Derby Favorites

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The Kentucky Derby usually isn’t a chalky race, but the favorite has won 3 out of the last 5 races. One of the best strategies for wagering on the first Saturday in May is to find a horse that ranges anywhere from 3-1 to 10-1 and key bombs behind him. This will be one of the most wide open events in years, so you will find plenty of value at the window. Let’s take a look at some of the top contenders.

I Want Revenge– Many thought all hope was lost for winning the Wood Memorial after the son of Stephen Got Even totally missed the break. He proved he could overcome trouble by winning that race, and shocked many people at the same time. Jockey Joe Talamo had skeptics before that win, but he proved he could keep a calm head when many jockeys would’ve panicked. I Want Revenge shares the highest BSF of any horse in the race with Quality Road at 113. He earned that number for his effortless 8 ½ length win in the Grade III Gotham Stakes. It is very likely that he will be the morning line favorite, probably around 3-1 or 4-1.

Quality Road– First time lasix can do wonders for a horse as we learned in last year’s Breeder Cup Classic. We learned that lesson again when Quality Road beat a tough field in the Fountain of Youth with the utmost ease. He earned a BSF of 113 for that effort, and shares the honor of highest BSF in the race with I Want Revenge. His next race was even better. The son of Elusive Quality turned back a bid from the favored Dunkirk, and proved to us that he can go the distance. The effort earned him a BSF of 111. Jimmy Jerkens does well with this type of horse, and jockey John Velazquez is among the best in the entire country. I think this colt could be special and he is my personal choice at this moment. He will be the second choice at 4-1 to 5-1.

Pioneerof The Nile– Garrett Gomez rides with ice in his veins, and had his choice from three horses; this is the one he chose. That should mean something to handicappers. The son of Empire Maker has won all three starts this year, including a victory in the Grade I Santa Anita Derby. His trainer Bob Baffert has won the Kentucky Derby a whopping three times in the past twelve years. He likes to close from mid pack, and he hasn’t encountered an overly fast pace as he might in the Derby. I don’t like the fact that he hasn’t cracked a 100 BSF, but he was very sharp in his last win and could be getting better. He couldn’t possibly be in any better hands in terms of jockey and trainer. I’m not too crazy about this one, but he will have PLENTY of support without me. Look for him at odds of around 6-1.

Friesan Fire– The son of A.P. recorded a career best last out en route to a 7 ¼ length romp in the Grade II Louisiana Derby. Many will be concerned with the 7 weeks rest he has coming into the Kentucky Derby, but the same strategy worked for trainer LArry Jones when Hard Spun finished second in 2007. This colt didn’t really impress at two, but has exploded this year. He has three starts, and three wins in 2009. All three came in graded stakes company. How well this colt runs will depend on how he handles the layoff. Jones is among the best with three-year-olds, and has had the runner up in the Kentucky Derby for the past two years. He may finally have his winner with this colt. You can expect to get 8-1 or 9-1 on this runner.





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