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What you need to know about the 2018 Kentucky Derby

With a little over six months still to pass before the 2018 Kentucky Derby, it may be a little early to decide who’s likely to win. There’s a lot of water to pass under the bridge, and a lot of horses to jump over fences, before that day in May. That didn’t, however, stop us from taking an incredibly early look at the 2017 race, and it’s not going to stop us looking at next year’s race now.

The early sportsbook odds are out already, which makes it an ideal time to look at who’s being favored for a good run even this far out. This early on, if you have a good feeling about a horse, is a decent time to place a speculative punt; the odds on even the favored horses are as long as they’re likely to get. If you feel lucky, this is when the iron is hot– so it’s a good time to strike.

What’s The Latest?

The ball has been set in motion by William Hill US unveiling their odds for the 2018 race. William Hill US, for those who may not know, are the offshoot of one of the biggest betting companies in the UK, who have been branching out worldwide and also feature on sites such as Casinomir. It’s a name inextricably linked with the racetrack in the UK, so it’s one to take seriously.

In William Hill US’ early odds, the horse deemed most likely to follow in the hoofbeats of 2017 winner Always Dreaming is Bolt d’Oro. Trained by Mick Ruis and ridden in all its three races so far by Corey Nakatani, the US-bred horse is unbeaten to this point. That’s a long way from saying it’s a sure thing, of course, but the 2-year-old Bay Colt was foaled on St. Patrick’s Day 2015. An omen for the luck of the Irish? Maybe.

Anyone Else?

Yes, it’s a 20-horse race, so 19 others will approach the line with Bolt d’Oro. However, there are more than 20 currently able to bet bet on, so the first thing is to make sure your chosen horse has a chance of actually being in the race.

This far out, nothing is certain, but Free Drop Billy is a good bet to at least be in the running and is backed by many to be 2018’s winner. This Chestnut Colt doesn’t share Bolt d’Oro’s unbeaten record, but has run well in his four outings against better competition, winning from 4/1 at Churchill Downs in June. Over the mile and a half it will face next May, the signs are encouraging; Robby Albarado has handled incremental increases in distance well up to now.

So Where’s The Smart Money?

It’s worth taking the time to hold onto your money for the moment, to see how your chosen horse fares in the races to come– particularly over a mile or longer, especially at Churchill Downs. Or, if you’re feeling adventurous enough to take a punt right now so you can grab those long odds, it’s hard to look past Bolt d’Oro.

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