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In this image provided by Benoit Photo, Roadster (1), with Mike Smith aboard, overpowers Game Winner, inside, with Joel Rosario aboard, to win the Grade I, $1,000,000 Santa Anita Derby horse race on April 6, 2019.
In this image provided by Benoit Photo, Roadster (1), with Mike Smith aboard, overpowers Game Winner, inside, with Joel Rosario aboard, to win the Grade I, $1,000,000 Santa Anita Derby horse race on April 6, 2019.|Benoit Photo via Associated Press
Thoroughbreds

Kentucky Derby 2019: Game Winner fancied in wide open event     

This year’s Kentucky Derby betting is wide open

By Jordan Vetrone

Published on :

The 145th edition of the Kentucky Derby is just around the corner and promises to be one of the most fiercely fought races of the season.

This year’s Kentucky Derby betting is wide open, with many leading bookmakers offering odds of around 6/1 for the most fancied runners.

The Kentucky Derby is the first race of the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing, alongside the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes.

The race is one of the eagerly anticipated sporting events in the world, with more than 150,000 people expected to be in attendance at Churchill Downs on Saturday, May 4.

Read on as we assess the most fancied runners to win the Kentucky Derby.

Omaha Beach
Trainer Richard E. Mandella has never previously won the Derby, but Omaha Beach has a superb chance of helping him break his duck.

The horse didn’t break his maiden tag until February, but three wins in a row have catapulted him to the head of the betting.

His victory over Improbable in the Arkansas Derby was particularly impressive and jockey Mike Smith’s decision to ride him is an added bonus.

Mandella was extremely bullish about Omaha Beach’s Derby chances after that race and the horse could be hard to keep out of the first three at Churchill Downs.

Roadster
Roadster has improved significantly as a three-year-old and his run in the Santa Anita Derby where he beat Game Winner marked him down as a major contender for the Kentucky Derby.

The horse has bounced back from throat surgery last September to force his way into the Derby reckoning, but Smith’s decision to ride Omaha Beach is a negative.

Trainer Bob Baffert knows what it takes to win the race having claimed it on five previous occasions with Silver Charm (1997), Real Quiet (1998), War Emblem (2002), American Pharoah (2015) and Justify (2018).

However, Omaha Beach’s form looks slightly stronger and Baffert may have a better chance elsewhere in the field to tie Ben Jones’ record of six Derby victories.

Game Winner
Game Winner has finished behind both Omaha Beach and Roadster this season, but it would be foolish to believe he can’t reverse the form in the Derby.

Baffert’s charge was unbeaten as a two-year-old, crowning the season with a gritty victory in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Churchill Downs.

He’s been beaten a nose by Omaha Beach and by a half-length by Roadster this term, but the suspicion remains that Baffert hasn’t had him fully-tuned up as yet.

At odds of around 7/1 and top jockey Joel Rosario aboard, Game Winner appeals as a serious value bet in what looks a very competitive field.