Who's your (early) Kentucky Derby 2020 horse? 7 future bets

November 16, 2019 12:10pm
Who's your (early) Kentucky Derby 2020 horse? 7 future bets
Photo: Courtesy of NYRA
With 2-year-old graded stakes revealing leading names for the 2020 Kentucky Derby, futures season is in full swing. Accordingly, William Hill U.S. recently listed odds for the May 2, 2020, race at Churchill Downs.

That got us thinking: If in Nevada, where a wager can be placed, who would have our money at this stage?

Editor's note: These opinions were assembled throughout the week, and the prices may not reflect up-to-the-minute odds from William Hill. Scroll to the bottom of this piece to see a Friday look at the board via VSiN's Ron Flatter.

Bryan Brinkmeyer: Dennis' Moment (25-1)

While the last three Kentucky Derby winners didn't garner much attention as 2-year-olds, I'm willing to bet, literally, that 2020 will be different. If given the chance to make a future wager, I can't ignore Dennis' Moment at that price. The son of Tiznow stumbled out of the gate in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile and never recovered, but his previous performances combined with his potential draws me to believe that he could be wearing the roses next year. 


Jeffrey Byrnes: Basin (70-1)

It's very early on the road to the Kentucky Derby, but if given the chance to bet, it's Basin. Saratoga's Hopeful Stakes winner suffered a minor setback in training and is out the rest of 2019. Although on the sidelines, this could be a blessing in disguise. With the time away, he gets the chance to grow and mature while staying fresher than his future Triple Crown rivals. Basin is by a Breeders' Cup winner in Liam's Map and out of a Johannesburg mare. Pedigree suggests he can get the right distance. Plus, in his Hopeful win, he sat off a hot pace and pounced turning for home, winning going away.  He has won on fast and off tracks and should resurface at Oaklawn Park next spring. Already a Grade 1 winner, Basin is my early Kentucky Derby horse. 


Ryan Dickey: Fort McHenry (130-1)

At this time of the year, there's no sense in wagering on any horse under 25-1. Too much can happen, as each year horses that had outstanding 2-year old campaigns fall by the wayside into the spring. If you're going to place a wager, make it one that would pay off handsomely.

Fort McHenry at 130-1 seems like a nice value to me. He's a Tapit colt and half-brother to California Chrome, so pedigree-wise there are no questions.

Tapit's offspring are notorious for not always being mentally sharp when they're young. Iif you can excuse Fort McHenry's first two races that look terrible on paper and focus on his most recent effort, when he broke his maiden on Nov. 2 at Gulfstream Park West, that would be a good starting point.

He earned a 97 Brisnet Speed Rating in his maiden victory at a two-turn mile. Fort McHenry should have no distance limitations going forward, and it's best to bet him before he faces winners for the first time. Should he win next out, he may dip well below 100-1.

Jarrod Horak: 
Gouverneur Morris (40-1)

He captured his Saratoga dirt sprint debut in the slop by an easy nine lengths on Sept. 2. They were asking a lot in the Breeders’ Futurity (G1) second time out. In that race, he stretched out 3/8 of a mile from the outside post in his first start against winners and first start around two turns. Gouverneur Morris raced wide throughout before running to the lead turning for home, and fought hard for the runner-up spot after Maxfield passed him.

I like his tactical speed and Derby-winning connections. He will spend the next few weeks at WinStar Farm before returning to Todd Pletcher’s barn after that to prepare for a winter campaign in Florida. His connections are looking for a growth spurt and weight gain in the offseason.

Mark Midland: Three Technique (125-1)

Right now, it's still so early in predicting the Derby field, much less the winner, that you would want a big price to make it worth your while.  The good thing is none of the favorites have been overly impressive, so that's even more reason to hunt for long odds.

I'm looking for a horse that will stretch out. He should improve as the distances get longer, have the pedigree for more distance and look like he wants more ground. I see all of that in Three Technique. 

You may remember Three Technique -- trained by Jeremiah Englehart and owned by former Giants coach Bill Parcells -- from his powerful maiden win going seven furlongs closing weekend at Saratoga. At the half-mile, he was 4 1/2 lengths back near last place, but swept by the field coming home the final three furlongs in 36.07 seconds. He won by 4 3/4 lengths, pulling away from the field with every stride. 

His sire, Mr Speaker, won the Belmont Derby (G1) going 1 1/4 miles on turf and finished fifth behind VE Day, Wicked Strong and Tonalist going 1 1/4 miles on dirt in the Travers. 

Three Technique, who hasn't run since that maiden win, posted a bullet four-furlong work earlier this week, and I can't wait to see him in a Derby prep soon. I'd love to have 125-1 on him right now. 

Matt Shifman: Dennis' Moment (25-1)

After his starting gate mishap in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile that resulted in a last place performance, the Kentucky Derby Future odds on Dennis’ Moment jumped from 10-1 to 25-1. Now, the Dale Romans trainee has an interesting four race record to say the least. 

His two wins displayed characteristics that are essential to serious Derby contenders. In his maiden victory by 19-plus lengths, he flashed speed. And in Churchill Downs’ Iroquois (G3), he showed that he can sit behind the early leaders and rally to win while earning a 90 Beyer Speed Figure. The son of Tiznow basically had no chance in both of his losses due to incidents right at the start.

In early Kentucky Derby future wagers, you’ll want to ignore especially short odds. There’s just too much that can go wrong six months out from the race. But this change of price for Dennis’ Moment made a potential favorite on the first Saturday in May playable.

Brian Zipse: Three Technique (125-1)

Still just fewer than six months out from the first Saturday in May, I will demand value in a Kentucky Derby future bet. One horse who really impressed me this summer at the nation's premier meet of Saratoga was Three Technique. His rally down the lane to break his maiden was a powerful display. Despite not yet running in a stakes race, he's already competed against quality competition. At 125-1, the son of Mr. Speaker offers real value as a horse who should only get better with maturity.


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