One entry stands out when reviewing the full field of 20 colts expected to run in the 144th edition of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on Saturday. Justify enters the Derby with question marks, but his three career performances, all coming this year, have been stellar and surpass anything seen from this year’s class of colts. Justify is the morning line favorite and the most likely to land in the winner’s circle on Saturday evening in Louisville.
Should Justify’s lack of experience catch up with him, the biggest threat for the upset is Bolt d’Oro. He finished second behind Justify in the Santa Anita Derby in California, the most recent start for both colts. In an alternate universe without Justify, Bolt d’Oro would be the star of the show this weekend and it won’t take much of a regression from Justify for him to turn the tables on the favorite. Bolt d’Oro has stellar career resume (four wins from six starts), a proven Derby jockey with Victor Espinoza, a versatile running style, and he has value at 8-1 on the morning line. I will put $40 on his nose to win.
I will use the remainder of my $100 bankroll on exacta and a trifecta bets that lean heavily on California’s dynamic duo.
Let’s start with an easy one, I’ll box Justify and Bolt d’Oro in a $10 exacta box for a total of $20. For this ticket to win, Justify and Bolt d’Oro must finish first and second in either order.
For a second exacta ticket, I will key Bolt d’Oro and Justify in the win position and play the following five horses in the second position: Audible along with longshots Free Drop Billy, My Boy Jack, Hofburg, and Solomini.
To win that bet, Bolt d’Oro or Justify must win and one of the other five horses must finish second. This exacta wager has a total of ten possible combinations. I’ll play it for $2 so the bet will cost $20. ($2 x 10 possible combos = $20).
So far, I have invested $40 in a win bet and a total of $40 on two exacta bets. I will use the remaining $20 of my bankroll and play a trifecta, a bet where you must pick the top three finishers. My trifecta ticket will box Justify and Bolt d’Oro in the first and second position and key my five secondary selections in the third position. This wager has a total of 10 possible outcomes. We will play that one for $2 which will result in a $20 total bet ($2 x 10). For this bet to win, Justify and Bolt d’Oro must finish first and second — in either order — and Audible, Free Drop Billy, My Boy Jack, Hofburg, or Solomini must finish third.
How to Ask for the Bet
When it comes to placing the wagers proposed here, it requires some knowledge in the language of betting on horse races. When placing a bet with a live teller at a racetrack or at an off-track betting facility, you need to use the track name, race number, type and amount of the bet, and the program number(s) for the horse(s) you are playing. Another option is to bet the race online which is legal in most states – just do your research to ensure you are betting with a reputable company.
The $40 win bet on Bolt d’Oro is simple…ask for:
“Churchill Downs race 12, $40 to win on the 11.” (The Kentucky Derby is the twelfth race on the program at Churchill Downs on Saturday and Bolt d’Oro is #11 in the program.)
The $10 exacta box with my top two selections would go like this:
“Churchill Downs race 12, $10 exacta box, 7 and 11.” (Total cost of bet = $20)
The other exacta is a bit more complex, we are keying the top two and putting five others in the second position:
“Churchill Downs race 12, $2 exacta, 7 and 11 with 2, 5, 9, 10, 17.” (Total cost of bet = $20)
Finally, the trifecta ticket requires some precise language, ask for it exactly like this:
“Churchill Downs race 12, $2 trifecta, 7 and 11 with 7, 11 with 2, 5, 9, 10, 17.” (Total cost of bet = $20)
My $100 bet this year depends on Bolt d’Oro or Justify winning the race. If they finish first and second, then I’ll have a good day with the possibility of a great day should one of my longshot picks finish third. Good luck!
Click here for a rundown of the average historical payouts on Kentucky Derby betting pools. For a look at all twenty starters for the race, check out the Hello Race Fans 2018 Kentucky Derby Cheat Sheet.
Kevin Martin is the founder of the thoroughbred racing history site Colin’s Ghost.