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Horse Racing Picks and Analysis: Kentucky Derby | Saturday, 9/5

Ben Rasa

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The Run for the Roses is set to take place for the 146th time as the Kentucky Derby is on tap this weekend at Churchill Downs. Normally this takes place the first Saturday in May, but unprecedented times have us kicking off the Derby in September. Even with no fans, this is the pinnacle of the racing season, and just getting a race feels like a win this year.


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For most people Derby day is an event where you take a few dollars and throw them on a horse just to make the race interesting, so let’s break down the field. The first thing we are going to notice is that Art Collector, who was the second favorite (and my pick to win), has been scratched late, and that changes the entire race. Since horse racing is parimutuel wagering, the odds are going to be continuously changing as we get to post time. Below is each horse and where they currently stand.

Kentucky Derby Field

Post Time: 7 p.m. EST Saturday, Sept. 5 at Churchill Downs

1: Finnick the Fierce, 50-1 – Late scratch, so out of the race

2: Max Player, 30-1 – This horse is interesting, with Ricardo Santana aboard and Steve Asmussen taking over training from Linda Rice. Max Player finished third in both the Belmont stakes and the Travers and has a knack for grabbing a piece of the leaderboard. He, like most horses, has been unable to beat Tiz the Law when it matters, but I still think you need to consider this horse in exotic bets.

3: Enforceable, 30-1 – This is another long shot who should be trying to close late instead of being near the front runners early. Enforceable really doesn’t show much that would lead you to him, but if the pace falls apart he could be gaining late. Problem is with 18 horses the traffic can be brutal, and he needs a perfect trip to get in the mix.

4: Storm the Court, 50-1 – Julian Leparoux is aboard a horse that, unlike Enforceable, should be trying to set the pace. He has shown the ability to pull some big upsets, including the Breeders Cup Juvenile, but it is very hard to think he will get the lead on his own. He should hang in for a while, but ultimately I don’t see him getting into contention when they turn for home.

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5: Major Fed, 50-1 – This is a long shot with James Graham aboard for this race. Last time we saw him was at the Indiana Derby ,where he finished second, but he will need a massive effort to hit the board here. I will say I think this horse has run into some brutal traffic problems in a handful of races, so he’s slightly undervalued even if he is overmatched.

6: King Guillermo, 20-1 – Scratched with a Fever, so unfortunately he is out of the race.

7: Money Moves, 30-1 – This is the unknown horse who has no graded race wins to his resume and comes off a second-place finish at a race in Saratoga. Now he will be up against some big time horses, and that is why he sits at 30-1. I like the combo of Todd Pletcher and Javier Castellano, but the step up in competition cannot be overstated.

8: South Bend, 50-1 – He only got into the race because Art Collector scratched and now will be looking to play spoiler. South Bend should be pressing the lead early, but similar to Storm the Court, it will need to be a career race to hang in late. He finished second in the Ohio Derby and fourth in the Travers, and those are really the top marks on this horse’s resume.

9: Mr. Big News, 50-1 – It would be a monumental upset if Mr. Big News wins the Derby, as I have him behind all the other 50-1 morning-line horses. He doesn’t stand out in any way and will be lucky to even get a call, considering he doesn’t go to the front. He ran sixth in the Blue Grass Stakes, and even that type of finish feels like a unlikely outcome here.

10: Thousand Words, 15-1 – This is a dangerous horse at 15-1. He has been racing out in California and won last time out at the Shared Belief Stakes at Del Mar with a quality 107 speed figure. He has experience in some graded stakes, including a win at the Los Alamitos Futurity back in December of 2019. Florent Geroux is aboard with Bob Baffert training, and if you are looking for an upset pick, this is one to consider.

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11: Necker Island, 50-1 – Here is another horse with basically no chance, as Necker Island will be lucky to even sniff the leaderboard. Third in the Ellis Park Derby and third in the Indiana Derby are the resume highlights, but this is a major step up. Miguel Mena gets the mount and will be looking to pull off one of the truly historic upsets with this horse.

