Baffert’s best horse and getting 5-1 on the favorite isn’t bad value at all. I’ll be using both of Baffert’s other horses, No. 5 Improbable (6-1) and No. 17 Roadster (6-1), as well. For bigger shots, I’m zeroing in on No. 6 Vekoma (20-1), No. 7 Maximum Security (10-1), No. 19 Spinoff (30-1) and No. 20 Country House (30-1).