Racing Trends: Coming up with the right odds (and the right betting choices) for the Kentucky Derby is an operation that has a lot of complexity. You have a field of 20 three-year-old horses who have not been raced all that heavily, going 1 ¼ miles, which for some of them is their first race at that distance. There are some years when the favorite breezes to victory – and there are some years when shocking results happen.

This was the case a year ago, when Country House won despite 65/1 odds thanks to a disqualification. In 2020, though, the race comes about four months later than usual thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, and so the horses this year have more experience than normal.

However, one metric that has helped in the past and will help again is the ability to finish fast at a distance of 1 1/8 miles. 

Let’s take a look at how this has worked out historically. Don’t forget to check the latest odds for winners in this year’s Kentucky Derby at

Last Five Kentucky Derby Winners

Kentucky Derby WinnerLast Prep RaceFinal TimeLast 3/8 Mile Time
Country House (2019)Arkansas Derby1:51.04:37.57
Justify (2018)Santa Anita Derby1:49.72:37.11
Always Dreaming (2017)Florida Derby1:47.47:36.56
Nyquist (2016)Florida Derby1:49.11:37.72
American Pharaoh (2016)Spiral Stakes1:48.52:37.81

In 2020, the racing trends show the horses have had more chances to compete in multiple prep races at 1 1/8 miles, so the usual practice of looking at the final 3/8 mile from the last prep race. Here, though, with more races available, we can look at each contender’s top 3/8 finishing time.

HorseRace (Finish)Final TimeLast 3/8 Mile Time
Tiz the LawBelmont Stakes (1st)1:46.24:36.39
Dr PostBelmont Stakes (2nd)1:46.90:36.62
Max PlayerBelmont Stakes (3rd)1:47.16:36.74
Thousand WordsLos Alamitos Derby (2nd)1:48.32:36.76
EnforceableRisen Star Stakes Division I (2nd)1:50.85:37.16
CaracaroPeter Pan Stakes (2nd)1:49.77:37.20
Major FedIndiana Derby (2nd)1:49.51:37.26
Art CollectorEllis Park Derby (1st)1:48.02:37.32
Honor A.P.Santa Anita Derby (1st)1:48.97:37.63
Necker IslandIndiana Derby (3rd)1:49.60:37.75
Attachment RateEllis Park Derby (2nd)1:48.56:37.78
RushieBlue Grass Stakes (3rd)1:49.66:38.09
Winning ImpressionEllis Park Derby (7th)1:50.27:38.19
Sole VolanteBelmont Stakes (6th)1:48.93:38.21
AuthenticSanta Anita Derby (2nd)1:49.48:38.39
Finnick the FierceBlue Grass Stakes (7th)1:50.14:38.53
King GuillermoArkansas Derby Division II (2nd)1:48.84:38.66
Ny TrafficHaskell Stakes (2nd)1:50.46:38.78
Storm the CourtArkansas Derby Division II (6th)1:50.34:40.07

Tiz the Law is the emphatic leader in this metric as well, 0.23 seconds ahead of the rest of the field, so if you’ve been wondering if Tiz the Law really is a lock, this is another number to add to his resume. It is worth noting, though, that the Belmont Stakes – shortened to 1 1/8 miles this year – was run with just one turn, instead of two. Most 1 1/8 mile races have a second turn, and it is harder to deliver that fast final fraction with the second turn. However, at the Travers Stakes on August 8, Tiz the Law finished the last 3/8 in :36.76, winning by 5 ½ lengths. So the number is convincing.

Matchup Betting?

Looking for some betting on horse racing that comes from a different angle? At JAZZ Sports we offer matchup betting – head to head between horses.

For example, at Florida’s Gulfstream Park for August 28.

The Races

Race #1

I Get It                                     -150

Katiesdreamgirl                         +115

Race #1

New Delhi                                  -135

Katiesdreamgirl                         +105

Race #2

Bastien Le Brown                      -135

Emit                                        +105

Race #2

Silver Dollar City                       -215

Firstcadete                              +160

Race #3

Magical Cause                           -155

Gray Bullet                              +120

Race #3

El Gran Pichon                          -185

Discreet Danny                      +140

Race #4

Galileos Ballerina                     -165

Chez Paree                            +125

Race #4

Afficionado                             -165

Maries Melody                       +125

Race #5

Beyond Heavenly                   -150

Too Blessed                        +115

Race #5

Strong Azteca                       -140

Najwa                                  +105

Race #6

Septemberten                       -220

Royal Duke                          +165

Race #6

Free Flay                             +105

New York Style                   -140

Race #7

Sarasota County                  -170

Small Fortune                     +130

Race #7

Cable Channel                      -170

Kobe Fifty Two                    +130

Race #8

Town Classic                        -185

Allurstra                             +140

Race #8

Ellas My Love                     +105

Stone Hands                       -135

Race #9

Samurai Fighter                  -160

Viburnum                          +120

Race #9

Blue Paynt                        -115

Zap Mama                         -115

Give an edge to your horse-betting with Horse Racing Tote’s daily content, written by the sharpest racing pundits out there!