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Early 2015 Kentucky Derby Picks, Predictions, and Betting Preview

Early 2015 Kentucky Derby Picks, Predictions, and Betting Preview

May 2 is going to be one heck of a day for sports fans. Aside from the colossal matchup between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao happening on that day, there will also be action in Kentucky when some of the fastest thoroughbreds in the nation congregate in Churchill Downs for the 141st staging of the Run for the Roses. Which colt will take home the first leg of the Triple Crown?

Read on below for our first preview of this year’s Kentucky Derby, which we will continue to cover as the event draws nearer.

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Early Picks, Predictions, and Preview for the 2015 Kentucky Derby

Favorites: American Pharoah, Dortmund

[sc:Other240banner ]It’s not hard to think why American Pharoah is considered the favorite to win this year’s edition of the Run for the Roses. The three-year-old colt is on a roll right now, as American Pharoah is riding a four-race win streak—all of which were Grade 1 stake wins.  In his most recent race, American Pharoah killed it in the Arkansas Derby, as he won by a commanding eight lengths on April 11. It was American Pharoah’s third Grade 1 victory since finishing fifth in his racing debut at the Del Mark racetrack back in August of last year.

Saddled by Bob Baffert, American Pharoah is the Hall of Famer trainer’s best bet to win him his fourth-career Kentucky Derby title. Baffert won the Derby twice in a row in 1997 and 1998 and again in 2002.  Also worth noting is American Pharoah’s jockey, Victor Espinoza, who’ll be gunning for his third Kentucky Derby win after winning the race in 2002 with War Emblem and in 2014 with California Chrome.

American Pharoah, however, isn’t Baffert’s only hope in this race, as the trainer is also in charge of prepping Dortmund for the Kentucky Derby. Like American Pharoah, Dortmund enters the Kentucky Derby on a hot streak, having won all of his past four graded stakes. That includes an easy win in the Grade 1, $1 million Santa Anita Derby, where he finished with a 4¼-length lead.

American Pharoah and Dortmund currently have prices of +450 and +500 to win the Kentucky Derby, respectively.

Sleepers: Carpe Diem, Firing Line

If you’re looking for a horse that can pull the rug out from underneath the favorites, then Kentucky-bred Carpe Diem (+1,400) may be one. Currently third in the Kentucky Derby points standings, Carpe Diem will head to Churchill Downs with two first-place finishes this year. In the three-year-old colt‘s most recent race, Carpe Diem seized the day as he topped the field in the Grade 1 Blue Grass Stakes on April 4.

Firing Line (+1,200), on the other hand, deserves some attention, too, despite having just two first place finishes under his belt. Firing Line, who is coming off a win in the Grade 3 Sunland Derby on March 22, might have even been one of the favorites heading into the Kentucky Derby if not for the two sorry second-place finishes to Dortmund in the Grade 2 Robert B. Lewis Stakes and Grade 1 Los Alamitos Futurity.

Long Shots: Mr. Z, Ocho Ocho Ocho

Mr. Z (+5,000) has finished first just once thus far in his racing career, and that was when he broke his maiden in June of last year. Since then, Mr. Z went on to finish on the board eight times. The Zayat-Stables-owned colt began this year with a third-place finish in the Smarty Jones stakes in January and duplicated the feat a month later in the Grade 3 Southwest Stakes. Mr. Z assured himself of a post in Churchill Downs on April 11, when he finished third again in Grade 1 Arkansas Derby, which was won by American Pharoah.

Ocho Ocho Ocho (+5,000), meanwhile, is looking to recover his once glittering form when he breaks out of his post in Churchill Downs.  Back in 2014, his juvenile year, Ocho Ocho Ocho was among the brightest up-and-comers in the field, as he racked up three-straight first place finishes that included a win in his graded stakes debut in Grade 3 Delta Downs Jackpot. Ocho Ocho Ocho, however, faltered in his next race as he mustered just an eighth-place finish in the Grade 2 San Felipe Stakes.  He showed he’s still got it, though, by finishing third in the Grade 1 Blue Grass Stakes won by Carpe Diem on April 4.

Writer’s Prediction

Dortmund wins and gives Bob Baffert his fourth title in the Derby as a trainer.

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

Sports Betting Tips, News, and Analysis