derby picks 2020

Derby picks 2020

There are no shortage of opinions and angles when handicapping the Kentucky Derby. With up to 20 horses leaving the starting gate on the First Saturday in May, let our experts help you find good plays and picks for your Kentucky Derby betting. Once you find your favorite personality or a good looking pick, head over to to back your pick with a $2 win bet!

Joe Kristufek

Churchill Downs, Fair Grounds and racing analyst Joe Kristufek began his career in his native Chicago, climbing the ladder at the local racing venues. The 1989 rivalry between Kentucky Derby winner Sunday Silence and his nemesis Easy Goer got Joe hooked on horse racing. A self-proclaimed “horse racing ambassador”, Joe’s industry experience spans from Dubai to Hong Kong to more than 35 tracks across North America. An award winning TV producer and fan development specialist, he relishes the challenge of scouting Kentucky Derby and Oaks hopefuls months in advance. From the infield to the suites and now the paddock, Joe has attended 15 Kentucky Derbies in person. Follow Joe on Twitter: @JoeyDaKRacing

Ed DeRosa

Ed DeRosa is director of marketing for, the official data source of the Kentucky Derby and Ed joined Churchill Downs Inc. in July 2011 following nine years as a writer and editor with Thoroughbred Times. He grew up in Cleveland and learned to love horse racing while going to Thistledown (now known as Jack Thistledown) with his grandfather. Before 2015, Ed had never seen a Triple Crown winner; he still hasn’t seen an Indians World Championship. Ed’s favorite horses are Real Quiet, Ghostzapper, and Rachel Alexandra. Follow Ed on Twitter: @EJXD2

James Scully

James Scully writes/handicaps for, and He started working for in 1998. A graduate of Transylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky, James has been a lifelong University of Kentucky and Cincinnati Bengals/Reds fan. He remembers watching Seattle Slew on TV and attended his first Kentucky Derby in 1981 (Pleasant Colony). Follow James on Twitter: @James_Scully111

Kellie Reilly

Kellie Reilly, a staff writer in the Editorial Department at, is a regular contributor to the blog and Her articles have also been featured on and in the official Kentucky Derby program. Kellie’s academic background is in history, culminating in an M.A. from her hometown University of New Orleans. A racing fan since childhood, Kellie is especially interested in pedigrees and the international racing scene. Follow Kellie on Twitter: @GallantFox1930

Vance Hanson

Vance Hanson is a contributing writer and editor for, and with over 20 years of Thoroughbred racing experience. Prior to joining the Churchill Downs Inc. family, he served as a publicity assistant at Canterbury Park in Minnesota, where he began following the sport in the late 1980s, and as a handicapper/writer for Daily Racing Form in Lexington, Kentucky. Follow Vance on Twitter: @VPHanson

Scott Shapiro

Scott Shapiro handicaps thoroughbred racing for Twin, is part of the Churchill Downs on-air simulcast team, and analyzes professional football, PGA golf, and college basketball for Bet Scott fell in love with thoroughbred racing when his father took him to Garden State Park in 1985 to see Kentucky Derby winner Spend A Buck race in the Jersey Derby instead of the Preakness Stakes. Scott graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1996 and remains a die-hard Badger football and basketball fan today. His favorite horses are A.P. Indy, Fly So Free, Victory Gallop, and Ghostzapper.

Follow Scott on Twitter: @ScottShap34

Expert Picks at the Kentucky Derby. The 2021 Kentucky Derby is the 147th renewal of The Greatest Two Minutes in Sports. Live odds, betting, horse bios, travel info, tickets, news, and updates from Churchill Downs Race Track.

Kentucky Derby horses, odds, expert picks & more for second leg of 2020 Triple Crown

The most unusual Triple Crown horse racing season in history will finally continue Saturday, Sept. 5 (7:01 p.m. ET post time, NBC) with the 2020 Kentucky Derby. The first jewel was postponed from the first Saturday in May, which now makes it the second jewel.

Tiz The Law, which cruised to victory at the Belmont Stakes on June 20 and followed that up with another big win at the Travers Stakes on Aug. 8, will be looking to keep his Triple Crown hopes alive and well ahead of the Preakness (Oct. 3), trading his home-state tracks in New York for Churchill Downs.

Which other horses are competing in “The Run for the Roses” and what should be expected to happen in the 1-1/4 mile race? Here’s a complete breakdown of the field and expert predictions for the results of the coronavirus-delayed Kentucky Derby:

Kentucky Derby horses 2020

Here’s a snapshot of the 18 horses in the field for the second leg of the Triple Crown, including who’s riding them and who trains them:

Post position Horse Jockey Trainer
1 Finnick The Fierce Martin Garcia Rey Hernandez
2 Max Player Ricardo Santana Jr. Steve Asmussen
3 Enforceable Adam Beschizza Mark Casse
4 Storm the Court Flavien Prat Peter Eurton
5 Major Fed James Graham Greg Foley
6 King Guillermo Samy Camacho Juan Carloa Avila
7 Money Moves Javier Castellano Todd Pletcher
8 South Bend Jose I. Ortiz William I. Mott
9 Mr. Big News Gabriel Saez Bret Calhoun
10 Thousand Words Florent Geroux Bob Baffert
11 Necker Island Miguel Mana Chris Hartman
12 Sole Volante Luca Panici Patrick Biancone
13 Attachment Rate Joe Talamo Dale Romans
14 Winning Impression Joe Rocco Jr. Dallas Stewart
15 Ny Traffic Paco Lopez Saffie Joseph Jr.
16 Honor A.P. Mike Smith John Shirreffs
17 Tiz The Law Manny Franco Barclay Tagg
18 Authentic John Velazquez Bob Baffert

