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2020 Kentucky Derby Picks: Our Best Bets to Win, Longshots for Exotics, More

2020 Kentucky Derby Picks: Our Best Bets to Win, Longshots for Exotics, More article feature image

Al Bello, Getty Images.

  • The 2020 Kentucky Derby will run Saturday, Sept. 5 after it was postponed this spring due to COVID-19.
  • We've covered our favorite longshots, our best bet to win and more.
  • Get our favorite picks for the Kentucky Derby below.

One of the biggest days on the sports-betting calendar has finally arrived. The 2020 Kentucky Derby will take place at 7:01 p.m. ET on Saturday, Sept. 5, three months and three days after it was originally supposed to take place.

The big question facing bettors at Churchill Downs is do you try and beat Tiz the Law? The No. 17 horse is an odds-on favorite in a 17-horse field and it’s hard to argue against him.

Tiz the Law’s pricey odds have created plenty of big prices across the board, including 12 horses at 30-1 or longer.

With that being the case, our horse racing experts have detailed their favorite win bets (spoiler alert: Tiz the Law is the likely winner) and their favorite longshots for the Derby. They also included their favorite bet on the undercard, which is loaded with stakes races.

How you use these longshots (if at all) is up to you. Maybe you’re feeling froggy and want to put a few bucks on them to pull the upset — hey, we did see a 65-1 winner at Churchill last year — or perhaps you want to go the safer route and play them underneath Tiz the Law in your exactas and trifectas.

Best Bet to Win

Mike Conti

No. 17 Tiz the Law (3-5)

He’s clearly the horse to beat in this field.

Tiz the Law has won four races in a row, including the Florida Derby, the Belmont Stakes and the Travers (all three are Grade I races). Tiz the Law also drew a good post position where he should be able to sit his usual stalking trip and take over on the second turn.

Tiz the Law will be facing some new foes for the first time in Honor A.P. and Authentic, but he’s looked to be too much for just about any horse in his last few starts.

Jack Knowlton and the boys from Sackatoga Stables are looking to make a return trip to the winner’s circle in the Kentucky Derby after winning it with Funny Cide in 2003.

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Jeremy Pond

Tiz the Law

I have ridden the brilliant 3-year-old colt in every major the Kentucky Derby prep race and won’t stop now.

The Barclay Tagg-trained star destroyed all foes on the Derby trail, winning under wraps in the Belmont Stakes, Florida Derby and Travers Stakes in lead-up to the annual “Run for the Roses.”

Expect jockey Manny Franco and Tiz The Law to stalk the leaders before making their patented, sweeping move turning from home, leaving everyone in the Churchill Downs dust.

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Sean Zerillo

Tiz the Law 

I consume a lot of content leading up to big races, and I have never seen a collective group of racing analysts, racing experts, and horse trainers so confident that a horse is winning a major race – save for American Pharoah and Justify before their Triple Crown coronations at Belmont Park.

Matt Bernier –  a strict value player who was one few to call Shedaresthedevil to upset the Kentucky Oaks on Friday ​ – put Tiz the Law’s chances at roughly 70%, implied odds of -233.

Due to the four-month delay, we have so much more information on this group of horses than we would typically have on a Derby field. Tiz the Law has answered all of the questions – especially his ability to get the distance – and his works have been spectacular since his romp in the Travers.

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Favorite Longshot

Mike Conti

No. 2 Max Player (30-1)

It appears there’s going to be a fast, contested pace in this year’s Derby with horses like Authentic, Thousand Words, Money Moves, Storm the Court and Tiz the Law. Honor A.P. and NY Traffic will be close up as well. If the pace is too fast and it melts down late, look for Max Player to sweep up on the outside and pick up the pieces late.

He’s lightly raced, only having run 5 times in his career and he’s improved from a Beyer perspective in each of his starts. He’s also making a barn change to Hall of Famer and Churchill Downs all time leading trainer, Steve Asmussen, who wins at a 19% clip with horses making the first start for his barn.

If he can continue to improve and with the pace set up in front of him, Max Player is a live longshot.

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Jeremy Pond

No. 15 Ny Traffic (20-1)

The best horse to come out of the Haskell Invitational entered in the Derby isn’t Authentic, who won the Grade I race on the Jersey Shore.

It’s Ny Traffic.

Jockey Paco Lopez and his charge just missed nipping Authentic at the wire and would have been in the winner’s circle if the race was another 50 yards.

Trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. has seen his gelding’s speed figures improve the last six times out and this gutsy runner could be sitting on another monster effort. Use in all exotic wagering.

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Sean Zerillo

NY Traffic

I’m fully on board with Jeremy’s choice, Ny Traffic. Outside of Tiz the Law, he has been the most consistently impressive three-year-old horse that I have watched this year, fighting for almost every step of ground in the Risen Star (G-2), Louisiana Derby (G-2), Matt Winn (G-3), and Haskell (G-1), while improving in each outing (82, 89, 95, 101-speed scores). I’ll be keying on him to hit the board in my Kentucky Derby exotics.

[Bet now at Twinspires and get a $250 bonus.]

Favorite Undercard Bet

Sean Zerillo

Race 11: Daily Double: No. 4 Newspaperofrecord (4-5) with Race 12: No. 8, No. 10

4:39 p.m. ET

There isn’t much early speed to contend up front with Newspaperofrecord in Race 11, and the favorite could have her way with this field. The four-year-old filly looks to have rebounded after a down three-year-old season, recording speed figures of 105 and 103 in her last two starts; winning a pair of graded stakes races by a combined seven lengths.

She’s the most likely winner on the day, in my opinion, but her odds figure to be very short. To maximize her value, I’m going to play her in a Daily Double with the No. 8 Serengeti Empress (9-5) and No. 10 Cece (3-1) in Race 12.

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Jeremy Pond

Race 12: No. 8 Serengeti Empress (9-5) to win

5:17 p.m. ET

The 4-year-old filly had been off her form before a stunning August 8th victory in the Grade I Ballerina Stakes at Saratoga Race Course.

Now, she looks for back-to-back wins in $500,000 Grade I Derby City Distaff.

Trainer Tom Amoss has to be optimistic about his star’s chances after she recorded a 105 Equibase speed figure (the second-highest number in her decorated career) in the Ballerina.

Add in the fact Serengeti Empress loves Churchill Downs, site of her 2019 Kentucky Oaks triumph, and you have to love her chances at finding the winner’s circle.

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Mike Conti

Race 13: No. 3 Rock Emperor (7-2) to win

5:50 p.m. ET

In his last two starts, he’s finished second by less than a combined length. He received a 102 and a 100 Beyer figure in his last two starts respectively.

With the amount of pace in here, look for Rock Emperor to sit in a stalking position and Hall of Famer Johnny Velazquez to make one run late.

The Chad Brown trainee will turn the tables and get the win today.

[Bet now at Twinspires and get a $250 bonus.]

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