International horse racing fans are in for a treat this weekend, with the 2016 Kentucky Derby getting underway on Saturday 7th May. Hopeful punters will be willing their lucky pick to triumph at the famous Churchill Downs racecourse in Kentucky, USA.
The Kentucky Derby is ranked as a Grade I race, open to three-year-old thoroughbreds. The horses compete over a distance of one-and-a-quarter miles. To make the 20-strong field, thoroughbreds have to earn their entry by generating points from qualifying races hosted in the US and abroad.
The qualifying system is comprised of 35 races to ensure the strongest competitors make it into this multimillion-dollar race. Come Saturday, the winner will secure a $2m [£1.37m] purse for their owner, while punters can profit by picking from a strong field of contenders. The qualifying points can offer guidance as to the top prospects.
Betfred Sports has priced Nyquist as the pre-race favourite at 7/2, with the Doug O’Neill-trained horse having qualified second on the Kentucky Derby leaderboard with 130 points. Although finishing second, Nyquist is highly favoured after winning a perfect seven from seven in its race history.
After earning 126 points, Exaggerator ended up third on the qualifying leaderboard and is priced just behind Nyquist at 7/1. Trainer Keith Desormeaux has overseen a race history comprised of four wins, two seconds and a third from nine outings.
Brody’s Cause appears as the next prospect on 8/1, following a fifth-placed qualifying finish on 114 points. Trainer Dale Romans and jockey Luis Saez will need to inspire a horse that has won three of its six career races.
Mohaymen was the ninth-placed qualifier on 80 points, but Betfred has elevated the Kiaran McLaughlin-trained competitor to 8/1 as a prospective winner alongside Brody’s Cause. From six career races, Mohaymen has secured five victories on dirt surfaces.
Destin qualified 11th on the leaderboard with 51 points, yet is viewed as 12/1 prospect by Betfred. Despite finishing on the lower half of the board, this Todd Pletcher-trained horse appears to have potential, based on three wins and a second in five career races.
Gun Runner excelled beyond all other qualifiers by finishing first with 151 points, which was 21 higher than Nyquist in second. Nevertheless, Betfred Sports has priced Gun Runner as the joint-seventh prospect on 14/1.
Thus far, Steven Asmussen has trained the three-year-old to four wins in five races. Creator is another 14/1 runner, but was placed behind Gun Runner as the number six qualifier on 110 points. Also trained by Steven Asmussen, Creator is a frequent runner-up, having finished second in six races, with just one win.
Mor Spirit is the first of two 16/1 horses, having earned its eighth-place in qualifying by securing 84 points. In seven career races, trainer Bob Baffert has overseen Mor Spirit win three and earn four seconds. For this reason, Mor Spirit could have value as an each-way finisher.
Suddenbreakingnews has a proven pedigree for placing in races, having won three times and finishing second on four occasions. Donnie Von Hemel has trained a 16/1 horse that is experienced at placing when it competes.
Outwork is a slightly longer prospect at 20/1, but is worth considering after an excellent qualifying haul of 120 points to earn fourth. However, the Todd Pletcher-trained horse has only entered four races, winning three.
Lani ended up slightly further behind as the seventh-placed qualifier after taking 100 points. Despite only ever entering and winning a single race, Lani could be an intriguing outsider at 33/1.
Danzing Candy’s 60 points were not as high as Lani’s, but the Clifford Sise Jnr-trained horse is the more experienced after winning three from five races. At 25/1, Danzing Candy would be a rewarding possibility.
For all the current Kentucky Derby odds ahead of Saturday’s race, visit Betfred Sports today!