Could Justify become just the 13th Triple Crown winner in the title’s 143-year history? Many horse bettors feel there’s now a decent chance.
After Justify dominated a strong Kentucky Derby field on Saturday at Churchill Downs, and many challengers announcing they won’t be in Maryland for the Preakness Stakes in two weeks, oddsmakers are greatly slashing their lines on a potential Triple Crown.
Prior to the Derby, online bookmaker Bovada set the Triple Crown prop bet at 11/2, or implied odds of 15 percent. Today, that same line is 3/2, or implied odds of 40 percent. A $100 wager and Justify going on to win the Preakness and Belmont Stakes nets the gambler $150.
“He came out of it really well,” Justify trainer Bob Baffert said of the horse’s physical condition after the Kentucky Derby. “He’s full of himself. He knows that he’s a stud. When he came out of the stall, he was pulling me around. Usually they are a little bit tired.”
Justify is naturally the favorite for the May 19 Preakness, with the Derby champ at 5/9 (implied odds 61.5 percent).
Good Magic and Audible, Saturday’s respective second and third-place finishers, are both questionable for the Preakness. Their trainers said the horses will be evaluated this week before a decision is made.
Their odds of winning the Preakness as of today are Audible (5/1), and Good Magic (6/1).
$18 Into $1.24M
As the gate opened, Justify’s odds closed at 5/2. While nearly everyone in the crowd of 157,813 presumably had some sort of wager on the race, it was a woman in Texas who stole the Kentucky Derby betting show.
Margaret Reid turned an $18 wager into $1.24 million by placing a “pick five” bet at the Retama Park racetrack in Selma, Texas.
Reid successfully picked the winning horse in races eight through #12 (Kentucky Derby). A few longshot selections made the $18 ticket offer such a large payout.
She took Limousine Liberal at 4/1 in the eighth race, then Maraud (8/1), Funny Duck in the 10th race at 40/1, Yoshida at 10/1, and then Justify. With all five winning, she pocketed $1.24 million.
$500 Into $150K
Another rather fortunate bettor with perhaps a bit more insight than most was rewarded handsomely on Justify’s win.
Wynn Las Vegas sportsbook director Johnny Avello told VSiN he offered “a very respected horsemen” 300/1 odds on a future bet on Justify that was placed in February. The individual wagered $500 for the colt to win the Kentucky Derby, and Saturday’s victory netted $150,000 on those long odds.
“I got a call from a guy I know, a very respected horseman,” Avello explained. “He says to me, ‘Johnny, I got a horse I want to bet in the future book.’ I said, ‘I’ll tell you what I’ll do. I’ll give you 250/1.'”
“He says, ‘Come on, Johnny.’ I said, ‘I’ll give you 300/1,'” the oddsmaker said of the bet.
Avello defended the offer by saying that no horse since 1882 had won the Kentucky Derby at three years old (Justify turned three on March 28). And in February, there was no guarantee Justify would even race in the Derby.