Post-time favorites have done very well in recent years, winning six consecutive Derbies between 2013 and 2018. The streak included Triple Crown winners American Pharoah and Justify, unbeaten Nyquist and California Chrome.
For some bettors, Tiz the Law became less appealing after drawing the no. 17 post. Reportedly, no horse has ever won the Kentucky Derby starting from that slot. It should be noted, however, that horses have won recent Derbies from even further out in the auxiliary gate than no. 17. Big Brown won from post no. 20 in 2008, I’ll Have Another from no. 19 in 2012 a...d Country House from no. 18 last year. Nearly half (8 of 20) of all Derbies since 2000 have been won by horses starting from the auxiliary gate. (Note: The auxiliary gate, which included stalls 15 through 20, will no longer be used. Beginning this year, all Derby starters will break from a single 20-stall gate.)
Tiz the Law isn’t the only well-regarded horse who drew far outside. Honor A. P, second choice on the morning line at 5-1, will start from no. 16. Authentic, the only other entrant with single-digit odds at 8-1, drew widest of all at no. 18. Thousand Words is the fourth choice on the morning line at 15-1, followed by Ny Traffic and King Guillermo at 20-1. The other dozen entrants are listed between 30-1 and 50-1. (Note: King Guillermo was scratched because of a fever late Thursday afternoon.)
After reviewing the Derby field and comparing Tiz the Law with his competition, many people may ask themselves, “so, who’s going to beat him?” If Honor A. P. were to run back to his winning Santa Anita Derby, he would pose a legitimate threat. Authentic has won three of four graded races this year but is widely considered suspect at a mile and a quarter.
Prominent 3-year-olds who might have presented challenges to Tiz the Law but who won’t be in the starting gate today begin with Art Collector, the impressive Blue Grass winner who was withdrawn from consideration Tuesday because of a minor foot issue. Nadal was injured and retired back in May. Maxfield and Charlatan remain on the injured list, their racing careers uncertain.
Thousand Words would be a tempting value play if he were to go off at anything close to his morning-line odds of 15-1. The Bob Baffert-conditioned colt rebounded from a couple of disappointing efforts by winning the ungraded Shared Belief Stakes at Del Mar, a race in which Honor A. P. was the runner-up. Ny Traffic, who has yet to win a graded stakes, has finished second in three straight graded events – most recently to Authentic in the Haskell –and would also offer value at his 20-1 m/l odds.
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