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2016 Kentucky Derby Predictions, Picks and Preview

2016 Kentucky Derby Predictions, Picks and Preview

It’s time to bet on some ponies! Scratch that. They’re not really ponies per se; they’re the finest thoroughbred colts competing for the 142nd running of the Kentucky Derby.  These are the leanest and meanest running machines in the world. You can’t miss this one hell of a race with plenty of strong and fast horses at Churchill Downs.

Nyquist easily tops the field having won all seven of his career races as the favorite to win the Run for the Roses. But he has plenty of competition if he wants to win the first leg of the Triple Crown. There’s the speedy Exaggerator as well as some excellent closers such as Creator and Mohaymen. Don’t know how to pick the Derby? Read on as we take a look at the top contenders heading into this weekend’s race.

Get everything you need to know heading into the Kentucky Derby with our jockey and horse analysis as well as our feature on experts’ picks and predictions.

Sports News and Predictions

2016 Kentucky Derby Preview


Nyquist (+275)

See all Kentucky Derby betting lines here.

Nyquist is the biggest favorite among the field of 20 horses heading into the Kentucky Derby. It’s not difficult to think about betting on him considering the past two winners were also favored in the Run for the Roses. California Chrome blew away the opposition in 2014, while American Pharaoh won the KD to kick off his Triple Crown-winning campaign last year.


Nyquist is unbeaten in his seven-start career. He’s the first among the 2016 Kentucky Derby field to produce a 100-plus Beyer Speed Rating this year at San Vicente in January. He also has an excellent team behind him with Doug O’Neill and Mario Gutierrez, the 2012 Kentucky Derby winning trainer and jockey respectively. O’Neill is using his two races as a three-year-old strategy that won the Run for the Roses in 2012.

Mohaymen (+400)

See all Kentucky Derby betting lines here.

Mohaymen enters the Derby having won five of his six career starts. He’s sired by the prolific Tapit and is trained by Kiaram McLaughlin. Mohaymen has already faced off against Derby favorite, Nyquist, in the Florida Derby. He finished fourth, trailing the winner by more than eight lengths.

Mohaymen likes to run from behind—not exactly the best of strategies in a 20-horse race—and cut to the outside to blaze past tiring horses. If he gets caught in traffic, he could find himself problems closing in on the leaders. He has also shown a reluctance to fight for running space, regularly conceding position to his opponents. Nevertheless, Mohaymen could win this race if all the factors are right.

Exaggerator (+450)

Exaggerator in action

See all Kentucky Derby betting lines here.

If there’s one horse that could rival Nyquist in this race, it’s Exaggerator. Sired by the 2007 Derby third-placer Curlin, Exaggerator is the only trail horse in the Run for the Roses to post three Beyer Speed Ratings of over 95 in 2016. He had a 98 at the San Vicente Stakes, a 96 at San Felipe and a 103 at the Santa Anita Derby. He also set a high 102 Brisnet Speed Rating at Santa Anita.

Exaggerator figures to be a very good horse when it comes to longer tracks like at Churchill Downs. He lost to Nyquist at San Vicente, but he’ll have three more furlongs to handle in Kentucky. Exaggerator seems to be the horse to be on heading into the Derby. 15 of the past 16 winners had a combined Brisnet and Beyer speed figure of over 95 in their final prep at nine furlong races—Exaggerator’s is 102.5.


Creator (+1,200)

Creator wins an upset at the Arkansas Derby

See all Kentucky Derby betting lines here.

One of the favorites, Exaggerator, tops all the Derby horses when it comes to combined Brisnet and Beyer speed figures. Creator is the next closest colt, but he hasn’t gotten plenty of attention heading into the Run for the Roses.

Creator had a 96 Beyer Speed Figure and a 100 Brisnet Seed Rating for a combined average of 98 in his final nine furlong race. Creator has been extraordinary in his practices this week He runs relaxed and is attentive to what his rider wants. He’s shown a willingness to compete for running space, forcing his opposition to take a step back.

An aggressive horse with incredible speed and a willingness to fight for running space is an excellent pick for the Derby. Creator is a closer, which means that he’ll pick up the pace towards the end of the race. On the 10 furlong stretch of Churchill Downs, Creator has the chance to dazzle and give quite the payday for his backers.

Long Shot

Majesto (+4,000)

See all Kentucky Derby betting lines here.

Not many are taking a look at Majesto. They could be missing out on a huge payday on this long shot in the Run for the Roses. Majesto is bred and trained for the distance, which has him as a potential winner on the 10 furlong Churchill Downs. He’s the son of two-time Breeders’ Classic winner Tiznow.

Majesto has had plenty of experience on nine furlong races, having run three times on races of that length. He most recently finished second in the Florida Derby behind Nyquist. That means a lot, especially considering how he galloped past Nyquist after passing the finish line. Majesto will have one more furlong to get past Nyquist and any of the frontrunners in this race.

Speaking of nine furling experience, Majesto is one of the few horses to have bested the time of 1:50. He joins Nyquist and Exaggerator, two of the favorites, as horses who have run faster than 1:50 for nine furlong races.

Writer’s Prediction

Creator gallops past the early leaders on his way to winning the Run for the Roses.

Your Prediction

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Written by Kevin

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