Oddsmaker Likes Trifecta Bets In Kentucky Derby and Oaks Races

Date IconLast Updated: Sep 28th, 2022
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Oddsmaker Likes Trifecta Bets In Kentucky Derby and Oaks Races
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The first full weekend in May is upon us.

That means it's time for mint juleps and for a weekend of major horse racing with Friday’s Kentucky Oaks and Saturday’s Kentucky Derby.

To help guide your Kentucky Derby betting choices, Gambling.com reached out to Casey Lewless, a Nevada oddsmaker now managing at Penn National sportsbooks in Louisiana.

Here are his trifecta picks:

How To Bet The Kentucky Oaks

On Friday, the Kentucky Oaks is run at a mile and an eighth, with the best 3-year-old fillies competing for their share of $1.25 million. 

As expected, there is a full field of 14 for this race. 

On paper, it looks like a four-horse race, but a surprise in the Oaks never shocks me. 

Post No. 1: Secret Oath, trained by D. Wayne Lukas and ridden by Luis Saez, had a respectable showing in the Arkansas Derby against the boys but will have to deal with the dreaded rail post this Friday.

Post No. 4: Nest, trained by Todd Pletcher with Irad Ortiz Jr. aboard, has looked as good as any horse in destroying a solid field in the Ashland at Keeneland in Kentucky. 

Post No. 7: Defending 2-year-old champion Echo Zulu, trained by Steve Asmussen and ridden by Joel Rosario, is as good as they come and had a time in the Fairground Oaks that no horse in the field this Friday can touch. 

Post No. 10: Finally, look for Kathleen O.to be in the mix. Any other year she might be the favorite, but the knock here is jockey Javier Castellano, who has not won the big races in the past. I expect this horse to contend but not cross the finish line first. 

A trifecta bet requires you to select, in order, the first, second and third finishers. 

Here’s how to bet the Oaks:

  • Trifecta: No. 7 (first), with No. 1 or 4 (second), and with No. 1, 3, 4, 8, 9 or 10 (third).

For the second trifecta, reverse the top two spots.

  • Trifecta: No. 1 or 4 (first), with No. 7 (second), and with No. 1, 3, 4, 8, 9 or 10 (third).

How To Bet The Kentucky Derby

Saturday is the Run for the Roses, with the boys going a mile and a quarter. The race features a full field of 20 horses. 

This is one of the most competitive Kentucky Derby races in recent memory. 

A case can be made for No. 1 Mo Donegal, No. 3 Epicenter, No. 5 Smile Happy, No. 6 Messier, No. 10 Zandon, No. 13 Simplification, No. 15 White Abarrio, and No. 16 Cyberknife. 

Post No. 1: Mo Donegal has to fight off the horrible rail draw. If not pushed back too far, he will be in the mix and close like he did in the Wood Memorial.

Post No. 3: Epicenter looked spectacular in winning the Louisiana Derby and might be the horse to beat this Saturday. If he's the winner, it would give trainer Steve Asmussen his first Kentucky Derby victory. 

Post No. 5: Smile Happy probably is not good enough to win, but jockey Corey Lanerie loves to hug the rail and may hit the board at a good price.. 

Post No. 6: The West Coasters like Messier, yes named after the hockey player Mark Messier, but this horse’s effort in the Santa Anita Derby was lackluster. However, he has a shot on Saturday to finish in the Top 3. 

Post No. 10: Zandon is the popular choice, and with the way he closed in the Blue Grass Stakes, why not? At times, he does not get out of the gate well, but maybe he can carve out a perfect ground-saving trip. A real threat.

Post No. 13: Simplification is a good horse at certain times, but not so much at other times. He is another closer that has to have everything go his way, but jockey Jose Ortiz is world class. I believe this horse will come on late. 

Post No. 15: White Abarrio has done nothing wrong, and Tyler Gaffalione is the leading jockey at Churchill Downs nowadays. Look for this horse to challenge. 

Here’s how to bet the Derby:

  • Trifecta: No. 3, 13 or 15 (first), with No. 3, 10, 13 or 15 (second) and with No. 1, 3, 5, 6, 10, 13, 15 or 16 (third).

2022 Kentucky Derby field

Position HorseTrainer RiderOdds
1 Mo Donegal Todd Pletcher Irad Ortiz, Jr.10-1
2 Happy JackDoug O'NeillRafael Bejarano30-1
3 Epicenter Steve AsmussenJoel Rosario7-2
4 Summer Is Tomorrow Bhupat Seemar Mickael Barzalona30-1
5 Smile Happy Ken McPeekCorey J. Lanerie20-1
6 Messier Koichi Shintani John R. Velazquez8-1
7 Crown Pride Todd Pletcher Christophe Lemaire20-1
8 Charge It Todd Pletcher Luis Saez20-1
9 Tiz the Bomb Ken McPeek Brian J. Hernandez, Jr.30-1
10 Zandon Chad BrownFlavien Prat3-1
11 Pioneer of Medina Todd PletcherJoe Bravo30-1
12 Taiba Tim Yakteen Mike Smith12-1
13 Simplification Antonio SanoJose L. Ortiz20-1
14 Barber Road John OrtizRey Luis Gutierrez 30-1
15 White Abarrio Saffie Joseph, Jr. Tyler Gaffalione10-1
16 Cyberknife Brad Cox Florent Geroux20-1
17 Classic Causway Brian Lynch Julien Leparoux30-1
18 Tawny Port Brad Cox Ricardo Santana30-1
19 Zozos Brad Cox Manuel Franco20-1
20 Ethereal Road D. Wayne LukasLuis Contreras30-1

Kentucky Derby TV Info

Post Time: 6:57 p.m.(ET), Saturday

Where: Churchill Downs, Louisville, Ky.