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2015 Kentucky Derby Experts Sleeper Picks and Predictions

2015 Kentucky Derby Experts Sleeper Picks and Predictions

Are you ready for May 2?

This coming Saturday, the much awaited clash of boxing titans Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao will finally take place, but there’s another gigantic sporting event happening on that day: the 2015 Kentucky Derby. You’ve probably heard a lot about the favorites at the Derby (and if not you can read more on them in our complete preview). But what about the other contenders?

Below, we’ve listed some of the longer shot horses that some experts nonetheless believe are worth betting on. For more expert opinion, check out our look all the complete experts’ picks for the Kentucky Derby.

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Experts’ sleeper picks for the 2015 Kentucky Derby

Bleacher Report

[sc:horses240banner ]Brian Mazique of Bleacher Report has some ideas for you, in case you want to bet on Kentucky Derby participants not named American Pharaoh and Dortmund, the two favorites. According to Mazique, bettors should take a hard look at Firing Line, Frosted, and Materiality.

For Mazique, Firing Line’s competitiveness in his recent races is indicative of the horse’s chance of finishing not just in the money of the Kentucky Derby, but of winning the event as well. Firing Line, who is +1,800 to win the Kentucky Derby, is coming off a first-place finish in the Grade 3 Sunland Derby stakes last March. In addition, Firing Line hasn’t finished lower than second place since he made his debut in October of last year.

Materiality (+1,000), meanwhile, is also worth bettors’ attention if you ask Mazique. The Bleacher Report feature columnist cites Materiality’s unbeaten record at the tracks, albeit with only one graded stakes participation, as his main reason why the Todd Pletcher-trained horse should be a worthy sleeper pick. Materiality has raced just three times prior to the upcoming Run for the Roses, but he won them all, including a first-place finish in the Grade 1 Florida Derby stakes on March 28.

Unlike Materiality, the Kiaran McLaughlin-trained Frosted is one experienced pony. Frosted has raced in four graded stakes, finishing in the money three times. In his most recent race, Frosted showed his readiness to compete in Churchill Downs when he won the Grade 1 Wood Memorial stakes on April 4. Frosted is priced at +1,800 to win the 2015 Kentucky Derby.

Expert Sleeper Picks
Brian Mazique Firing Line, Frosted, Materiality
Joseph Zucker Itsaknockout, El Kabeir

Joseph Zucker, also of Bleacher Report, meanwhile, has a different list of horses he sees as worthy sleepers for the Saturday’s big race. First on his list is Itsaknockout. After making fun of the horse’s name, Zucker proceeded to mention Itsaknockout’s 3-4 record in competitive races, with only one win coming from a graded stakes race. Itsaknockout finished first in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth stakes on February 21, beating fellow Kentucky Derby sleeper Upstart in the process.  Zucker says Itsaknockout’s chance of winning the Kentucky Derby is remote, but he doesn’t discount the horse’s ability to pull off something special.  Itsaknockout is +2,500 to win at Churchill Downs.

One horse Zucker has a bit more confidence of shocking the field on Saturday is El Kabeir. Priced +3,000 to win the Kentucky Derby, El Kabeir comes into the event on the heels of a third-place finish in the Grade 1 Wood Memorial stakes. But what really gets Zucker’s attention about El Kabeir is the horse’s jockey: three-time Kentucky Derby winner Calvin Borel.

Horse Racing Nation

Horse Racing Nation (HRA), a popular database of horses and an established online hub for racing aficionados, recently released a Top 20 list of competitors for the 2015 Kentucky Derby. Ranked ninth on the list is Upstart, a horse HRA sees as a competitor. HRA believes that Upstart’s (+1,400) natural speed is what makes him a horse to watch out for in Louisville on Saturday.

Expert Sleeper Picks
Horse Racing Nation Upstart, Firing Line

Making an appearance on the list also is Firing Line. As mentioned above, Firing Line has been ultra-competitive in his recent races. Apart from Firing Line’s first-place finish in the Grade 1 Sunland Derby on March 22, HRA also mentions his two outings prior to that win as to why the horse is a worthy sleeper. In those races (Robert B. Lewis-Grade 2 and Los Alamitos Futurity-Grade 1), Firing Line finished second twice, nearly beating Kentucky Derby favorite Dortmund in both events. With a +1,800 price to win the Kentucky Derby, Firing Line is an enticing sleeper to bet on.


The Courier-Journal resident horseracing expert Jennie Rees sure is excited for the upcoming Kentucky Derby. In a lengthy article published on April 27, Rees discussed why each Derby participant would win/not win the event. Among the horses reviewed by Rees is Upstart, a Derby participant she describes as one who “never runs a bad race.” Furthermore, Reese says that Upstart being a grandson of two Belmont winners suggests that distance won’t be a problem for the horse.

Expert Sleeper Picks
Jennie Rees Upstart, Materiality

Materiality, meanwhile, is one participant Rees calls a “serious horse” despite his +1,000 odds to win the Kentucky Derby. Rees states that it’s hard to overlook Materiality given its undefeated 3-0 record. Rees, however, is bothered by Materiality’s lack of racing experience as a two-year old. Considering the fact that the last horse to win the Kentucky Derby without racing as a two-year-old was Apollo in 1882, it’s understandable why Rees isn’t too sold on Materiality.

When you’re ready to bet on the Kentucky Derby, create a free betting account at Top Bet and get the freshest odds and lines for this grand event.

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Written by Rex

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