McCraken Takes Over as Betting Favorite for Kentucky Derby

With just over two months to go before the Kentucky Derby (G1), we have a new betting favorite for the two most exciting minutes in sports.

McCraken remained undefeated by taking the Sam F. Davis (G3) in his three-year-old debut, and is now perfect in four career starts and is the 11-2 betting favorite for the Kentucky Derby.

His next start may come in the Tampa Bay Derby (G2) on March 11.

He took over the favorite’s role from Classic Empire, who spent three months as the betting favorite after winning the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) last November at Santa Anita.

He won four of his five starts as a two-year-old, his lone loss when he wheeled and dropped his jockey in the Hopeful (G1) at Saratoga last September.

However, things have not gone well this year, running a disappointing third in the Holy Bull (G2) at Gulfstream Park on Feb. 4 in his three-year-old debut.

He came out of the race with a foot abscess and now will miss his next intended target, which was to be the Fountain of Youth (G2) at Gulfstream Park on March 4.

He could land in the Tampa Bay Derby (G2) on March 11 or could wait for the Florida Derby on April 1.

His early Kentucky Derby price has drifted up to 8-1 after being as low as 5-2 a couple of months ago.

Mastery has taken over the role as second choice for the Kentucky Derby at odds of 15-2. The colt is trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, no stranger to the winner’s circle at Churchill Downs on the first Saturday of May.

The colt is perfect in three starts including winning the Bob Hope (G3) at Del Mar and most recently taking the Los Alamitos Futurity (G1) on Dec. 10.

His next start will come in either the San Felipe (G2) at Santa Anita on March 11 or the Rebel (G2) at Oaklawn Park on March 18.

Irish War Cry has taken plenty of betting action since his impressive victory in the Holy Bull (G2) where he took the field gate to wire for his third win in his three career outings. His odds are now down to 10-1, good for fourth in the early wagering for the Derby.

The colt is trained by Graham Motion, who saddled 2011 Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom.

The filly Unique Bella is now the fifth choice in Derby betting at 15-1 despite her connections stating she is more likely to go in the Kentucky Oaks (G1).

The filly has won her last three starts by a combined 26 ½ lengths, winning the Las Virgines (G2) at Santa Anita in her last outing by 8 ¾ lengths.

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