Monday, May 27, 2024

2024 Kentucky Derby predictions, horses, contenders, odds: Surprising picks from horse racing insider

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The 2024 Kentucky Derby will be the 150th in history and “The Fastest Two Minutes in Sports” has had a penchant for dramatic finishes. In its history, the Run for the Roses has been decided by a neck or closer on 25 occasions and the largest winning margin in history is only 8.5 lengths. This year, Fierceness is the 5-2 favorite in the 2024 Kentucky Derby odds coming off a wire-to-wire, 13.5-length win at the Florida Derby. Trainer Todd Pletcher and jockey John Velazquez will hope to impose their will on the 2024 Kentucky Derby field, but they’ll face competition from other 2024 Kentucky Derby horses like Sierra Leone (3-1) and Catching Freedom (8-1). There are 20 horses in the 2024 Kentucky Derby lineup, and the latest 2024 Kentucky Derby forecast is calling for a 25% chance of rain and a high around 80.

The 2024 Kentucky Derby post time is 6:57 p.m. ET. With the Kentucky Derby annually featuring the largest field in North American racing, you’ll want to see what Santa Anita-based racing reporter and analyst Michelle Yu has to say before making any 2024 Kentucky Derby picks, considering the success she’s had handicapping this race.

Few people in racing are as well-connected as Yu. An on-air host and reporter who has provided racing analysis for TVG, HRTV and the Breeders’ Cup, Yu has spent a lifetime in racing. Prior to her television career, she worked for trainers Steve Asmussen and Ron Moquett. She also is married to Santa Anita-based trainer Ryan Hanson.

Yu also has tremendous handicapping chops. In a wide-open Kentucky Derby in 2021, she gave out Medina Spirit, who crossed the finish line first, as the winner at 12-1. In Pool 5 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager two years ago, she suggested a play on All Other 3-Year-Olds, which cashed at a whopping 18-1 when Rich Strike won the Derby.

Yu enters this year’s Kentucky Derby on a roll. She correctly called National Treasure to win the Pegasus World Cup. In the month leading up to the Kentucky Derby, she predicted Stronghold’s upset win in the Santa Anita Derby and smashed the exacta in the Apple Blossom Handicap.

For the first leg of the Triple Crown, Yu has handicapped the 2024 Kentucky Derby lineup, made her picks and constructed her best bets. You can head to SportsLine now to see them.

Top 2024 Kentucky Derby predictions

One surprise: Yu is fading Fierceness, even though he is the 5-2 Kentucky Derby favorite. Fierceness’s performance in the Florida Derby was the most impressive of any three-year-old this season, but he’ll have his work cut out to replicate that performance at Churchill Downs. He prefers to be near the front, but he’ll have a long trip coming from the No. 16 gate.

Sired by City of Light out of the Stay Thirsty mare Nonna Bella, Fierceness has unquestionable talent after his wins at Gulfstream Park and at Santa Anita last year in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. However, he’s also been inconsistent, finishing seventh in the Champagne Stakes last October and third as the 1-5 favorite in the Holy Bull Stakes earlier this year. It can be perilous betting the favorite against a 20-horse field and Yu is avoiding using Fierceness as an outright winner on Saturday. See who else to fade here.

Another curveball: Yu is high on Just a Touch, even though he’s a longshot at 10-1 in the Kentucky Derby odds 2024. He’s a target for anyone looking for a huge payday. Just a Touch is coming off a second-place finish in the Blue Grass Stakes and held a lead in the final stretch before being caught by Sierra Leone. Just a Touch had a 101 HRN speed in the Blue Grass Stakes, faster than any horse other than Sierra Leone.

Just a Touch will run from post No. 8, which produced Mage as the winner at last year’s Kentucky Derby. Post No. 8 has featured nine Kentucky Derby winners, tied for the second-most of any post position, and Yu believes it’s a strong draw in the middle. The bay-colored colt is one of multiple horses trained by Brad Cox in the 2024 Kentucky Derby field, as one of the top trainers in the sport attempts to bring his first horse across the finish line first in the Run for the Roses. You can see all of Yu’s 2024 Kentucky Derby bets here.

How to make 2024 Kentucky Derby picks

Moreover, Yu’s top pick is a horse who “will be happy to get the added ground” at Churchill Downs. She’s also high on a massive double-digit longshot who “blew my doors off.” She is including these horses in her 2024 Kentucky Derby bets, and so should you. She’s sharing which 2024 Kentucky Derby horses to back at SportsLine.

So who wins the 2024 Kentucky Derby? What double-digit longshot is a must-back? And how has Yu constructed her wagers? Visit SportsLine to see Yu’s picks for the Kentucky Derby, all from the Santa Anita-based racing insider who has a long history of success in the Kentucky Derby, and find out. 

2024 Kentucky Derby odds, contenders

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