Kentucky Derby Trends and Facts

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With this year’s two most exciting minutes in sports upon us, it is time to start digging deep and finding betting trends that may assist us in finding this year’s Kentucky Derby winner.

The two big questions this year are whether we will see our fifth consecutive betting favorite win the Run for the Roses and if trainer Todd Pletcher can improve on his mediocre 1-for-45 record in the race.

Here are some betting trends and facts for this year’s running:

Kentucky Derby Betting Trends
  • Preps that have produced the most Kentucky Derby winners are the Blue Grass (23), Florida Derby (23), Champagne (23), Hopeful (20) and Wood (20).
  • Over the past 15 years the Florida Derby has been the most productive with four Derby winners, followed by the Santa Anita Derby and Arkansas Derby with three each.
  • The last six Derby winners all won their final prep. The last not to do so was Super Saver in 2010, who lost the Arkansas Derby by a neck.
  • Seven of the last eight Derby winners had at least three starts as a two-year-old. The lone exception was Animal Kingdom, who started twice as a juvenile.
  • Apollo, who won the 1882 edition, is the only winner not to have raced as a two-year-old. Fifty-nine horses have tried it since 1937, none winning. Bodemeister did run second in 2012. The record of horses in the Derby without a race at two since 1937 is 59-0-3-4.
  • Animal Kingdom became the first Derby winner since Exterminator in 1918 to win the Kentucky Derby off just four career starts.
  • Nyquist (2016) became just the second horse to win both the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and the Run for the Roses. Street Sense ended the “Juvenile Jinx” in 2007.
  • Since Seattle Slew in 1997, we have had four undefeated horses win the Kentucky Derby—Smarty Jones (2004), Barbaro (2006), Big Brown (2008) and Nyquist (2016).
  • Fusaichi Pegasus (2000) was the biggest auction price among Derby winners at $4 million. Among the recent Derby winners that were bargains include I’ll Have Another ($11,000), Mine That Bird ($9,500) and Real Quiet ($17,000).
  • The last winner to take the Derby field gate to wire was War Emblem in 2002. Previous to that it was the filly Winning Colors in 1988.
  • The fastest Kentucky Derby time was Secretariat in 1973, stopping the timer in 1:59 2/5. The second-fastest was produced by Monachos in 2001 in a time of 1:59 4/5.
  • Jockeys Mario Gutierrez (I’ll Have Another 2012 and Nyquist 2016) and Victor Espinoza (California Chrome 2014 and American Pharoah 2015) have accounted for four of the last five winners.
  • Four active jockeys each have three Derby wins—Gary Stevens (3-for-22), Kent Desormeaux (3-for-20), Calvin Borel (3-for-12) and Victor Espinoza (3-for-8).
  • The active jockey with the most mounts without a Derby victory is Corey Nakatani (0-for-18).
  • D. Wayne Lukas (4-for-48) and Bob Baffert (4-for-27) lead all active trainers with four wins each.
  • Seven-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer Todd Pletcher is just 1-for-45 in the Derby. His win came with Super Saver in 2010.
  • Steve Asmussen has the most starters among active trainers without a Derby win with 15.
  • Horses breaking from the 13 post outward have won six of the last nine races. Since the advent of the starting gate in 1930 the two best posts are the 10 post (80-9-6-9 11.3%) and the five post (87-9-8-3 10.3%).
  • The betting favorite has won each of the last four editions of the race, Orb ($12.80), California Chrome ($7.00), American Pharoah ($7.80) and Nyquist ($6.60) The last time four consecutive favorites won the race was 1972-75.
  • Over the last 13 years we have seen seven betting favorites win. We have also seen two of the three biggest upsets in history, Mine That Bird (2009) and Giacomo (2005), each winning at betting odds of 50-1.
  • The shortest price winning favorite in the Kentucky Derby since 1960 was Seattle Slew, who returned just $3.00 to win in 1997.
  • No betting favorite won the race from 1980 to 1999.
  • The highest exacta payoff was in 2005, Giacomo and Closing Argument combining for a $2 payoff of $9,814.80.
  • The exactas the last two years, $73 in 2015 and $31 in 2016, were the first two to pay less than $100 since Smarty Jones topped a $2 exacta that paid $65 in 2004.
  • The average $2 exacta payoff since 2000 is $1,041.
  • Last year’s superfecta payoff of $542.10 was the second-lowest in history. The shortest was $350.00 in 1997 with Silver Charm the winner.
  • The $1 superfecta with Giacomo-Closing Argument-Afleet Alex-Don’t Get Mad in 2005 paid a record $864,253.80.

Handicapper Michael Dempsey will be covering the Kentucky Derby and the Triple Crown for OddsShark and his full card reports with selections, analysis, fair odds line and wagering recommendations for major tracks can be found daily at turfnsport.com.

Archived Articles

With post postitions now set, here’s some historic facts and trends to help you make educated betting decisions for this year’s Kentucky Derby.

