The 2019 Kentucky Derby is upon us and many will be betting on the biggest horse race of the year for the first time online.
Sports betting is now legal in many areas but you can always bet on the ponies at NYRABets.com.
NYRABets.com and MetroBet have special offers for Derby betting, including a free $25 Derby Win Bet and a $200 new member bonus.
To take advantage of the tremendous offer, go to NYRABets.com/MetroBet.
NYRA Bets offers an app to bet on the Kentucky Derby on your iPhone or Android device. It is the online betting service that brings the best of horse racing across the world right to the palm of your hand. You can bet any track, anywhere, any time with the NYRA Bets app.
Here is a full Derby preview, along with betting advice.
The 145th Kentucky Derby (6:50 p.m. Eastern, NBC) is set for this Saturday at Churchill Downs. The Grade I, 1 1/4-mile event carries a $3 million purse and features 20 three-year-old colts looking for their place in history. The Kentucky Derby goes as Race 12 on a 14-race card. MetroBet takes a look at the top contenders in the 2019 “Run for the Roses” and tells you how to go about betting the big race.
The complexion of the Kentucky Derby changed dramatically on Wednesday afternoon when it was announced that 4-1 morning-line favorite #12 OMAHA BEACH would scratch due to an entrapped epiglottis. He had won his last three starts, including the Rebel Stakes and Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park, and was the selection of Hall-of-Fame jockey Mike Smith over #17 ROADSTER (6-1), the winner of the Santa Anita Derby. His defection means that 2018 Juvenile champion #16 GAME WINNER (5-1) inherits the favorite’s role. He looks vulnerable based on his first two starts of 2019, dropping both the Rebel and Santa Anita Derby, so we’ll look elsewhere for a winner.
#8 TACITUS (10-1) makes just his fifth career start in the Kentucky Derby after visiting the winner’s circle in three of his first four efforts for renowned trainer Bill Mott. He rallied late to take the Tampa Bay Derby off a four-month layoff two starts ago before turning back TAX in Aqueduct’s Wood Memorial. Jose Ortiz, second in last year’s Kentucky Derby with Good Magic, maintains the assignment on TACITUS, who should get a solid pace to work with on Saturday. TACITUS is bred to love going long as he’s by prodigious sire Tapit out of a multiple Grade I-winning mare named Close Hatches.
#5 IMPROBABLE (6-1), like stablemate GAME WINNER, was undefeated at age two but has run into some trouble in his sophomore season, settling for second two straight times. However, he had a legitimate excuse in the Rebel when caught wide on both turns off a four-month layoff. Then IMPROBABLE acted up at the gate in his first start with blinkers in the Arkansas Derby, expending precious energy. He was also forced to make a bid outside eventual winner OMAHA BEACH. Irad Ortiz Jr. picks up the assignment on IMPROBABLE, and though he’s yet to win a Kentucky Derby, he’s widely considered one of the best young jockeys in the country. IMPROBABLE need only take a slight step forward in the speed figure department to be a win candidate here. Shedding the blinkers should help him stay calm in front of a raucous Churchill Downs crowd.
#6 VEKOMA (20-1), like most of the genuine Kentucky Derby contenders, makes his third start of 2019. He was a bit flat when finishing third in Gulfstream’s Fountain of Youth Stakes before taking Keeneland’s Blue Grass Stakes by 3 1/2-lengths. The Blue Grass may not have been the strongest prep run this year, but VEKOMA did what he needed to do. His speed figures are right where they need to be, and his pedigree is solid. VEKOMA’s unusual running style gives the illusion that he’s tiring in the stretch, but that should simply be ignored as nothing more than a quirk. Javier Castellano staying aboard VEKOMA should signal confidence. He and trainer George Weaver have won plenty of Grade Is in their respective careers, but not the Derby.
#2 TAX (20-1) is an intriguing starter for more low-profile connections in trainer Danny Gargan and jockey Junior Alvarado. He’s produced respectable speed figures in his last three starts, all in 1 1/8-mile stakes races. TAX won the Withers to kick off his three-year-old campaign before running a game second to TACITUS in the Wood Memorial. Based on the eye test as well as his pedigree (by Arch out of a Giant’s Causeway mare), it seems that TAX will truly relish the 1 1/4-mile Derby distance. If this colt manages to pull off the upset, it would be the first ever Triple Crown race victory for both Gargan and Alvarado.
The play: $2 exacta 5,8/2,5,6,8, $2 win 2,6 ($16)