The official 2020 Kentucky Derby may have been postponed until September 5th, but Churchill Downs refuses to let the 146-year annual tradition of hosting the Derby on the first Saturday of May pass. That’s right, the Kentucky Derby is another addition to the growing number of simulated sporting events taking place while we wait for the COVID 19 panic to subside.
Churchill Downs is officially hosting the first ever virtual Kentucky Derby race this May 2nd and it will be televised live on NBC. The event begins with a rebroadcast of the 2015 Kentucky Derby (which you can’t bet on, obviously) but as soon as the walk down memory lane is done bettors can tune in to bet on the virtual horse race. Instead of featuring the 2020 field, the computer-simulated race will include the 13 past Triple Crown winners. The simulation will employ data algorithms including historical handicapping information about each horse which will ultimately help determine finishing position probability. Next to the real thing, this is about as legitimate as it can get – and you don’t have to monitor daily health/injury reports and rumors about the horses and their jockeys. That means you can start making your wagers today. But first, register to claim your 150% sign up bonus and read our predictions below.
Betting Preview for the Kentucky Derby Triple Crown Showdown Virtual Horse Race on May 2 2020
Where: Churchill Downs, Louisville, Kentucky USA
When: May 2 2020, 3-6 PM ET
TV Broadcast: NBC / NBC Sports
How could Secretariat not be the odds-on-favorite to win? The legendary American Thoroughbred and fastest horse in history boasts the all time Churchill Downs event and track record of 1:59 and two-fifths, progressively running each quarter mile faster than the last. Only one other horse has run the Kentucky Derby under the two-minute mark, which was Monarchos back in 2001 but even so he neglected to beat Secretariat’s record.
It’s important to note that no other horse (aside from Secretariat) competing in the virtual Kentucky Derby has a top ten fastest Kentucky Derby win. The rest of the “field” may be Triple Crown winners but they don’t come close to Secretariat when it comes to Churchill Downs track speed.
American Pharaoh (+200)
Is it a coincidence that the sportsbook/racebook lists American Pharaoh with the second best odds to win this Saturday’s virtual race? He is after all, the winner of the very same 2015 Kentucky Derby that Churchill Downs is broadcasting prior to the simulated event. Virtual weather may also play into a possible American Pharaoh win. It’s expected to be all sunny skies for the eGaming format, which will play better on the NBC broadcast. When American Pharaoh and jockey Victor Espinoza won in 2015 the temperature was balmy and the skies were blue – this may factor into the algorithm.
The most recent Triple Crown winner, Justify, trails behind Seattle Slew (+300) and Affirmed (+400) when it comes to the odds BUT the thoroughbred is the last one on the racebook sheet to feel the dirt under his hooves at Churchill Downs. Does that matter under a virtual settling? The algorithm may think so. Remember that the 2018 Kentucky Derby (which Justify won) field was one of the best in recent memory with nearly all major prep race winners being afforded serious consideration by handicappers. Justify’s Kentucky Derby win was one of the most impressive of last few decades.
Citation was the winner of the 1948 Kentucky Derby. Putting an additional feather in the horse’s cap (or mane) at Churchill Downs was the fact that he won by 3 and-a-half lengths over Coaltown, an opponent who would go on to win Horse of the Year honors. This one one sleeper that may pay solid dividends.
Gallant Fox (+4500)
1930 Kentucky Derby winner Gallant Fox had a short but storied career, racing in just 17 races but winning 11 of them. He won nine of ten in the same year he won the Derby. Remember, the algorithm will be building probabilities based on the horse in their prime and the 1930 version of Gallant Fox is indeed “prime”. Historical records list Churchill Downs track conditions as muddy on the fateful day, so if a surprise wrench (weather) is thrown into the virtual version of 2020 it will work in the horse’s favor. Gallant Fox’s ran the Derby at 2:07.6 and won by two lengths.
There’s no way Secretariat doesn’t win – it’s the feel good story America needs right now. History’s fastest horse wins the 2020 virtual Kentucky Derby, but under his still-standing record at 2:01 and change.
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