Heavy Favorites in Kentucky Derby Odds Rarely Win

While the horse looks great on paper it is worth noting that big heavy favorites in Kentucky Derby betting rarely win. Let’s take a look back into history and see how some of the bigger favorites have done.

Kentucky Derby odds are likely to list Eskendereya at 2-1 or less on Saturday, May 1st.  Since 2001 there has only been one horse that has gone off with odds of less than 2-1 and that was Point Given.  He went off at 9-5 and ended up finishing fifth.  The last horse to win as a huge favorite in the Kentucky Derby was Spectacular Bid in 1979. He won at odds of 3-5.  Eskendereya won’t be odds-on but he could definitely go off at less than 2-1.

In the 1980’s and 1990’s, big heavy favorites in Kentucky Derby odds were big losers.  Every single time a horse was made a huge favorite he went down in flames.  Chief’s Crown was 6-5 in 1985, the entry of Easy Goer and Awe Inspiring went off at 4-5 in 1989, Mister Frisky was 9-5 in 1990 and Arazi was 4-5 in 1992.  All of those horses lost.

Looking back at history in the Kentucky Derby when the field was at least 12 horses, 38 horses have gone off at odds of 2-1 or less. That goes back to 1946.  Twelve of those horses were coupled as an entry so there were really only 32 horses.  During that time only eleven of them were winners.  And those horses were heavily favored in Kentucky Derby betting. The 1970’s was the only decade where big favorites did well as Seattle Slew, Foolish Pleasure, Cannonade, Secretariat and Riva Ridge were winners. Between 1946 and 1969 there were only four huge favorites that won.

Favorites have historically struggled in the Kentucky Derby and while it seems weird, the bigger favorites have actually done worse.  Eskendereya is going to get a lot of support from gamblers on Saturday, May 1st but caution should be advised.   Just because a horse is popular with the public does not mean he will hit the winner’s circle.  Eskendereya could be the next great horse and a Triple Crown winner or he could join the long list of horses that have failed as big favorites in the Kentucky Derby.