With 142 interests on William Hill US’ board to win the 2019 Kentucky Derby, one thing is apparent: If you have a strong opinion and plan to play the Las Vegas futures, bet a horse before his next start.
Heading into the New Year, for instance, you could land Sham Stakes (G3) winner Gunmetal Gray at 60-1, or Holy Bull (G2) hero Harvey Wallbanger at 125-1. That’s no longer as we edge closer to the first Saturday in May and true Derby contenders are emerging.
The latest odds provided Sunday — and we thank William Hill for rushing them over amid the Super Bowl frenzy — show familiar top choices in Game Winner (9-2), Improbable (7-1) and Coliseum (8-1). At least in one notable instance, however, there was little chance to get a price on a top 3-year-old.
Hidden Scroll, who debuted January 26 by registering the best Beyer Speed Figure of his crop, shows as opening at 75-1. He’s already down to 14-1, listed only behind those mentioned above along with Instagrand (10-1), Mucho Gusto (12-1) and Maximus Mischief (12-1).
According to Gulfstream Park publicity, Hidden Scroll, a Juddmonte Farms homebred by Hard Spun, is pointing toward his Derby trail debut in the March 2 Fountain of Youth (G2). The Bill Mott trainee emerged on the recent Pegasus World Cup undercard with a 14-length win in the slop, earning a 104 Beyer — same as Justify did in his post-New Year’s Day debut last year.
A few of the higher prices that stick out:
• Frosted Ice (100-1) is a New York-bred stakes winner who looks all of a two-turn horse, and trainer Ron Moquett has handled him patiently with the Rebel Stakes (G2) at Oaklawn Park a target.
• Omaha Beach (80-1) hit our Derby Radar over the weekend with a sharp maiden win at Santa Anita Park. As with Hidden Scroll, proceed with caution. He did it over a sloppy track.
• Country House (80-1) and Tacitus (75-1) are two others for Mott who will could take major steps forward next. Both are possible for Saturday’s Sam F. Davis (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs along with So Alive (100-1), the half-brother of Vino Rosso who beat winners in his last start.
• Nitrous (75-1) looked like a good one early in his 2-year-old season but didn’t quite live up to that hype. Back in a minor stakes Jan. 27 at Sunland Park, he missed the break but recovered to win his two-turn debut.