Table of Contents

    By Alex Lauzon from the “Course of Life” podcast

    Derby Weekend is Here

    What an amazing run for us sports fans and degens out there. Just as our sports betting appetite is being filled nicely with NBA and NFL Playoffs, and a much faster MLB product, we’re also gifted the Run for the Roses on the first Saturday in May. How lucky are we?

    The greatest day (and weekend) of the year in Horse Racing is here as the best and brightest three-year-old thoroughbred racehorses on the planet convene at Churchill Downs. Money comes pouring in from owners and teams across the world, fashion is turned up in the most flamboyant ways, and the mint juleps are flowing freely. Now, it’s time for us to dive into the headlining race on Saturday that puts a horse, trainer, jockey, owner, and team into racing immortality. Let’s take down this Kentucky Derby.

    Forte Strong?

    It’s become clear that Forte (3-1) is the going-away favorite leading up to this year’s race and not much will sway that as the week goes along. Forte is essentially your “regular season champion” leading up to the derby, as the horse earning the most points based on finishes in races leading up to the Big One. Unfortunately, like in other sports, the regular season title does NOT carry over to playoff success automatically. It’s been nine years since California Chrome won the points race and the big race in the same season so that naturally has even the sharpest bettors looking away from the favorite. With that. Let’s break down each horse in the field, and make sense of who could emerge from the pack at the end of 1 ¼ miles around Churchill Downs this Saturday.

    The Derby Field

    #1 – Hit Show

    Odds: 30/1

    Great horse name, not so great odds. Nobody wants posts like this, this will just be a fun name to shout in the intros.

    #2 –  Verifying

    Odds: 15/1

    This horse’s name is all the rage in social media as the blue checkmark is quite the discussion point. Also worth discussing is my love for betting on Jockey Tyler Gaffalione – could be worth a look here as he’s due for a big W.

    #3 –  Two Phil’s                          

    Odds: 12/1

    This horse is getting better with time in the last six months and has a reputation as a closer – one to watch, and your name is Phil this is your pick.

    #4 –   Confidence Game              

    Odds: 20/1

    It’s going to take some serious confidence to bet on this horse. This horse has teased me early at Oaklawn before, but not think they’re around for the entirety of the lap.

    #5 –  Tapit Trice    

    Odds: 5/1

    With a name that’s quite the innuendo, and a consummate pro jockey like Luis Saez, we may have a candidate for the sexiest pick on the board. 

    #6 –   Kingsbarns          

    Odds: 12/1

    Yet another Toss Pletcher horse here in the beef of the draw, I’m not keen on this horse’s durability this time around – maybe later in the Triple Crown if it allows.

    #7 – Reincarnate

    Odds: 50/1

    John Velazquez has been on the back of two of the last six derby-winning horses – Authentic (2020) and Always Dreaming (2017). Now he’s on a bomb of a longshot. If you like Cinderella stories this is your pick.

    #8 – Mage         

    Odds: 15/1

    Will garner some buzz for finishing RIGHT behind Forte at the Florida Derby, so if you’re going with the idea that Mage “almost beat the favorite” there’s your play this Saturday.

    #9 –  Skinner   

    Odds: 20/1

    A sleeper that has the speed to win and comes from a Derby-winning sire (Curlin) – intriguing combo!

    #10 – Practical Move           

    Odds: 10/1

    Ramon Vazquez saddles this mid-field choice that is likely to get stuck in the early madness, not enough of a push to jump out early.

    #11 – Disarm

    Odds: 30/1

    Joel Rosario is on this horse trying for his second Derby win, his last being with Orb in 2013 – can’t believe it’s been a decade already.

    #12 – Jace’s Road        

    Odds: 15/1

    Posts #11 and #12 are historically tough spots to emerge victorious at Churchill, so I’m shying away from this horse as well.

    #13 –  Sun Thunder 

    Odds: 50/1

    Having lived in Texas I have seen the weather rarity that is Sun Thunder – but it’s more likely I see it again on Saturday than this horse winning it all.

    #14 – Angel of Empire         

    Odds: 8/1

    A horse with a winning pedigree that’s winning in the same ways as past derby champions in their lead-up races – a formula for success has this horse on the short list of favorites to win.

    #15 – Forte

    Odds: 3/1

    The talk of the Derby and the clear and pronounced favorite on race week. Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. is given what is likely his best shot at an illustrious Derby victory on a strong horse that I’ve seen do some incredible things at Gulfstream. If you like chalk here’s your pick. 

    #16 – Raise Cain     

    Odds: 50/1

    Frustrating – this horse won’t win and now all we’re stuck with is a craving for Raising Cane’s chicken.

    #17 –  Derma Sotogake   

    Odds: 10/1

    Heading up the International contingent at the Derby, this horse has 4 wins in 8 eight in its young career.

    #18 – Rocket Can          

    Odds: 30/1

    This horse has a bit of juice, but it will need an all-time ferocious start from the outside to ruin the Derby party.

    #19 – Lord Miles

    Odds: 30/1

    I have a soft spot for jockey Paco Lopez as he’s brought home many a pick 3 for me in my days, so if like a wild card play from the edge ride with Paco!

    #20 – Continuar     

    Odds: 50/1

    Well, there’s gotta be one horse at the end, right? The Japanese three-year-old rounds out the field of twenty as a bomb.

    The Plays

    Pickin’ Em’ Straight

    #5 – Tapit Trice

    Exacta Box

    #5 – Tait Trice, #9 Skinner

    The Derby Deets

    Where to watch: Coverage on CNBC and NBC Saturday afternoon, with the Run for the Roses going off somewhere between 6:30 and 7 pm ET.

    Why to watch: It’s the most invigorating two minutes in sports, and the Derby kicks off a fast-paced horse racing championship season in style.

    Purse: $3 million, $1.86 million to the winner

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    About Author

    Alex Lauzon

    Lauzon is a podcast host, live broadcaster, analyst and betting extraordinaire for the Course of Life brand. After earning a degree in broadcast journalism at Quinnipiac University, he worked in ESPN and ESPN radio newsrooms. He has interviewed athletes and celebrities from all walks of life who often love to play golf. When he's not playing golf or talking about the game on Course of Life, Lauzon enjoys time with his wife and dog, checking off the next island vacation destination or counting down the days to the next Dell Match Play in his hometown of Austin, Texas.

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