Best Trifecta Bets for the 2019 Kentucky Derby
The Kentucky Derby was essentially designed for trifecta betting. The trifecta is the perfect combination of winnable yet challenging in this field that can lead to some pretty nice payoffs while keeping the investment reasonable. In 2017, a $2 trifecta bet paid just short of $17,000. Nothing wrong with that. Even last year, when everyone knew Justify was going to win, and the other two top finishers were among the favorites as well, you still got back more than $280 on your $2 bet. Call me a Kentucky Derby geek if you want - and many have - but one of the most fun parts of the seemingly endless lead up to the Derby every year is dreaming up all of the crazy tri bets you could place if you wanted to. Here, then, are the best trifecta bets for the Kentucky Derby in 2019:
Bob Baffert has won two Triple Crowns in the last four years. He has won more Triple Crown races than anyone, and with another Derby win would be tops there as well. He already has five wins in this race. And this year he is absolutely loaded, with his three runners set as the second and co-third favorites according to the money line. Roadster, Game Winner , and Improbable are all very viable potential winners. And their running styles are complementary enough that success for one wouldn't make success for the others difficult. You could do worse than just boxing these three.
It has been a very rough spring for racing in California, but colts based in California have been tearing things up. If you want to improve your chances even more from the last bet, you can also add in favorite Omaha Beach - another California-based runner and the morning line favorite. If you want to go beyond the favorites but stay on the left coast, you can add in Gray Magician, the long shot Californian.
Winners of major prep races
The winners of the major prep races - the ones that give 100 Derby points to the winners - have won the last seven editions of the Kentucky Derby. Last year this combination included the trifecta. To bet on those winners this year, you would have to include Tacitus (Wood), Omaha Beach (Arkansas), Vekoma (Blue Grass), Roadster (Santa Anita), Plus Que Parfait (UAE), By My Standards (Louisiana), and Maximum Security (Florida). If you want to slim down the cost a little bit to lessen your risk, you could drop the By My Standards (Louisiana Derby winners have only won the Derby twice, and not since Grindstone in 1996) and Plus Que Parfait (UAE Derby winners consistently underwhelm).
Sons of Derby entrants
If you are one who believes in the power of genetics, then you could look at horses that are sired by Derby entrants - they have experience in this race running through their blood. There are no Derby winners with sons in the race this year, but five horses have Derby-experienced fathers - Country House (Lookin at Lucky), Spinoff (Hard Spun), Long Range Toddy (Take Charge Indy), By My Standards (Goldencents), and Tacitus (Tapit). Most notably in there, Lookin at Lucky went on to win the Preakness. If you want to go deeper than just sires, the most impressive is Win Win Win - both his grandsire Sunday Silence and his damsire Smarty Jones won both the Derby and the Preakness.
A.P. Indy line
A.P. Indy's breeding is about as good as you can get for the Triple Crown. He's a son of Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew, and his damsire is Triple Crown winner and Derby record holder Secretariat. A.P. Indy won the Belmont himself, sired Preakness winner Bernardini and Belmont winner Rags to Riches, and is the grandsire of three more Belmont winners and a Derby winner. In short, having A.P. Indy in your bloodline is a good thing in this race. If you wanted to box the horses with his blood in their veins, you would have a pretty nice group - Tacitus, Maximum Security, Game Winner, Improbable, Long Range Toddy, and Cutting Humor.
Jose Ortiz and Irad Ortiz Jr. are two of the best jockeys in the world right now and two of the best brothers ever to ride. They are still young and only at the beginning of their careers, but Irad won his first Triple Crown race in 2016 aboard Creator in the Belmont, and Jose won the next year on Tapwrit. Here. Jose is on Tacitus, and Irad is on Improbable - a horse that Jose rode last time out. Both are serious contenders. To fill out a trifecta, you could also include other horses that one of the brothers have ridden somewhere on the road to the Derby. Jose rode Plus Que Parfait to his win in the UAE Derby. Irad was on Maximum Security when he won an allowance by 18 lengths in February. Haikal made his debut in November with Jose in the irons. And Irad was on Win Win Win for his last two starts.
Old guys at the wheel
I could subtitle this 'the horses with jockeys that are older than me'. And, depressingly, there aren't too many. Racing isn't a young man's sport in the way that others are, and guys like Mike Smith prove that you can be at your very best way after you would have been put out to pasture in most sports. Four guys here are verging on ancient and could be combined for a geriatric trifecta bet - Long Range Toddy (Jon Court - 58), Omaha Beach (Mike Smith - 53), Code of Honor (John Velazquez - 47), and Cutting Humor (Corey Lanerie - 44).
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Read more articles by Trevor Whenham
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