Annual Kentucky Derby Predictions

I’m not sure why, since I don’t think anyone should or does care, but every year I indulge myself by posting Kentucky Derby picks.


In contrast to the last two years, my computer model has some strong predictions for this year’s Derby. The two horses I like best from a betting perspective (i.e. the ones I think actually have a positive expected value if you place a win bet on them) are General Quarters and Papa Clem. Both are long shots, with morning-line odds of 20-1, but my model predicts their actual odds will be lower than this.

There are other horses who look pretty good too, although not strong enough to yield a positive expected value on a bet: Friesan Fire, Musket Man, and Flying Private.

The favorite, I Want Revenge, looks O.K. also, but not good
enough to bet.

If I had to pick a last-place finisher (a bet they would never actually offer at the track because people involved with horse racing understand better than most that people respond to incentives), it would be Mine That Bird.

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  1. Tucker says:

    Have you moved any odds due to your market influence yet?

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  2. Trevor L says:

    Could you shed any light onto how you get these numbers?

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  3. Robbie says:

    How much Barbaro coverage do you think we’ll get this year? Wonder if you could run an algorithm for that.

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  4. Celeste says:

    @3 I’m betting for a lot of Eight Belles coverage. I love horse racing, but the industry is bad. They’re trained and raced too hard, too young. They’re racing at 3 yrs old, and age when most horses are only getting started under saddle.

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  5. Patrick says:

    You should work some exacta, trifecta, and supa picks with your model

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  6. Clayton says:

    Could you do an analysis on the names of horses in horse racing? This could be similar to the part in your book about “Winner” and “Looser”.

    Should I bet on a horse named “Can’t Loose” or “Never Wins”?

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  7. Marla says:

    Favorites win about a third of the time, which would favor I Want Revenge, but personally, I’d rather go with the handicapper consensus which seems to be Friesan Fire. Out of a pool of 20 handicappers, 5 picked Friesan Fire. Only one liked Papa Clem. The full article with win and best bet selections is posted at Case the Race. Here’s the link

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  8. Peter says:

    They just played a little human insterest piece on General Quarters in the pre-run. The owner is a retired school teacher who trained the horse himself. So I can see why that horse might be undervalued.

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