Kentucky Derby Prep

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      Scott AtkinsScott Atkins


      Jody Demling won his ninth straight Derby-Oaks double last year, then he scored big wins at the Belmont, Travers, Breeders’ Cup Classic, Pegasus World Cup, Louisiana Derby, UAE Derby, Arkansas Derby and Charles Town Classic. Here are his early picks for the May 5 Kentucky Derby.

      Jody Demling

      Apr 23, 12:26AM EDT

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      At last year’s Kentucky Derby, Jody Demling was all over Always Dreaming early, when that horse was 6/1. Amazingly, when Always Dreaming took the Derby down, Demling cashed his ninth straight Kentucky Oaks-Derby double. Nine straight!

      Demling then said Tapwrit would edge Irish War Cry in the Belmont Stakes — and that’s exactly what happened. Demling also cashed trifecta and superfecta bets for SportsLine members, creating a monster Belmont payday. Demling nailed the Travers Stakes winner and hit the superfecta in the Breeders’ Cup Classic! He then called the 1-2 finish at the Pegasus World Cup. In late March, Demling called Noble Indy winning the Louisiana Derby over favorite My Boy Jack. In April, he nailed the 1-2 finish at the Arkansas Derby.

      Those are just SOME of Demling’s huge wins since joining SportsLine in 2017. Anyone who follows Demling’s advice is way, way up.

      With the field for the May 5 Kentucky Derby taking shape, Demling analyzed current odds from William Hill US and released his leaderboard 1 through 20.

      We can tell you Demling is not high on Bluegrass Stakes winner Good Magic, despite that horse drawing the fifth-lowest odds at 7-to-1. But Demling is especially high on a monumental long shot, saying he’ll hit the board at the 2018 Run for the Roses. If you include him in your exotics, you could be looking at a colossal payday.

      Here is Demling’s writeup:

      The field for the 144th running of the Kentucky Derby is taking shape.

      The prep races are over and each of the 20 entries will have a final workout before the May 5 race at Churchill Downs.

      But the field is so talented and so close, we decided to give you an early look at our complete leaderboard. The 20 horses listed are the top 20 on the Kentucky Derby points list.

      Unless there’s a defection or an entry, these would be the 20 horses that enter the Derby field. These are current odds from William Hill US.

      —1. Mendelssohn (9-2) – UAE Derby winner stays on top for me at least until I see him. He has to ship from another continent, so there are signs I want to see Derby week before I go all in.

      —2. Justify (2-1) – The Bob Baffert trained Santa Anita Derby winner might just be a freak. He’s 3-for-3 in his career but no Derby winner didn’t race at 2 since Apollo won back in 1892.

      —3. Bolt d’Oro (5-1) – He ran the best race of his life in his third start as a 2-year-old; this will be his third start at 3 and he’s coming off a race when he lost to Justify.

      —4. Hofburg (30-1) – My only concern is he becomes the ‘hot’ horse among the railbirds. The hot horse usually fizzles out in the race but I think this one has a shot. Trainer Bill Mott doesn’t push his horses and doesn’t get Derby fever. This one went from a maiden win to second in the Florida Derby and looks like he has a better shot than the winner of that race at a mile and a quarter.

      —5. My Boy Jack (20-1) – Will be closing late in the Derby, which should have a very good pace. Always runs a solid race.

      —6. Magnum Moon (4-1) – He’s 4-for-4 and won the Arkansas Derby but looked a little green down the stretch in that race; might end up being the best of this crop, but this is a big ask for him in his fifth start.

      —7. Vino Rosso (12-1) – Nice closing kick to win the Wood Memorial; will have a shot at the top of the stretch and with any luck will be one of the horses that can hit the board.

      —8. Audible (9-1) – A horse that will need a perfect trip and with 20 horses in the field that rarely happens.

      —9. Solomini (20-1) – Have seen trainer Bob Baffert hit the board in the Derby with worse; but I think this is too much to ask for a horse who still seems like he wants to play around too much.

      —10. Noble Indy (20-1) – He’s one I’m having a hard time figuring out where to put him; several other horses with his same style of wanting to be close to the pace but maybe not as talented as those other horses.

      —11. Good Magic (7-1) – My hope is he takes a lot of money; didn’t look like he wanted any more in the Blue Grass Stakes and I can’t imagine he finds another gear in a month.

      —12. Combatant (35-1) – Can improve a lot off the fourth in the Arkansas Derby, but even then won’t be in the top tier here.

      —13. Enticed (18-1) – Loved this horse in several prep races, but the farther the race the less I like him.

      —14. Instilled Regard (20-1) – Was trending upwards earlier in the year, but two straight fourth-place finishes puts him in the middle of the pack.

      —15. Promises Fulfilled (50-1) – Should be on the lead early, but too much other speed in here for him to stay anywhere near the front.

      —16. Free Drop Billy (50-1) – See this race a much of the same as he had in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, he’ll grind for half of the race and then will tire.

      —17. Flameaway (30-1) – Expected to be in the middle of the pack early, but when they turn for home he’s not as talented as these others.

      —18. Bravazo (50-1) – It’s nice to have Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas back in the race; but this one finished eighth in the Louisiana Derby and won’t be much better in this one.

      —19. Firenze Fire (60-1) – Just doesn’t look like a horse who wants to go a mile and a quarter.

      —20. Lone Sailor (30-1) – Closer just doesn’t fit with this quality; plus work on April 19 was one of the fastest in recent years and I’m not sure he’ll have anything left for the race.

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Scott Atkins
About Scott Atkins 14 Articles
I'm pretty chill with a wife, 2 teenage boys and a dog. Here's the stuff somebody else wrote: Scott is VP at Sports Illustrated, Fantasy/Gambling. He's co-founder of FullTime Fantasy and host of the Fantasy Football World Championships, serving as Commissioner and Director of all FFWC leagues and contests. Previously, Scott founded the Fantasy Players Association, an industry watchdog group dedicated to player advocacy and regularly appears on ESPN Radio, SiriusXM and FNTSY. He contributes sports handicapping, dynasty rankings and NBA DFS advice and strategy on the FullTime forums.Scott has several 5 figure finishes including winning a DraftKings Atlantis qualifier (valued at over $70,000) and multiple $30,000+ finishes in NFL and NBA. A long-time high-stakes competitor and ranked #50 in the Fantasy Football World Rankings, Scott understands and teaches bankroll management through wise contest selections.You may remember him from the Red vs Blue Podcast, and was featured as a Dynasty "Greats of the Game" by DLF and FBG. He has played high stakes since it's inception and has enjoyed Top 10 finishes in both NFFC and FFPC as well as an RTSports Overall link: