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SportsWatch: 2018 Kentucky Derby: A 139-year-old horse is the key to a winning betting strategy

The box for the 2018 Kentucky Derby is without doubt one of the strongest and most competitive in years, most horse-racing mavens concede. But it may be a horse that was once born in 1879 and won the Derby in 1882 that has essentially the most to mention in regards to the end result this Saturday.

That horse is Apollo. He is the final horse to win the Derby that did not race as a 2-year-old. The so-called Curse of Apollo has become a key handicapping strategy for America’s most famous horse race and this yr holds further importance as a result of neither the early Three-1 Derby favourite Justify nor morning-line 3rd selection Magnum Moon began at age 2.

The 2d selection in the Churchill Downs morning line could also be trying to outrun a curse of varieties. Mendelssohn, who's 5-1, will attempt to become the primary winner of the UAE Derby in Dubai to head directly to win the Kentucky Derby. No horse from that race has ever run better than 5th in Louisville on the first Saturday in May.

Those handicapping angles leave betters with a chance at some giant payoffs should the curses cling. Legitimate contenders which can be just right worth performs include Good Magic, final yr’s juvenile champion, and Vino Rosso, the winner of the Wood Memorial in New York, both at 12-1; Audible, the Florida Derby winner, and Bolt d’Oro, who chased Justify house in the Santa Anita Derby, are both 8-1.

But for quite a lot of reasons that make the Derby unique — these are Three-year-old horses, many calmly raced, being asked to head 1¼ miles, a distance longer than most will ever run once more, in a 20-horse box, the biggest any of them will ever see — you'll still win giant by the usage of a favourite over longer photographs. With 20 horses, bets get unfold around, with exactas routinely paying over $100 for a $2 bet and trifectas steadily running into the four-digit realm. It’s why the Derby is so horny to informal fans.

So do you or don’t you let Apollo affect your bets?

“The Apollo curse is reliable because it’s long past on see you later. But it’s going to head down quickly,” stated Jay Privman, Daily Racing Form’s Triple Crown correspondent, on a webcast handicapping seminar this week. “Justify has more raw ability than any horse in the box. He’s both going to win ... or end 14th.”

Privman, who still has Justify as his best pick out, can be the usage of the colt in exacta, trifecta and superfecta bets with Hofburg, Good Magic and Bolt d’Oro, at the side of a longshot or two who would possibly just motor house past due for a piece of the pie; Flameaway and Enticed would possibly are compatible that bill, he stated.

As a ways as Magnum Moon is going, he could also be in even deeper with the curse.

“I think he’s going to be overbet, much more so than Mendelssohn, and he hasn’t been in any tough races in any respect,” stated Craig Milkowski, the pinnacle speed-figure maker for TimeForm US. “The Arkansas Derby (which Magnum Moon won in his final start) was once a slow tempo. I just don’t have him very speedy. He’s going to need to run a lot sooner early than he ever has.”

Milkowski likes Bolt d’Oro on best with Audible and Justify running 2d and 3rd. Hofburg, My Boy Jack and Solomini appear to be just right candidates to fill out the ground of trifecta and superfecta tickets, he stated.

Mendelssohn could also be the wild card in the having a bet equation. Both Privman and Milkowski are skeptical of his 18-length romp in the UAE Derby in Dubai in past due March. But both admit the colt’s victories in Europe and his world-class connections in instructor Aidan O’Brien and jockey Ryan Moore advantage appreciate.

The author’s ticket
Jamie Rhodes/USA Today Sports
Exercise rider Amelia Green works out Kentucky Derby hopeful Audible at Churchill Downs.

I really like Audible to win this yr’s Derby. His Florida Derby win was once impressive and he made the type of giant run around the flip in that race this is steadily the profitable transfer at Churchill Downs.

“He’s got a superb opportunity, it sort of feels to me. The Florida Derby would possibly were sooner then it gave the impression,” Privman stated. “He’ll be the largest worth of his profession so he's, to me, a horse who can win and if he does you’re going to go back and say, ‘how did he pay $22?’”

“He’s most likely got some more in the tank. He’s not just profitable these races however profitable easily,” Milkowski added. “The horse is really going to must be dealt with right here; he’s versatile and most likely has greater than he’s shown to this point and that's what you want to look in the Derby.”

I’ll miss Justify, Magnum Moon and Mendelssohn and key Audible best and bottom over Good Magic, Bolt d’Oro and Vino Rosso in exactas. I’ll throw in Hofburg and Enticed in the 3rd and fourth spots with the others for trifectas and superfectas.

I’ll also be making an Oaks-Derby double bet (the Oaks, the filly version of the Derby, is administered Friday afternoon) the usage of the 2 favorites in the Oaks, Midnight Bisou and Monomoy Girl, with Derby horses Audible, Good Magic, Bolt d’Oro and Vino Rosso — a $16 ticket for a $2 double.

If the Curse of Apollo is broken this yr, it is going to spoil me (and alter handicapping strategies for future Derbys). Either way, a stiff julep can be order by the tip of the day.

Post time for the Kentucky Derby is set for six:50 p.m. Eastern. It can be televised on Comcast Corp.’s CMCSA, -Zero.93%   NBC.