The first leg of this year’s Triple Crown is upon us come May 7th at Churchill Downs when the 2016 Kentucky Derby finally arrives. It’s easily the most highly anticipated Kentucky Derby in years, specifically because it has the potential to build into a rare back-to-back event.
Early weather reports suggest the leading contending horses will not have to prepare for the slop, as only light showers are expected for Friday, May 6th, and Saturday, May 7th – the day of the 2016 Kentucky Derby – is slated to be 78 and sunny.
That’s certainly the hope for most, as most of the horses in the race prefer a dry and stable track – as do the horse racing enthusiasts taking in the action live. Let’s dive into the odds and see who the top favorites might be for “the greatest two minutes in sports”:
|Nyquist (7/2 odds)||Exaggerator (4/1)||Mor Spirit (7/1)|
|Destin (8/1)||Mohaymen (8/1)||Gun Runner (10/1)|
|Creator (12/1)||Outwork (12/1)||Suddenbreakingnews (12/1)|
|Brody’s Cause (15/1)||My Man Sam (18/1)||Whitmore (18/1)|
|Danzing Candy (20/1)||Mo Tom (25/1)||Lani (28/1)|
|Shagaf (33/1)||Trojan Nation (35/1)||Majesto (40/1)|
|Adventist (50/1)||Cherry Wine (50/1)||Fellowship (50/1)|
|Toms Ready (50/1)||Dazzling Gem (55/1)||Collected (60/1)|
|Laoban (60/1)||Oscar Nominated (60/1)||Discreetness (75/1)|
|Star Hill (85/1)||Unbridaled Outlaw (85/1)||Azar (100/1)|
When considering bets, the first thought going into next weekend is obviously going to be which horse can take first place in this race, as well as whether or not they have the goods to potentially go the distance and sweep the Triple Crown.
At the same time, we’re going to want to watch closely to see if there are key flaws in the winner and if any horses come close that could end up pulling off an upset in either of the next two Triple Crown races.
For now, Nyquist is the clear favorite, as he hasn’t lost. Nyquist runs determined and despite some knocking his long distance ability, he’s fared just fine.
Still, this is a pretty deep field, one that has a strong contender next in line with solid odds. Exaggerator looks like the main threat to Nyquist’s Kentucky Derby title, as he did finish runner-up behind Nyquist at the San Vicente Stakes.
Exaggerator is regarded as a very strong talent that seems to finally be gaining steam and headed in the right direction. Some seem to think Exaggerator would be a borderline lock if the track gets wet, but that shouldn’t take anything away from him being a legit contender on a dry track, either.
Mor Spirit finishes races extremely well and is trained/ridden by some of the best, but some knock his inability to win a major derby prep race. That’s somewhat discouraging, but he could emerge as the first to win the Kentucky Derby without doing so. He has been in the mix for first in every single race dating back to September, finishing at least second in his last seven runs.
Gun Runner (#1 in KD points) is easily one of the other top contendesr to watch in this list. He might even be the best pure bet just because his odds are still good, yet should return a little more on your investment than some of the other leading contenders. Gun Runner rounds the corner well late and is in almost every race up until the end, with just a 4th place finish at the Kentucky Jockey Club being his real blemish.
Destin, Creator and Mohaymen figure to be the scariest horses entering the Kentucky Derby that aren’t necessarily favorites, but have solid odds and could conceivably make some noise. Whether or not they win isn’t necessarily the play here, but if they can keep improving and then state their case to have a shot at winning a different race in the Triple Crown.
Destin has major potential but lacks experience and hasn’t raced in almost two months. Creator doesn’t have any real glaring weaknessess and actually has topped fellow contender Suddenbreakingnews in two straight races. The hype and overall talent just isn’t as juicy in comparison to the other top horses. Mohaymen has been solid, but did not fare well up against Nyquist and really hasn’t topped elite competition in the past. Could this race be too big for him?
A few other sleepers include Outwork, Brody’s Cause and Lani. Not only did all three notch 100+ Kentucky Derby points, but they all cracked the top-10 in the process. Lani has the worst odds of the trio, but with a bigger payoff, could be the more interesting bet.
The 2016 Kentucky Derby is very likely to come down to Nyquist, Exaggerator and Gun Runner. Gun Runner has racked up points and has ran pretty well in most of his races, but that one bad run earlier in the year is going to haunt bettors for sure.
It’s probably going to be down to Nyquist or Exaggerator in the end, and it’s awfully tough to go against Nyquist, just because he’s been so dominant and, well, hasn’t lost yet. A loss is probably coming eventually, as it’s just not normal to see a Triple Crown sweep – not to mention two years in a row. Still, until someone takes Nyquist down, it’s going to be a very difficult horse to bet against. If someone does it, it’s Exaggerator, but for now this is Nyquist’s race to lose.
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