2018 Kentucky Derby Betting Preview: Contenders & Favorites

Posted by Henry Watkins on Monday,April 30, 2018 4:00, EDT in

All the major stakes races are over, and we now know which horses, barring any late scratches, will be running in the 144th Kentucky Derby this coming Saturday, May 5. It is, as always, a loaded field, and you can bet that on their best day, any one of the horses in this group could win it. That said, there are some definite 2018 Kentucky Derby betting favorites who jump off the page, and while I have my pick already in place, I am going to hold off from making any bold predictions until I see the post position draw and get an idea of what the weather will look like this weekend.

A heavy, sloppy track can change everything and open the door for a real longshot. For now, though, let’s look at some of the horse racing betting favorites for this coming Saturday at the Kentucky Derby.

2018 Kentucky Derby Betting Preview: Contenders & Favorites


  • Kentucky Derby Betting Odds: +280

This horse has been on fire this season, going 3 for 3, which may explain why he will likely be atop the board when the morning line officially gets released. Justify is certainly a horse worth looking at, but there is one knock against him that may make you think twice about having him on a winning ticket.

This horse never raced during his 2-year old season, and you need to go all the way back to 1892 to find a horse that skipped that season and still went on to win the Derby.

Magnum Moon

  • Kentucky Derby Betting Odds: +630

It’s easy to forget that the horses in this race are just 3 years old and don’t have a ton of racing experience. Magnum Moon is a perfect 4 for 4 in his career, and while he had a big win at the Arkansas Derby, his performance coming down the stretch was one that you often see in younger horses.

He undoubtedly has a shot this weekend, but he is going to need to be a little more poised to get his nose in front of this bunch.


  • Kentucky Derby Betting Odds: +350

This horse became an instant Derby favorite after crushing the field at the UAE Derby. He is certainly very much on my radar, but you will want to pay attention to how he works out at Churchill Downs during the week. He has already been shipped in from overseas and should have had plenty of time to settle, but you just never know. If he looks good in training this week, I may just be ready to pull the trigger and get him on my winning ticket.

Bolt D’Oro

  • Kentucky Derby Betting Odds: +630

This is a horse that was nothing short of magical in his 2-year old season, but things have not gone quite as well for him this year. He has had a pair of starts as a 3-year old, and lost one of those to the favorite in the Derby, Justify.

Bolt D’Oro is among the 2018 Kentucky Derby Betting favorites.

If he can find a way to get back to the superb form that he flashed in the early stages of his career, he could be one to watch coming down the stretch.

Good Magic

  • Kentucky Derby Betting Odds: +780

This horse punched his ticket into the Derby with a win at the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland. While he was too good for that field, it did look as though he was running out of steam a little at the end, which is not great when you consider that he is going to be asked to go a little longer on Saturday.

Last 20 Kentucky Derby Winners

  • 2017: Always Dreaming
  • 2016: Nyquist
  • 2015: American Pharoah
  • 2014: California Chrome
  • 2013: Orb
  • 2012: I’ll Have Another
  • 2011: Animal Kingdom
  • 2010: Super Saver
  • 2009: Mine That Bird
  • 2008: Big Brown
  • 2007: Street Sense
  • 2006: Barbaro
  • 2005: Giacomo
  • 2004: Smarty Jones
  • 2003: Funny Cide
  • 2002: War Emblem
  • 2001: Monarchos
  • 2000: Fusaichi Pegasus
  • 1999:  Charismatic
  • 1998: Real Quiet