Justify Is 3-to-1 Favorite to Win 2018 Kentucky Derby

2018 Kentucky Derby Odds - Justify, Audible, Good Magic, Lone Sailor

Justify has 3-to-1 odds, but 5-to-1 Audible (pictured) is receiving the most hype for serendipitous reasons.

Justify is the 2018 Kentucky Derby favorite, though the latest Bob Baffert-trained thoroughbred has to break a 135-year curse if it intends to win the race this Saturday at Churchill Downs. Justify is seeking to become the first horse since 1882 to win the Kentucky Derby without racing at age 2.

Apollo was the last horse to perform the feat back in 1882, so Justify is trying to buck longstanding both tradition and longstanding training conventions. Justify goes from Gate 7 as a 3-to-1 favorite. Justify’s ownership group and trainer could not have asked for a better gate position. Most jockeys do not want their horses to run too close to the rail, for fear of being pinned inside.

A full 20 horses are running in the Kentucky Derby, so coming from the far outside would be a difficult task, too.

Four-time Kentucky Derby winning trainer Bob Baffert told the Associated Press, “We didn’t want the 1-hole, that’s for sure. I was relieved when I saw him in seven.”

2018 Kentucky Derby Favorites and Longshots

The next favorites in the race are Mendelssohn (5:1) running from Gate 14, Magnum Moon (6:1) running from Gate 16, Audible (8:1) running from Gate 5, and Bolt d’Oro (8:1) running from Gate 11. Several horses have 50-to-1 odds: Firenze Fire, Lone Sailor, Bravazo, Instilled Regard, and Combatant.

Audible the Horse, Audible.com Sponsorship

Audible the horse has a sponsorship deal with Aubible.com, an audiobook company that is a subsidiary of Amazon. John Harrobin, the SVP of Marketing for Audible.com, explained how his service came to have a partnership deal with Audible the horse.

Harrobin told USA Today of his consternation and intrigue when first realizing a horse was stealing his company’s headlines. Harrobin said, “We came across Audible the horse stories in our news feed because we track all things Audible. (We) noticed that this is not us. We’re like, ‘What’s going on here?'”

“We noticed that actually he won this race and now he’s going to the Florida Derby and if he wins that he’s going to the Kentucky Derby. On one hand, I didn’t want my SEO search feed monopolized by something that’s not us, and on the other hand I was like, ‘This is really interesting.'”

Audible.com donated $15,000 to Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance, then launched a social media campaign for its namesake in the Kentucky Derby field. Audible the horse now has its own Instagram page and official website, providing publicity for both the horse and the audiobook. If Audible wins the Kentucky Derby, all Audible members receive a free copy of American Pharoah. Audible the horse appears in the commercial for the Audible audiobook deal.

Justify: 3-to-1 Favorite to Win

Despite the hype, Justify remains the favorite. Bettors can see why, because Justify is 3-for-3 with all three dominating wins. Trained by a Hall of Fame trainer with decades of experience getting thoroughbred ready for this test and looking superior in its Churchill Downs training, Justify looks like the best horse in the field.

Good Magic: Solid Bet to Win Kentucky Derby

At the same time, horse racing experts like Dan Wolken think Justify’s 3-to-1 betting line is unjustified. The horse only began its career 11 weeks ago and is has won only in small fields. The 20-horse race on Saturday provides a variety of new challenges for Justify.

Wolken claims the best “combination of class, experience and running style” is Good Magic, which has a 12-to-1 betting line. Good Magic is from New Yorker Chad Brown’s training barn and is coming off an impressive performance in the Blue Grass Stakes a month ago and a come-from-behind win at the the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile in November. Good Magic sits in Gate 6, in between Audible and Justify, so he has an excellent gate position in the race, too.

Lone Sailor: New Orleans Pelicans’ Owner’s Horse

New Orleans Pelicans owner Gayle Benson has a horse running in Saturday’s race: Lone Sailor. Benson is flying in to Louisville after watching her Pelicans beat the world champion Golden State Warriors in Game 3 of their NBA Western Semifinals series, 119-100. Lone Sailor might be a longer shot to win the Derby than the Pelicans are to dethrone the NBA champs.

Update: Justify Wins 144th Annual Kentucky Derby in Rainstorm

Updating the previous story, Justify won the 144th Annual Kentucky Derby despite more than 2 inches of rain being dumped on the track. Derby hats were replaced by ponchos and plastic sheets as the National Weather Service issued a flash flood warning for the Louisville area only 15 minutes before the start of the race. Jockey Mike Smith rode Justify to the win, though Good Magic (Jose Ortiz) and Audible (Javier Castellano) finished in a close second and third, respectively. Justify won $1,432,000 for the win, while those who bet the favorite won $3 on the dollar.

A sloppy track often produces strange results, though the top horses dominated the 20-horse field. Still, many will say we will not have a true sense of the best horses until the Preakness Stakes. Justify, Good Magic, and Audible should run in the Preakness at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore in only two weeks, on May 19. The Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York completes the Triple-Crown races for 2018 three weeks later on June 9.