Kentucky Derby odds

Here’s another look at all the horses ranked by their latest early morning line odds from Churchill Downs and how those compare to their initial odds at Sports Insider

Horse Sports Insider odds Live odds
Tiz The Law +150 4-5
Honor A.P. +500 8-1
Authentic +800 9-1
Thousand Words Scratched Scratched
Ny Traffic +7500 14-1
King Guillermo Scratched Scratched
Max Player +1600 17-1
Enforceable +4000 23-1
Money Moves N/A 14-1
Sole Volante +2500 31-1
Finnick The Fierce Scratched Scratched
Storm The Court N/A 26-1
Major Fed +6600 34-1
South Bend N/A 34-1
Mr. Big News N/A 46-1
Winning Impression N/A 51-1
Necker Island N/A 48-1
Attachment Rate N/A 49-1

How will Tiz The Law fare in the second leg of the Triple Crown?

Tiz The Law is in position to dominate the 3-year-old thoroughbreds again. He is 6-1 in his career since last August and after emerging as a heavy Belmont favorite for rolling in the Florida Derby, he’s gotten stronger, pulling away equally impressively at the Travers less than a month ago.

That was a great tuneup to show the layoff hasn’t created rust on Tiz The Law and the rest has been very beneficial as he chases the final two jewels with less than a month in between. There are only two horses in the Derby that also competed in the Belmont with him: third-place Max Player and sixth-place Sole Volante.

Tiz The Law has a strong all-around edge with his experience, confidence and talent. Tagg and Franco also will have him well prepared for the distance and the magnitude of the Kentucky Derby won’t overwhelm him with May-like sunny weather in store for Saturday in Louisville.

Who is the biggest threat to upset Tiz The Law?

Honor A.P. , who boasts A.P. Indy as grandsire, gives the horse pedigree all the way up to Derby immortals Seattle Slew and Secretariat. He has fresh legs after not going in the Belmont. The last win also came in June, in the Santa Anita Derby two weeks before Belmont.

With most horses as longshots vs. Tiz The Law, Honor A.P. and Authentic are the clear best of the rest with Max Player fading.

Which post position is the most favorable in the Kentucky Derby?

In Kentucky Derby history, no post position has produced more winners than No. 5 with 10 over 145 years. No. 10 comes in second with nine winners. That’s more of an advantage for Thousand Words than Major Fed.

Next in line is post position No. 8, with 8 winners, including Mine That Bird in 2009 and Barbaro in 2006. in 2018, Justify became the lucky seventh horse to win from No. 7, following Street Sense in, yep, you guessed it, 2007. So feel better about Money Moves making moves, but less so about South Bend.

Being near the rail has been bad news of late. It’s been 33 years since Ferdinand won from No. 1, and 41 years since Affirmed won from No. 2. That latter history is a big additional blow to Max Player’s chances.

The sweet spot in recent years has been anywhere outside No. 12. In reverse order back to 2008, such winners include Country House (No. 20), Nyquist (No. 13), American Pharoah (No. 18), Orb (No. 16), I’ll Have Another (No. 19), Animal Kingdom (No. 16) and Big Brown (No. 20).

The one exception is No. 17, which has never produced a Derby winner in 40 tries, a curse Tiz The Law should reverse.

Which trainers have had the best Kentucky Derby success?

Barclay Tagg got his first Belmont win with Tiz The Law. He previously won both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness with Funny Cide in in 2003. He should feel very confident about adding a fourth Triple Crown win after completing the circuit 17 years later.

Legendary Bob Baffert, who didn’t have a Belmont Stakes entry in 2020, is hoping that either Authetnic or Thousand Words can channel his Triple Crown winners Justify (2018) and American Pharoah (2015) to get him at least one jewel, something that didn’t happen last year.

For John Shirreffs, it’s been 15 years since Giacomo got him his lone Derby win in 2005. He’s trying again with the strong Honor A.P.

Mark Casse, with Enforceable, is looking for his first Kentucky Derby win after leading two horses, War of Will and Sir Winston, to his respective first two Triple Crown wins at the Preakness and Belmont last year.

Steve Asmussen also has fared well at Preakness (two wins) and Belmont (one win) but the Kentucky Derby has eluded him too. He will try to change that witih Max Player, who showed behind Tiz The Law and Dr. Post at this year’s Belmont.

Which jockeys have had the best Kentucky Derby success?

Mike Smith, aboard Honor A.P., and John Velazquez, riding Authentic are each looking for their third Kentucky Derby win. Smith won with Giacomo for Shirreffs and Justify for Baffert. Velazquez delivered for Todd Pletcher with Always Dreaming in 2017 after first doing so for H. Graham Motion with Animal Kingdom in 2011.

Manny Franco came through nicely for his breakthrough at Belmont and that will help him at the Derby, easing some of the favorite pressure with Tiz The Law. He is young but has a strong recent big winning experience in relation to the rest of the field. Smith and Velazquez present enough challenges with their solid contenders.

Here's a complete breakdown of the horses in the 2020 Kentucky Derby, including updated betting odds and picks from our expert for the coronavirus-delayed Triple Crown race.