The countdown for the 2018 Kentucky Derby is officially on. Horse racing fans only have one more month to wait, as the first leg of this year’s Triple Crown touches down at Churchill Downs on Saturday, May 5th.
Early reports have the field slowly coming together, with a few favorites emerging and the best 20 horses getting closer to being finalized.
Last year it was Always Dreaming that stole the show, while early 2018 Kentucky Derby odds point to Mendelssohn as the leading favorite at Bovada and some of the other leading horse racing betting sites.
Bovada is certainly one spot to lay down some cash in favor of Mendelssohn and other horses, but it shouldn’t be your last stop.
For safety, wager options, and competitive odds, be sure to take a look at a few options. Our top recommended sites to bet on the 2018 Kentucky Derby are as follows.
In the rest of this post, I’ll take a look at Mendelssohn and the other favorites in a bit more detail, and also assess the top contenders and some interesting sleepers.
All odds that are referenced in this article were taken from Bovada at 2:50 pm CT on 4/4/2018.
These odds may have changed since the time of this writing.
There are numerous spots to bet on the KD this year, but what bettors should look for the most is reliability and an advantage in odds.
Easily the best spot to find the latter is with the favorite to win in 2018.
Mendelssohn is the current horse projected by some sites to win in Louisville, but it’s not alone, and there is some fear that its win at the UAE Derby could keep it from being a legit contender.
There seems to be sound logic against that theory, but it’s absolutely something horse racing bettors need to think about, especially when the race for the top spot seems to be so jammed up.
Mendelssohn may take the cake at Bovada, but Michael Tabor’s prized horse sports the third best Kentucky Derby odds at Sportsbetting.ag, ranking behind the favored Justify and Bolt d’Oro.
Bolt d’Oro takes the top spot at My Bookie (+300), where bettors will find a laundry list of betting options.
Trusted horse racing site Bookmaker.eu is right there with MyBookie.ag, too, backing d’Oro (+485) as its pick to win stage one of the 2018 Triple Crown.
The clear issue here is a lack of an obvious favorite across the board, while regardless of who you like the most up top, no horse is running away with safe odds right now.
The best part about looking at the top favorites right now is the fact that no one horse stands above the pack.
Horse racing experts clearly like Mendelssohn, Bolt d’Oro, and Justify, but three horses splitting up the odds at the top don’t give bettors a lock.
Instead, they potentially break this thing wide open.
You obviously have to keep those three horses in mind. Mendelssohn has built up quite the resume. Not only did Tabor’s colt take first place at the UAE Derby, but it has won three races in a row, including big wins at the Patton Stakes and last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf race.
Justify is a serious threat with two wins in a row, too, but Bolt d’Oro has probably been the more impressive favorite of this trio.
Ruis Racing’s top threat has secured wins in three of its last four races, including big wins at the San Felipe Stakes and FrontRunner Stakes.
Of course, these first three horses aren’t the only realistic challengers for the Kentucky Derby this year.
Bovada also lists Audible (+800) inside their top three, with McKinzie (+800) also being one of the few horses to crack +1000 odds.
Nobody is prepared to ignore Audible, which won the Florida Derby and is absolutely in the mix as a Todd Pletcher favorite. Audible has gained understandable steam with four straight wins, with a second impressive victory going down at the Holy Bull in February.
McKinzie may not come off quite as imposing, but this is another challenger bettors shouldn’t forget about. Bovada is paying respect to this Bob Baffert trainee despite a second-place run at the San Felipe Stakes.
It’s easy to look past a loss to d’Oro at this point, for one, while it’s also hard to quickly dismiss McKinzie’s wins at the Sham Stakes and the Los Alamitos Futurity.
The smart money probably lies with the top favorites and challengers, but things can change greatly over the next month.
There could be a big riser in the Kentucky Derby ranking, horses could pull out due to injury, and/or Vegas could change their stance on how they view certain horses.
Due to the fluidity at hand, a few 2018 Kentucky Derby sleepers (based on odds) could be worth monitoring or even betting on right now.
The following are just a handful of interesting horses to wager on or keep tabs on over the next month:
Quip (+3093 at My Bookie) is an interesting option after having won the Tampa Bay Derby.
Of that group, nobody stands out as an elite value bet more than Noble Indy. Presently ranked second in the KD rankings, Noble Indy is another Todd Pletcher horse that looks like a serious threat after taking home first place at the Louisiana Derby.
This horse has now won three of its last four races and is very much on the map going into next month’s big race. It’s not a favorite right now, but it’s an interesting option teetering between being a contender and a profitable sleeper.
The (possibly) more profitable option of this group is obviously Bravazo, which ranks inside the top 10 for the Kentucky Derby rankings and got attention for a big win at the Risen Star event in February.
The fact that that race saw Bravazo take down a better bet in Noble Indy is one reason why it could be a threat to shock in May.
If you want elite betting value, though, why stop here?
There is an extremely long list of horses at numerous sports betting sites that could still work their way up the ladder. Even a tiny bet on them now could easily end up being extremely profitable if they crack the top 20 spots and land a shocking win next month.
Triple Crown Threat?
Once you start locking down your favorite wager for the first-place finisher at the 2018 Kentucky Derby, you can start thinking about other bets.
That can branch out into different horses placing, how they place and stringing bets together. Another wager that has to do with the KD but isn’t exclusive to it is this year’s Triple Crown.
Your pick for the TC and the KD should really be the same. Figure out who you think can take this first big race and then ask yourself if they have the goods to make a run at the storied Triple Crown.
Of the top options, Bolt d’Oro is the obvious pick.
Just about all of the top horse racing betting sites like this horse the most compared to the rest of the field.
As I’ve noted, the actual leading favorite and the odds are going to change based on which site you use, but when you look across the board, this is the horse that seems to stand ahead of everyone else.
Overall, this still looks like a wide-open race.
Even if you have a horse in mind, placing multiple wagers a month ahead of this race isn’t a bad idea. That gives you some outs, and it also probably gives you the maximum value you’ll find, regardless of who your favorite horse is.
The one suggestion bettors should follow is making sure they’re getting as much bang for their buck as possible, especially if you’re taking on risk with wagers this early. That means searching high and low or the very best odds, while also keeping in mind site reliability.
The sites you see here are some of the very best to bet on the 2018 Kentucky Derby. Now it’s up to you to gauge which horses are worth betting on and to make sure you place money down at the site where the odds offer the most upside.