Freakonomics Kentucky Derby annual predictions






(Photo: Florian Christoph)

(Photo: Florian Christoph)

Almost a decade of blogging has worn me down, but after a short break, I’m ready to jump in the saddle again. I can’t think of a better way than to embarrass myself with the annual Kentucky Derby Predictions!

I can’t remember the last time I was so excited about the Kentucky Derby.

It’s not that there is any particular horse that I have an emotional attachment to. It’s not that this year’s race has a particularly exciting storyline.

Nope. The reason is that I’m a gambler and unlike most years, the numbers coming out of my model tell me I should bet a lot of money on this year’s derby.

There are two likely favorites to bet on this year’s race: American Pharaoh and Dortmund. Favorites tend to be reasonable bets in horse racing due to a very pronounced bias. On average, players are overly optimistic about the odds of long shots winning compared to the favorites. Since the odds are determined by the players, it’s best to stick with the favorites.

My model, quite unusually, dislikes both favorites in this year’s Kentucky Derby. If I’m right (and those who follow my yearly predictions know I’m rarely wrong), that means there’s a good chance all three or four top finishers could be long shots. This means that the potential payouts for so-called “exotic” bets (such as picking the top three finishers in exact order) can be huge. Which, as a player, excites me!

My one and only favorite horse is Upstart, who is likely to be about 15-1.

I also like Tencendur, Bolo and Materiality. And if you want a really long shot – try Itsaknockout… but I’m guessing it will be 80-1 when the final odds are decided.

I always try to predict which horse finishes last (especially My this bird). My model does not see real bitches this year. But if I had to pick one bad horse, it would be Mr. Black. Z.

If you want to bet on the Derby, I have some good friends who have created a cool company that tries to make horse betting fun and easy for beginners. It is called Derby Jackpot. (I don’t have a financial interest in the Derby Jackpot, but my friends do and would love for you to come and bet with them.)

Good luck!