Kentucky Derby 2020 - Fans may be scratched, but still expect huge online gambling handle

Let's hope the first Saturday of September becomes a forgotten tradition for next year's Run for the Roses.

Derby 146 preview and betting tips

It would be hard for anyone under 40 years old to understand, but there actually was a time where the only location to place a bet on the Kentucky Derby (without a bookie) was onsite at Churchill Downs. OMG!! 

Prior to the simulcasting era, or even opportunity through New York OTB locations, it was frustrating for a horse bettor watching their Derby horse score while being left out. Fast forward to today's online wagering, there are dozens of opportunities from the most hardened horse player to the casual guy to get a bet down anywhere. No excuse to get shut out 'at the windows' . . . or the keyboard  . . . or the cell phone. 

Churchill Downs Derby146And that is the saddest part this year. There will be no wagering windows to be found live under the Twin Spires in Louisville in 2020. No fancy hats on women to gawk at. No celebrities to watch for on television or giant crowd amassing thousands of drunk partiers lining the infield. Due to ol’ COVID-19, this will be perhaps the strangest Kentucky Derby of all-time.

However, not to be a killjoy or a party-pooper, there still will be a remarkably interesting mile and a quarter race going on, featuring one of the biggest favorites of all time. 

The 2019 Derby – Memorable or Unmemorable as Well

Perhaps the timing is a plus for this year's Derby, as it really could not get more dreadful than last year. Track veterans and once a year tune-ins were left waiting more than twenty minutes to learn of Maximum Security's rare disqualification in 2019. Whether deserved or not, it simply was a subjective steward and judge's decision, not by a great horse that easily crossed the finish line first.

Country House was as they say "put up" after finishing an uninspiring second with Code of Honor and Tacitus making up the place and show positions.  It set up huge exotic payoffs and huge controversy, that a year later still has not been settled. 

Maximum Security has gone on the win the rich Saudi Cup in Saudi Arabia last March and subsequently the Pacific Classic at Del Mar. But the Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia announced on Aug. 10th, due to the sealed federal indictment of then-trainer Jason Servis, purse funds are to be distributed to those finishing second or lower. 

And all they do is ask the horse to do is show up and win on race day. He gets no purses, dollars, or vacations. Just oats and a great bath.

Kentucky Derby 2020

OK, there indeed will be a Kentucky Derby this Saturday run at approximately 7:02 PM EST and I will be watching. Most important for all involved, there will be no disruption to the process of BETTING. Please check all available opportunities to wager including the best possibilities available through the top online sportsbooks.

Here is the field by post position order with jockey and trainer listed.  Following are my top selections and observations to collect:

Post position Horse Jockey Trainer
1 Finnick The Fierce Martin Garcia Rey Hernandez
2 Max Player Ricardo Santana Jr. Steve Asmussen
3 Enforceable Adam Beschizza Mark Casse
4 Storm the Court Flavien Prat Peter Eurton
5 Major Fed James Graham Greg Foley
7 Money Moves Javier Castellano Todd Pletcher
8 South Bend Jose I. Ortiz William I. Mott
9 Mr. Big News Gabriel Saez Bret Calhoun
10 Thousand Words Florent Geroux Bob Baffert
11 Necker Island Miguel Mana Chris Hartman
12 Sole Volante Luca Panici Patrick Biancone
13 Attachment Rate Joe Talamo Dale Romans
14 Winning Impression Joe Rocco Jr. Dallas Stewart
15 Ny Traffic Paco Lopez Saffie Joseph Jr.
16 Honor A.P. Mike Smith John Shirreffs
17 Tiz The Law Manny Franco Barclay Tagg
18 Authentic John Velazquez Bob Baffert

Tiz The Law (3-5)

Beyond the obvious choice, also a sentimental choice for me. It was back in 2003 when I scored one of my few Derby winners with the Sackatoga Stables, Funny Cide paying a great $27.60. Tiz The Law will not be anywhere near that price on Saturday, but the Sackatoga Stable's star will be ultra-tough to beat. So many advantages, including not having the boisterous, overwhelming crowd as an excuse, and a fine post position to clear.  It has been a full month since his easy romp in The Travers at Saratoga, where he beat many of these entered horses. It will not likely be as easy in the Derby as his trips in the Travers or either The Belmont a month prior. But picking against him is just shopping for a price. Yeah, yeah . . . ne'er a man alive ever paid the mortgage at 3-5. 

A thought for you 'whales' out there: The Kentucky Derby offers up a unique opportunity. Because simulcast pools are co-mingled and there will be millions in the pot, a "show" bet is not the worst idea. Over the last twenty years the lowest show payoff on a Derby winner was $3.60 on 2-1 favorite Nyquist in 2016. Should Tiz The Law get joined by two longshots on the board it could set up a reasonable $2.60 to $2.80 payoff. Now all we need is about $50,000 to bet.   

A sad note: some activist group plan to protest Tiz The Law at Churchill Downs due to the recent unrest within the U.S. and will protest excessive police force against Blacks. With NY Traffic also in the Derby field, I hope there will also be a protest represented to fight that forever cause on hand. 

Honor A.P.  (5-1)

Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith is always at his best in the Kentucky Derby. This horse is bred to be a champion and should challenge Tiz The Law in the stretch. Winner of the Santa Anita Derby, he should love the mile and a quarter Derby distance and the long Churchill Downs stretch. He also has a great trainer in John Shirrieffs, who has done the right thing in limiting Honor A.P.'s starts to only five. He will be fresh and likely a generous 5-1 to 6-1 choice given the pounding Tiz The Law will take and the giant 18 horse field. 

Another betting tip: if you cannot live with the short win prices, consider exactas (but a limited amount) to make a reasonable profit. They will not be large given the favorites run toward expectations, but will be more than decent considering the amount of combinations offered.

Enforceable (30-1)

The wildest of longshots to perhaps play 'underneath' as we track veterans say, as in underneath the favorites in your exactas, trifectas or a potential place or show horse.

Pretty simple formula for this guy to have a chance. Should Enforceable get a fast pace from likely pacesetter Authentic, joined by perhaps another horse or two, he would truly advance. The mile and a quarter distance benefit this stretch runner as he could come storming down the stretch to pick up a minor award. Or who knows?!?  Not crazy about the first-time jockey Adam Bechizza, but trainer Mark Casse has a great deal of Derby experience. Nobody heard much talk about Country House before last year's Derby and really, not much since.

At Least the American Tradition Lives On

Like everyone else, I will surely miss seeing famous people and beautiful women coiffed in giant hats this Saturday. The roar of the 160,000 crowd as the best 3-year olds thunder down the long Churchill Downs stretch. The first jewel (but second) of the Triple Crown will be like no other this year. It will be an incredible challenge for NBC to keep the overall audience entertained for two hours without the usual fanfare befitting the casual sports fan.

But at least we have a Kentucky Derby! Late in November I am going to be looking for Michigan-Ohio State football and it is not going to be there. And later that day, you can also add on another American tradition. The Battle of the Rose Bowl as well, with the Pac-12 folding up due to the Coronavirus. No USC cheerleaders to gawk at, that sucks. Next you will be telling me New Year's Eve is cancelled and no ball will be dropped.

Indeed, we will have a Kentucky Derby to watch and most important BET UPON almost anywhere this Saturday. 

Glenn Greene covers the games from a betting angle every week exclusively at For weekly betting insights, including previews and picks from Glenn, click here.

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