The Bettors Edge Early Kentucky Derby Favorites

The start of the 2013 Triple Crown horse racing season is right around the corner with the running of the Kentucky Derby at fabled Churchill Downs on Saturday, May 4. A full field of 20 three-year old thoroughbreds is currently being assembled through a series of prep races that date all the way back to New Year’s Day.

While the final field for the ‘Run for the Roses’ is not quite set, we already know a few of the horses that are favored to win according to Bovada’s futures odds for this event. The following is a brief look at the top three contenders as well as my top value pick with longer odds.


The horse at the top of this list at 4/1 is Verrazano. Trained by Todd Pletcher and ridden by John Velazquez, this three-year old colt will come into the Kentucky Derby undefeated in four previous races including impressive victories in the Grade II Tampa Bay Derby on March 9 and more recently the Grade I Wood Memorial at Aqueduct on April 6.

Currently listed as a 6/1 second-favorite, many of the handicapping experts believe that Orb will be the horse to beat in this year’s Kentucky Derby. This colt did not fare so well as a juvenile with just one win in four tries, but has come on strong as a three-year old with victories in the Grade II Fountain of Youth Stakes and the prestigious Grade I Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park at the end of March. He is trained by Claude “Shug” McGaughey III and ridden by Joel Rosario.

The current third-favorite to win the Derby at 7/1 is Goldencents, who has been considered a top contender all along after posting a stellar performance as a juvenile that closed out the year with a victory in the Grade III Delta Jackpot. Trained by Doug O’Neill and ridden by Kevin Krigger, this colt picked-up where he left off with an early season win in the Grade III Sham Stakes. After a disappointing fourth-place finish in the Grade II San Felipe Stakes, he rose right back up to the top of the field with a huge victory in the Grade I Santa Anita Derby on April 6.

Top Value Pick

There are a number of quality horses in the field with longer odds, but the one you want to keep an eye on come May 4 is Will Take Charge, who is currently listed at 22/1. The end of his juvenile campaign was forgettable with a couple of less than impressive runs, but he quickly reestablished himself as a Triple Crown contender with a win in the Smarty Jones Stakes on Jan.21. He cemented this with a victory in the Grade II Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park on March 16 and has been preparing for the Kentucky Derby ever since. He is trained by D.Wayne Lucas and ridden by Jon Court.