12: Sole Volante, 30-1 – This is a dead closer, so he is pace dependent and needs to find running lanes late. He showed he can get it done back in February at Tampa Bay Downs, winning a G3 Stakes race, but it is always tough for a horse like this to lap the field. If the pace completely falls apart, he will be charging, but so will horses like Max Player and even Enforceable.

13: Attachment Rate, 50-1 – Joe Talamo is aboard with Dale Romans training the 50-1 shot. If you want to find something positive to say about this horse, you can look to his ability to hit the board with five top-three finishes in seven starts this year. The negative is that only one of those was a win, and all of those races were against much less competition. He did show a little something last time out at the Ellis Park Derby where he was second, but he still needs to run the race of his life to be a factor.

14: Winning Impression, 50-1 – He hasn’t been competitive in races like the Ellis Park and Indiana Derbies, and a lot of those same horses are here. That doesn’t bode well, considering we also add in some fantastic California horses and the heavy favorite in Tiz the Law, so Winning Impression will have his hands full here.

15: Ny Traffic, 20-1 – He hasn’t finished worse than third in any start this year, and that included four stakes races. Ny Traffic comes into the race off three straight runner-up finishes, so winning this race may be unlikely, but being part of an exotic certainly is not. He should be towards the front throughout the race and is one of the horses that could be testing Tiz the Law as they turn for home.

16: Honor A.P., 5-1 – This is my second choice in the race now that Art Collector had to scratch, so this is the main challenger to the favorite. Winner of the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby, he hasn’t finished worse than second in any of the five career starts. This is a California horse who has never run outside the state, so that is one factor to consider. Mike Smith has the mount, and he is one of the most experienced riders alive so really no red flags with this one. He should get his shot against the favorite, and we will find out if he is good enough.

17: Tiz the Law, 3-5 – The winner of the Belmont Stakes will look to win the second leg of the Triple Crown and move one step closer to a historic season. Tiz the Law also won the Travers up at Saratoga, so the resume far and away exceeds anyone else in this race. He may go off under even money, which is a historically short price for a Kentucky Derby and a race with 18 horses. There is nothing to knock this horse, and it seems like he is firing on all cylinders. You could argue that horses like Nadal, Charlatan, Maxfield and Art Collector all could be as good or better than him, but not one of them is healthy enough to be in this race. Tiz the Law is the one to beat, and it will take a massive effort to do so.

18: Authentic, 8-1 – The third favorites in this race drew the outside posts, so it will be interesting to see how they are positioned once they break. Authentic is a speed ball who should go to the front cut over to save ground around the turn. Will anyone go with him or can he set reasonable fractions and have enough left in the tank? That is the question you are asking yourself here, and if you think he is the only true speed in the race, he makes a reasonable outright bet or pairing with Tiz the Law in exactas. Personally, I think he will not have the lead by himself, and that will make it much tougher on him in this spot.

Final Thoughts

Unlike last year where the Kentucky Derby was wide open, this is a situation where it is one horse vs the field. Tiz the Law is the heavy favorite, and he should be based off what we have already seen in the Belmont Stakes and the Travers. He will have no problem handling this distance, and if he breaks clean, he is going to be tough to beat. With 18 horses you do have a lot of challengers, and I think Thousand Words or Honor A.P. will at least test him in the stretch. If the pace falls apart, someone like Max Player makes sense. These are the type of horses I will look to build my exacta and trifecta wagers with this week.


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*Ben Rasa (aka Jazzraz)* has been involved with sports and numbers for quite some time dabbling in the poker world , sports wagering and of course finding a home in the DFS world. While he enjoys playing NFL, NCAAF and NBA he has found his best advantage on the links with PGA and the Euro Tour. Jazzraz focuses on GPPs and uses a analytical approach to try and find pricing inefficiencies as well as trying to go against the grain to find those under owned lesser know players that can make the difference in giant field tournaments. You can contact Ben by emailing [email protected].

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