2016 Kentucky Derby
Post Position Horse Jockey Trainer Odds
1 Trojan Nation Aaron Gryder Patrick Gallagher +6600
2 Suddenbreakingnews Luis Quinonez Donnie Von Hemel +2000
3 Creator Ricardo Santana Jr Steven Asmussen +1200
4 Mo Tom Corey Lanerie Thomas Amoss +2200
5 Gun Runner Florent Geroux Steven Asmussen +900
6 My Man Sam Irad Ortiz Jr. Chad Brown +2000
7 Oscar Nominated Julien Leparoux Michael Maker +6600
8 Lani Yukata Take Mikio Matsunaga +2800
9 Destin Javier Castellano Todd Pletcher +1400
10 Whitmore Victor Espinoza Ron Moquett +1800
11 Exaggerator Kent Desormeaux J. Keith Desormeaux +750
12 Tom’s Ready Brian Hernandez Jr Dallas Stewart +4000
13 Nyquist Mario Gutierrez Doug O’Neill +300
14 Mohaymen Junior Alvarado Kiaran McLaughlin +800
15 Outwork John Velazquez Todd Pletcher +1600
16 Shagaf Joel Rosario Chad Brown +2800
17 Mor Spirit Gary Stevens Bob Baffert +1400
18 Majesto Emisael Jaramillo Gustavo Delgado +3300
19 Brody’s Cause Luis Saez Dale Romans +1400
20 Danzing Candy Mike Smith Clifford Sise Jr +2000
Post Position Winners Since 1900
Post Position Wins
1 12
2 9
3 8
4 11
5 13
6 6
7 8
8 11
9 4
10 10
11 3
12 3
13 4
14 2
15 5
16 4
17 0
18 1
19 1
20 2
Kentucky Derby Betting Trends
  • The betting favorite has won each of the last three editions of the race, Orb (5-1), California Chrome (5-2) and American Pharoah (5-2). The last time four consecutive favorites have won the race was 1972-75.
  • Since 1900, the 5 post has been the best post position, accounting for 13 winners. The 1 post is next with 12. No horse has won the race coming out of the 17 post.
  • Over the past 12 years, we have seen seven betting favorites win the Run for the Roses.
  • Over the last 12 years we have also seen two of the three biggest upsets in history, Mine That Bird (2009) and Giacomo (2005) each winning at betting odds of 50-1.
  • The highest exacta payoff of the past 25 years was in 2005, Giacomo and Closing Argument combining for a $2 payoff of $9,814.80.
  • The average exacta payoff dating back 25 years is $822.
  • The $1 superfecta with Giacomo-Closing Argument-Afleet Alex-Don’t Get Mad in 2005 paid a record $864,253.80.
  • Last year’s superfecta payoff of $634.10 was the second lowest in history. The shortest was $350.00 in 1997 with Silver Charm the winner.
  • The shortest price winning favorite in the Kentucky Derby since 1960 was Seattle Slew, who returned just $3.00 to win in 1997.
  • Point Given was the shortest priced beaten favorite in the last 15 years, checking in fifth at 9-5 in 2001.
  • Since Seattle Slew in 1997, we have had three undefeated horses win the Kentucky Derby—Smarty Jones (2004), Barbaro (2006) and Big Brown in 2008.
  • The last winner to take the Derby field gate to wire was War Emblem in 2002. Previous to that it was the filly Winning Colors in 1988.
  • The fastest Kentucky Derby time was Secretariat in 1973, stopping the timer in 1:59 2/5. The second fastest was produced by Monachos in 2001 in a time of 1:59 4/5.
  • Active jockeys with the most wins in the Kentucky Derby are Kent Desormeaux, Victor Espinoza and Gary Stevens with three each.
  • Since Ferdinand did it in 1986, the only horse to go from last to first to win the race is Mine That Bird in 2009.
  • Apollo, who won the 1882 edition is the only horse not to have raced as a two-year-old. 59 horse have tried it since 1937, none winning. Bodemeister did run second in 2012.
  • Since 1900, only Regret (1915) and Big Brown (2008) have won the Kentucky Derby off just three career starts.
  • Animal Kingdom became the first Derby winner since Exterminator in 1918 to win the Kentucky Derby off just four career starts.
  • Since 1997, five winners made their final prep in the Santa Anita Derby. The Wood Memorial, Arkansas Derby and Florida Derby have each produced three.
  • Seven-time Eclipse Award winning trainer Todd Pletcher is just 1 for 43 in the Derby. His win came with Super Saver in 2010.
  • Steve Asmussen, who sends out Gun Runner and Creator, is 0 for 13 in the race.
  • Bob Baffert will be seeking his fifth Derby win. He won with Silver Charm (1997), Real Quiet (1998), War Emblem (2002) and American Pharoah (2015). The only trainer with more wins is Ben Jones with six.
  • Horses that start with the letter S have won 19 times. No horse starting with the letter Q, X or Y have won. Yes, no horse has ever started the Derby that started with an X.
  • The longest time between a final prep and a Kentucky Derby win since 1960 belongs to Animal Kingdom, who won the 2011 Derby off a 42-day break.

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