2019 Kentucky Derby Long Shots: Advice and Expert Betting Tips for Value
The Kentucky Derby is, as I write this, still more than a week away. Not all of the horses are in Kentucky yet. The post positions have not been drawn yet. Heck, horses haven't even officially been entered yet. But that doesn't mean that we can't speculate about what could happen.
This is a strange and unique Kentucky Derby. There are a lot of pretty solid horses in the field and a lot of potential winners . But none of those potential winners is unblemished, and it feels like pretty much anything could happen.
Add in the uncertainty of post positions, the fact that several contenders will be looking to run the same type of race, and the general chaos of the Derby, and you have a wide-open and, frankly, confusing Derby.
While we'll leave the breakdown of the top contenders until closer to the race, what we can do is look at the long shots that have a chance. Unlike last year where it was all but impossible to believe that the long shots were relevant, this year the winners could indeed come from among the ranks of horses that could return you 25x your money or more. It is a very wide-open field.
Here are three Kentucky Derby live long shots from where I sit, arranged in descending order of their current futures price from BetOnline:
Country House (+5000): The 'other' horse is often a good angle for long shots, and that fits here. Bill Mott will get most of the attention in this race for Tacitus , one of the top contenders in this deep race. But this is the other Mott horse . Country House is a son of Lookin at Lucky, who won the Preakness after a disappointing sixth as favorite in the 2010 Derby. He was champion at both two and three and has gone on to be a decent stallion. His most relevant horse for our purposes here is Lookin at Lee, who was second in the Derby as a long shot. A second-place finish for Country House would be very useful this year. The colt was a respectable third in the Arkansas Derby last time out. He was no match for Omaha Beach and Improbable, but was best of the rest of the very deep, solid field. The race that stands out, though, is the Risen Star. The horse faced all sorts of trouble early in that race but recovered nicely to make a big move to finish second. Facing issues in the Derby is all but inevitable, but this horse has shown an ability to shake off adversity. He is a deep closer, which means he needs a decent early pace. There is enough speed in this race that things should be honest - or better - early on. And with so many horses looking to make moves from mid-pack, this colt could find an opportunity to swing out past the crowd and move forward in the stretch. I am not convinced he can win, but at this kind of price he doesn't need to in order to be useful. He could be a solid part of exotics strategies.
Spinoff (+3300): I guess that this is the 'other' Todd Pletcher horse, though it's not like people are going to be flocking to Cutting Humor in a big way, either. It just hasn't been Todd's year. This horse got started last summer, but before he could really start to show what he was made of he was injured and forced into a layoff. He came back with a stunning win in a February allowance race and then a second in the Louisiana Derby. He was caught late in that race, which obviously isn't ideal, but there was still some rust to knock off. He is going to want to be a part of the early pace in this one, and if things stay sane up front then he could capitalize and hang around. In that allowance effort, he showed that if he gets comfortable on the lead he's not going anywhere.
Long Range Toddy (+3300): The breeding here suggests that the horse is going to have no issues with the distance. He's bred to run and run and run and run. If you are a golfer, then you know that sometimes there are shots you just have to completely ignore - pretend they never existed. They only deserve a mulligan and no further place in your mind. That's what the Arkansas Derby was for this horse - an ugly mulligan. He ran sixth while posting by far his worst numbers since his early days. It's a concern, but if we look past that then we have a horse that chased down Improbable two back, and one that has been tested by some decent horses in several races. Add up the good breeding, the seasoning, the ability to beat a top Derby contender, and the solid connections, and I like what is being offered at this price.
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Read more articles by Trevor Whenham
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