Horseracing fans around the world are counting down the days until Saturday, May 6. That’s the day when the sport’s biggest event, the Kentucky Derby, takes place at Churchill Downs. Of course, anyone who bets wants to put their money on a winning horse. With 397 horses competing in the Kentucky Derby this year, it’s a good idea to study the top contenders. These three horses have been standouts at other races leading up to the big event:
- McCracken: McCracken is the pedigree of Ghostzapper and Ivory Empress. He placed first at Street Sense in October 2016, Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes – 2D in November 2016, and Sam F. Davis Stakes – G3 in February 2017. He is also scheduled to compete in Blue Grass Stakes – G2 on April 8. McCracken is three years old.
- Classic Empire: Three-year-old Classic Empire is the offspring of Pioneer of the Nile and Sambucca Classica. He placed third in his last run, which was Holy Bull Stakes – G2 in February 2017. He had first-place finishes at the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile – G1 in November 2016 and Breeders’ Futurity Stakes – G1 in October 2016. His next scheduled race is the Arkansas Derby – G1 on April 15.
- Gunnevera: Gunnevera is a three-year-old colt and his parents are Dialed In and Unbridled Rage. He had first-place finishes at the Fountain of Youth Stakes – G2 in March 2017 and Delta Downs Jackpot – G3 in November 2016. In between those races, he finished second at the Holy Bull Stakes – G2 in February 2017. He does not have any scheduled races before the Kentucky Derby.
Tips for Picking a Winning Horse
McCracken, Classic Empire, and Gunnevera have statistics in their favor, but that isn’t the only way to choose a winner. Horse racing insiders say it’s also a good idea to pay attention to the program. Every person in attendance receives a program on race day. It’s filled with valuable information about the horse, jockey, statistics, and much more. People serious about placing a winning bet would be wise to study the program. Paying attention to the physical attributes of each horse is also important, especially the following:
- Muscle definition in the rib cage and around the chest. The horse should also be lean with no excess body fat.
- Behavior: An overly anxious horse isn’t going to perform well. Obvious signs of anxiety are fidgeting and excess sweat on the coat. The logic here is that an anxious horse will burn off too much energy before the race even starts.
- Coat condition: A shiny coat is a sign of good health. Before the horses get to the starting line, prospective bettors should get a good look at the hair.
- Upright ears: Ears that point upward and a head held high signal that the horse feels confident and is ready to race.
- Color: While not scientifically proven to be a factor, horses with bay coloring have won 52 or 141 Kentucky Derby races.
Win a Free Bet at the Kentucky Derby
Looking to try your hand at Kentucky Derby betting online this year? BetAmerica is running a promotion through which bettors who place a bet on a horse in any qualifying race before April 15. For any qualifying bet on a given thoroughbred, if the wager is a winner, bettors will earn an additional free bet on the same horse for the same wager amount at the Kentucky Derby.