The 10 Kentucky Derby streaks bettors need to know

April 24, 2019 10:53am
Win Big on Kentucky Derby this year!

Every year, bettors want to know what are the important dos and don'ts in selecting a Derby horse. Bettors should pay attention to these streaks ahead of playing the May 4 race at Churchill Downs.

Winning Streaks

Here are some powerful positive trends that have really paid off in recent years.
1) Six straight wins by the favorite (Omaha Beach) The public has done a nice job recently of identifying a winner -- and there's nothing wrong in siding with the top choice so long as it pays! Not coincidentally, this streak started when Churchill Downs initiated the Derby points qualifying system, which weeds out some sprinting stakes winners that were good as 2-year-olds or at shorter distances, but often created a demanding Derby pace. You may recall the Derby favorite had a rough run, going 0-for-20 between 1980 and 1999, before Fusaichi Pegasus ended the drought in 2000. Since then, we saw favorites win three of the next eight years, with Smarty Jones (2004), Street Sense (2007) and Big Brown (2008) in the years 2001-2008, before going 0 for 4 in the years 2009-2012.   Here are the last six Kentucky Derby winners, all favorites:  Justify, 2018, 2.90-1 odds  Always Dreaming, 2017, 4.70-1  Nyquist, 2016, 2.30-1  American Pharoah, 2015, 2.90-1  California Chrome, 2014, 2.50-1  Orb, 2013, 5.40-1 2) Six straight winners unbeaten at age 3 (Tacitus, Maximum Security, Roadster) Along with the streak of six favorites, it is important to note that each of them did not lose as a 3-year-old before the first Saturday in May. This year, only Tacitus, who is 2-for-2 in winning the Tampa Bay Derby and Wood Memorial, and Maximum Security, who is 3-for-3 after winning the Florida Derby and two allowance races, are unblemished in the new year. But neither are expected to be favored. Projected morning line favorite Omaha Beach finished second by a half length in maiden special weight company on Jan. 4 before winning his next three starts. 3) Five straight pace/speed winners (Tax, Maximum Security, Spinoff, Vekoma, War of Will, Gray Magician, Omaha Beach, Cutting Humor, Long Range Toddy) You may think of the Kentucky Derby as a closer’s race, and looking at the chart below, you'll see how well that running style fared from 2009-2013. But pace/speed types have won the last three years in a row, and before that American Pharoah and California Chrome were pace presser types that ran near the lead. Looking at the Super Screener chart below outlining the running styles of the Top 4 Kentucky Derby finishers over the last 10 years, notice the red and orange in the upper left. This is the trend of speed and pace horses.

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Kentucky Derby Superfecta


Looking at the pace in this year's Derby, the Kentucky Derby Super Screener outlined the likely pace and presser types in this year's race:


Kentucky Derby Pace scenario 2019

These nine horses fit the trend of pace and presser types that have won the last five years.

4) California-based horses have won 4 of 5 (Omaha Beach, Roadster, Game Winner, Improbable, Gray Magician)  Justify - 2018, California-based  Always Dreaming - 2017, Florida  Nyquist - 2016, California  American Pharoah - 2015, California  California Chrome - 2014, California If you go back further than that, it is more of the same with Orb winning in 2013 (Florida) after I’ll Have Another in 2012 (California).
Negative Streaks

Many of these negative streaks relate to longshots, and some of these should give you serious pause about selecting certain runners. 

5) Dubai runners 0-for-13 (Plus Que Parfait, Gray Magician) Horses coming in straight from races in Dubai have not been successful in the Kentucky Derby. However, it is important to note that both Plus Que Parfait and Gray Magician are American-based horses that raced in the UAE Derby. Regardless, here are the results of the horses that ran in Dubai prior to the Kentucky Derby.  Mendelssohn (2018, 20th)  Thunder Snow-IRE (2017, did not finish)  Mubtaahij (2015, 8th)  Lines of Battle (2013, 7th)  Daddy Long Legs (2012, Did not finish)  Master of Hounds (2011, 5th)  Regal Ransom (2009, 8th)  Desert Party (2009, 14th)
 Outta Here (2003, 7th)  Essence of Dubai (2002, 9th)  Express Tour (2001, 8th)  China Visit (2000, 6th)  Curule (2000, 7th) 6) Japanese-based Runners - 0 for 2 (Master Fencer) Japan-based horses have never hit the board in the Derby. Lani (9th, 2015) and Ski Captain (14th, 1995) are the only prior contenders who fit the category. Additionally, Master Fencer will be the first runner bred in Japan to run in the Kentucky Derby.

         [Take the Derby Quiz & Win Derby Tickets!] 7) Maidens 0-for-11 since 1937 (Bodexpress) Incomplete records were kept on racing records prior to 1937, but since then, horses who haven't won a race are also winless in the Derby. The best finish was an eighth-place result by On The Mark in 1950. The most recent maidens to contest the Derby were longshots Trojan Nation (16th in 2016) and Sonneteer (16th in 2017). 8) Geldings 6-for-115 since 1908 (Tax) That being said, recent winners Mine That Bird (2009) and Funny Cide (2003) were both gelded. Records before 1908 are incomplete. 9) 15 years or more since these preps produced a winner  Blue Grass Stakes: 1995, Thunder Gulch (Vekoma)  Louisiana Derby: 2003, Funny Cide (By My Standards)  Wood Memorial: 2003, Funny Cide (Tacitus) Much has been made of the lack of recent success of the Blue Grass, Louisiana Derby and Wood Memorial as preps for the Kentucky Derby. However, Good Magic (second in 2018) prepped in the Blue Grass, Gun Runner (third 2016) prepped in the Louisiana Derby and Frosted (fourth in 2015) raced in the Wood Memorial.
In Between
10) Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner (Game Winner) In the 35-year history of the Breeders’ Cup, only two Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winners have won the Kentucky Derby. There was just one, Street Sense in 2006, until Nyquist came along in 2016, making this trend a bit less of a negative than it once was. Does Not Apply Un-raced 2-year-olds 1-for-63 (None) Justify, of course, ended the so-called "Curse of Apollo" in 2018. Each of this year's contenders gained some foundation as juveniles. If you're looking to dive deeper into the stats and trends to help you cash exactas, trifectas and superfectas, the Kentucky Derby Super Screener is a must this Triple Crown season. The Kentucky Derby Super Screener is a proven system for betting the Kentucky Derby based on a 20-year study of the race. The Super Screener separates the contenders from the pretenders and is known for isolating the correct longshots that deserve a spot on your ticket.


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