Bettor’s guide to the Kentucky Derby

Animal Kingdom still had plenty left in the tank as he cruised to a Spiral Stakes win last time out.

There are few gambling events in the calendar that provide as much value annually as the Kentucky Derby. First-time gamblers are just as likely to hit the trifecta as track experts.

Each year, 20 horses with wildly different backgrounds, résumés and pedigrees come together for the first time on the same track. No one really knows who can go the distance, who can negotiate a crowded track or who is the fastest horse. It leads to value plays for long shots.

This is why the savvy bettor tries to beat favorites like Uncle Mo and Dialed In. My three favorite long shots on Saturday:

Animal Kingdom (20-1)
Outside of traffic, the biggest issue at the Derby is distance. And out of all the underdogs, Animal Kingdom has the best history of endurance.

Santiva (30-1)
This horse rarely races, but when he does he usually runs big. Could simply be a case of the stable putting all their eggs into the Derby basket. Have to like that strategy.

Shackleford (20-1)
Plenty of problems with consistency, but there’s a ton of upside. After a strong second place at the Florida Derby, you get the feeling his best races are ahead of him.

Bodog prop bets

» Will any horse win the 2011 Triple Crown? 
No, -900. Affirmed was the last to capture it in 1978. It certainly won’t happen this year with an exceptionally weak group of 3-year-olds.

» How many lengths will the Derby winner win by?
Less than 1 length, +135.
With this cluster of mediocre talent, no one will separate. Most horses will struggle with this distance.

» Who will the winning jockey thank first?
Family 2-1, God 3-1, Horse 7-2, Owner 5-1, Trainer 5-1.
Go owner. Even diminutive jockeys know where their bread is buttered.


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