Vegas Whispers: 144th Kentucky Derby Analysis & Selections

Horse Racing Guru Frankie Fantasy provides his final plays and analysis for the biggest race of the year, the Kentucky Derby!

Magnum Moon
Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

The Run For The Roses is finally here!


  • ***Nailed 3 out of last 4 Kentucky Derbys***
  • ***6 lifetime KY Derby Trifectas***

Highlighted Wins in 2018 include:

  • ***Longshot play of Promises Fulfilled at 18/1 in the Fountain of Youth Stakes with a 115 -1 Exacta***
  • ***Longshot play 19/1 Quip in the Tampa Bay Derby with a 151-1 Exacta and a 455-1 Trifecta***
  • ***Longshot play Hofburg in the Florida Derby coming in 2nd behind Audible with a 26-1 Exacta & 155-1 Trifecta ***

  • What: $2,000,000 G1 Kentucky Derby
  • Where: Churchill Downs, KY
  • Race: Race 12 Post Time: 6:50 EST/ 3:50 PST
  • When: Saturday May 5, 2018

“There’s A Bad Moon On The Horizon”

The old adage that nobody remembers who finished second is complete nonsense. Now before you shake your head and immediately assume I am smoking what is now legal in the state of Nevada–let me explain. As any horse player can attest, if you ever returned to the betting window and cashed a big exotic wager you know where I am going here. If you ask Siri, who won the the 2014 Derby, she will respond: the winner was California Chrome. I remember that Kentucky Derby quite vividly & it is not for the Derby winner. Instead, I recall that race fondly for the runner-up–Commanding Curve who went off at odds of 37-1. Now even though California Chrome returned just $7 for every $2 bet–the exacta with my favorite long shot in the race returned $170 for every $1 bet and I nailed the triple with Danza rounding out the board. This rewarded me with a hefty $1,712-1! Lets just say it is always fun to visit the tax line on Derby Day. We have seen the post time favorite win the Kentucky Derby five straight years and that has a lot to do with the recent way horses are selected with the point system. Even though we are seeing the favorite being adorned with roses every year–exactas, trifectas and superfectas in a 20-horse race still always have the potential to pay quite handsomely.

Without further adieu, here are the Vegas Whispers Selections & Wagers for the 2018 Kentucky Derby!

My top selection in the Kentucky Derby is the horse who is going to break the ‘Curse of Apollo’! That horse would be the undefeated winner of the Arkansas Derby #16 Magnum Moon (6-1) going out for acclaimed trainer Todd Pletcher. He has this issue where he drifts in the lane, and although it concerns me, it hasn’t stopped him from winning yet and I believe Pletcher will have him primed for the spotlight. I also love his outside draw in the auxiliary gate. I see him getting a perfect trip that will end this Curse come Cinco de Mayo!

The formula also lands on #9 Hofburg (20-1) and #10 My Boy Jack (30-1) as the two best long shot value plays. Hofburg is a horse with very little experience when compared to the rest of those in this field. However, he has gotten better and better with each start. The formula really gives him a solid shot to hit the board and perhaps even upset the field. The formula also lands on #5 Audible (8-1) and the favorite #7 Justify (3-1) as horses who both figure and rate highly. Audible, undefeated in four races, is fresh off a 111-speed figure when taking down the Florida Derby last month. Justify is as lightly raced as Hofburg but most people aren’t talking about that because he is getting so much respect off his win in the Santa Anita Derby.

Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

As we highlighted above, the post time favorite has been crushing it in years past so we will make some exotic plays with both of them in the win, place & show spots. #10 My Boy Jack is a deep closer who could be sitting on a huge effort but will need a huge speed duel in order to find the winners circle and that could be provided if the race holds to form and #3 Promises Fulfilled and #4 Flameaway break out in front and lead the field in a hot pace at the opening 1/4 pole. I am just not sold that he will get the crazy pace he needs and therefore I like him underneath to help round out the trifectas. His last two efforts were triple digit speed efforts. If repeated among this field, he can find the room to avoid traffic coming for home.

Yes, I am tossing #11 Bolt d’Oro (8-1) completely as I highlighted earlier this week in my primer. I will also be fading the UAE Derby winner #14 Mendelssohn (5-1) as I just cannot back a horse who travels overseas in the top two spots. As we know in a field of 20, you need to take a stand somewhere and for me it starts with these two. I also can not back Chad Brown’s entry #6 Good Magic (12-1) in the top two spots because I believe this horse could be regressing at the wrong time.

* #4 Flameaway (30-1) has the most wins of any horse in the field and he receives the (*) here because if the track does come up wet, he moves into the top four of contenders and will be getting a win bet for sure. This horse is a true grinder and just finds a way to battle. His form shows he does his best work over an off track. So keep an eye on the track condition come post time for the weather conditions.

My Derby Rankings

  • #16 Magnum Moon (6-1)
  • #7 Justify (3-1)
  • #5 Audible (8-1)
  • #18 Vino Rosso (12-1)
  • #9 Hofburg (20-1)
  • #10 My Boy Jack (30-1)
  • #4 Flameaway* (30-1)
  • #6 Good Magic (12-1)
  • #14 Mendelssohn (5-1)


My Top Contenders: (Morning Line Odds)

#16 Magnum Moon (6/1) | #7 Justify (3/1) | #5 Audible (8/1) | #18 Vino Rosso (12/1)

Vegas Whispers Top Selections:

#16 Magnum Moon (6/1) | #7 Justify (3/1)

Top Live Long Shots:

#9 Hofburg (20/1) | #10 My Boy Jack (30-1) | #4 Flameaway* (30/1)


Win Plays

#16 Magnum Moon (6-1) | #4 Flameaway* (30/1)

Exacta Box: ($1 wager costs $30)


Exacta P/W

  • 4/5,7,9,10,14,16,18* ($1 wager costs $7)
  • 5,7,9,10,14,16,18/4* ($1 wager costs $7)

Trifecta Box: ($1 wager costs $24)

  • 16-7-5-18

Trifecta P/W Play

  • 16 / 5,7,18 / 4,5,6,7,9,10,12,14,18 ($1 wager costs $24)
  • 7 / 5,16,18 /4,5,6,9,10,12,14,16,18 ($1 wager costs $24)
  • 5 / 7,16,18 / 4,6,7,9,10,12,14,16,18 ($1 wager costs $24)

Complete Fades

  • #1 Firenze Fire
  • #2 Free Drop Billy
  • #3 Promises Fulfilled
  • #8 Lone Sailor
  • #11 Bolt d’Oro
  • #13 Bravazo
  • #15 Instilled Regard
  • #17 Solomini
  • #19 Noble Indy
  • #20 Combatant

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About Frank Taddeo 53 Articles
Frankie is a Villanova alumni who created the first Casino Fantasy Sports program in Vegas book. He was the 2019 FFWC 10K Top Gun Champion & 2017 + 2018 Back-to-Back Top 100 Players in World Invit. Champ! He is a sports fanatic, a Vegas whisperer, and a horse racing expert handicapper!