2012 Derby Favorites

Why is there no clear favorite for the Kentucky Derby 2012? When it comes to favorites in betting, and especially Kentucky Derby betting, the best horse often isn’t the one that is popular. The most talented horse can be hard to see through the hype. Further obfuscating how to bet on the Kentucky Derby is the jockey and trainer factor. So in 2012 Derby, what horse stands the best chance of winning and how do you pick him?

Everyone loves Bodemeister:

There is something deeply human about wanting to root for the underdog. Bodemeister is even named after his trainer’s son, Bode. Those who would choose to bet on Bodemeister as the possible winner of the Kentucky Derby seem to want their Kentucky Derby betting to be about more than the most talented horse. Bodemeister has only had 2 runs, or races. Both are very recent being in March and April respectively. His first race was at San Felipe, and if you’ve seen it, you’ll see how Bodemeister is a focused and determined horse. He stayed second for most of the time and then took the lead before another Kentucky Derby favorite Creative Cause swung out and booked it to the front. And Bodemeister? He tried, but Creative Cause did a much better job of reserving his energy for the final push.

In the Arkansas Derby Bodemeister dictated the race. Not only did he maintain the lead once he grabbed it, but he absolutely trounced in the last quarter of the run by fending off Secret Circle and any of the other contender’s pushes. It is scary how relaxed Bodemeister seems as compared to the last race. The horse barely even registers that there are others behind him. Once Bodemeister passed the finish line and went to greet the cameras it is great to see the alertness on his face. Almost as if it cost him no big thing to win by 9 lengths.

The problem with Bodemeister being a Kentucky Derby betting favorite is that each of these races showed a completely different horse. The first horse is a talented, but anxious and unsure. The second horse is determined and focused as well as talented. So the question upon which the jury is out is which horse will show up to the Kentucky Derby?

Kentucky Derby look alikes:

While Bodemeister is clearly a standout horse, whats with all these horses that seemingly have similar odds? Dullahan 10/1, Hansen 14/1, Creative Cause 12/1 I’ll Have Another 16/1, Take Charge Indy 16/1, El Padrino 16/1 and Alpha 14/1 are all excellent horses that seem similar to one another.

Obviously we all want to see a perfect horse that wins all of his starts and has impeccable breeding. Nothing less runs in the Kentucky Derby. This year it seems like Kentucky Derby Betting will be intensely open and unknown because of the sheer amount of talent running in 2012. This year, there is no standout competitor who has the absolute best chance of winning the Derby. Creative Cause has bested Bodemeister. The Kentucky Derby favorite, Union Rags, finished third in his last race after being bested by Take Charge Indy. Gemologist only won by a nose against Alpha in his last race.

Getting back to that list of horses, all of them except I’ll Have Another and Went the Day Well have four or more starts. Some, like Creative Cause, have raced up to seven times. None of these horses finished first in all of their races. Moreover, there are situations where a horse with worse odds has more victories than a horse with better odds. For instance, Dullahan is considered to have better odds than Hansen with some books quoting 10/1 over 14/1 respectively. However, Hansen has started four times and has two victories and two second places plus victories over horses with higher odds. Dullahan has five starts with two victories (one last year in October) with placements ranging from 2nd (once) to 3rd (twice) and fourth. How are these horses distinguished from one another in the odds?

The answer is who is jockeying and/or training and whether they have won a Derby before. A trainer with more wins under his belt is going to have better odds for his horse. An experienced and good jockey are not a bad call either. First, let’s look back at the example of Hansen and Dullahan. The trainers have a fairly even amount of wins and neither have had horses win the Kentucky Derby. However, Dullahan’s trainer had a horse from the same stable as Dullahan almost win the Kentucky Derby in 2010, taking third instead. The jockey for Dullahan is Kent Desormeaux who has had three wins at the Kentucky Derby. Compare that to Hansen’s jockey Ramon Dominguez who has been high earning but has not won a derby.

The biggest culprit of these horses getting lumped together in odds is that these horses are all in the air, but some are flying, some are falling, and others are just gliding by. When you watch the previous races, look at the horse who wants to win the most, even if he doesn’t win. Then check his trainer and jockey to see if they’ll utilize the horse to the best of his abilities. Knowing who has the best trainer, the best jockey and trusting your instinct when watching your horse’s previous races is the best way to pick your Kentucky Derby winner.

Published On Apr 27, 2012