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Kentucky Derby Betting: Who Are The Dark Horses To Back Right Now?

Kentucky Derby Betting: Who Are The Dark Horses To Back Right Now?

The start of the Triple Crown season in the United States is fast approaching, with the Kentucky Derby set to take place at Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in May. It promises to be one of the most interesting renewals of the race in recent memory, with a talented field of runners set to go to post.

Many punters are already examining the best bets for the legendary race, and it could be unwise to rule out some of the big, priced outsider for the Kentucky Derby at this stage.

Check them out here: https://www.twinspires.com/edge/racing/wagering/best-bets/

So, who are some of the most interesting runners that could outrun their odds at Churchill Downs in May?


Brad Cox unleashed the winner of the Kentucky Derby in 2021 after Mandaloun was awarded the race following the decision to disqualify Medina Spirit. The talented trainer holds a traditionally strong hand for the Derby once again this year, but Encino could be one of his challengers that has been missed in the betting at this stage.

The three-year-old has won three from four career starts, and is unbeaten in three starts since falling short on debut. He is yet to show his staying ability over a longer distance, but it was hard not to have been impressed by his battling display when landing the G3 Lexington Stakes at Keeneland in mid-April.

Encino finished the stronger of the runners in that field, eventually getting the better of the highly regarded The Wine Steward to win by three-quarters of a length. There could still be a lot more to come from this Cox runner, and he is one that is majorly overpriced at this stage.


There is a strong argument that Dornoch would be a much shorter price in the betting if he was trained by a world-renowned trainer. But, that does ensure that there is a lot of value to side with the runner for Danny Gargan at Churchill Downs this year.

The three-year-old would be a very interesting contender in the race should any rain come on Derby day, as he was mightily impressive when getting the better of Sierra Leone in muddy conditions at Aqueduct to land the G2 Remsen Stakes. His form was improved once again on his return to action in 2024, landing the prestigious G2 Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream by nearly two lengths from Le Dom Bro.

The main reason for his price stems from his fourth in the recent G1 Blue Grass Stakes, as he finished six lengths behind Sierra Leone. However, there were excuses for that poor display, with other runners having a better trip than the three-year-old.

Related: Which Kentucky Derby Contenders Were Transferred From Bob Baffert’s Barn?

Mystik Dan

Kenneth McPeek could have a very interesting Derby contender on his hands this year in the form of Mystik Dan. The three-year-old has won twice from six career starts, but he is highly regarded by connections.

It could be a big factor in his favour that he has already had a winning run at Churchill Downs, setting a respectable Equibase speed rating of 100 when landing a maiden special weight in November. Since then, he has been tried in stakes company with mixed fortunes. Rainy conditions at Churchill Downs could make him a very interesting outsider, as the manner of his win in the G3 Southwest Stakes on muddy ground was very taking, finishing eight lengths clear of a talented rival in the form of Just Steel.

He was last seen finishing third of ten behind Muth in the G1 Arkansas Derby, but it could be argued that the winner on that day may have been a short price favourite for Derby success if Bob Baffert’s runners were able to run.

Honor Marie

D Whitworth Beckman will be looking for a breakthrough success in the Triple Crown series this year. He has a leading chance based on the bare form boasted by Honor Marie. This three-year-old could also give recently imported jockey Ben Curtis a first American Grade One success after making the decision to move away from racing in the United Kingdom.

Honor Marie already has winning experience at Churchill Downs, beating Real Men Violin by two lengths and setting a very high speed rating in the process. He hasn’t been able to hit the same heights so far this season, and he made his reappearance at Fair Grounds when finishing fifth of 12 in the G2 Risen Star.

However, there was plenty to like about his run in the G2 Louisiana Derby on his final start before heading to Churchill Downs. He was very competitive in that deep race of Derby hopefuls, but he found just Catching Freedom too strong in the closing stages. Based on the short price of that winner, Honor Marie looks massive value in the betting at a 40/1 price.

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