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The home of intelligent horse racing discussion

Kentucky Derby 2024: Finding Value in the Run for the Roses

The 150th edition of the Kentucky Derby is looming on the horizon. The “fastest two minutes in sports” and one of the world’s biggest betting events will take place on 4th May, with the race going off at 6.45 PM ET (a quarter to midnight in the UK). As ever, there has been a bit of jostling among the favourites in the betting odds, with both Fierceness and Sierra Leone occupying position as market leader in recent weeks.

While Fierceness and Sierra Leone have been prominently mentioned among tipsters, there’s usually a fair bit of value to be found in the Kentucky Derby odds. As with other blue-chip events – the Melbourne Cup, Grand National – long-odds winners are just about as common as short-priced ones. In 2019, for instance, race winner Country House had morning line odds of 30/1 and was trading as high as 66/1 in the lead-up to the race. Three years later, Rich Strike won at odds of 80/1. It’s certainly a race that can reward value bettors.

Sierra Leone leads the way on points

That said, quality counts for much in the Run for the Roses, and it’s certainly not a lottery. Sierra Leone earned 155 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby qualification series, and Fierceness was the champion juvenile of 2023, winning the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile in fairly impressive fashion. You can back either for around 4/1 at the time of writing.

Next in the market comes Forever Young, the undefeated Japanese star who acts as something of a wild card in this one. Forever Young qualified for the 2024 Kentucky Derby by way of the UAE Derby in Dubai, having won the Saudi Derby a month beforehand. It was the latter, though, that really caught the eye, as Forever Young smashed the course record for that distance. Odds of around 8/1 make him an interesting prospect.

Honor Marie has the stamina to surprise

For big value, some tipsters have been singing the praises of Honor Marie, who is priced as high as the 35/1 mark in ante-post markets. He was well beaten, but certainly not embarrassed, by Sierra Leone in the G2 Risen Star in mid-February, and he had a good second-placed finish behind Catching Freedom (a 10/1 shot for the Kentucky Derby) in the Louisiana Derby in March.

Honor Marie isn’t the quickest, but the horse certainly has stamina in abundance. He looked like he had more left in the tank when winning the G2 Kentucky Jockey Club back in late November. If you can get odds of over 30/1, that smacks of each-way value. Honor Marie might not be the most eye-catching candidate lining up on the 4th of May, but the progeny of Honor Code has plenty in the tank and may make those odds look generous. Trainer Whit Beckman doesn’t have a huge amount of experience at this level, yet he is considered a precocious talent. He’s one to keep an eye on, eye if Honor Marie doesn’t deliver.


Of course, a case could be made for any of the runners that line up for the biggest race in the US calendar. Just a Touch, Endlessly and Dornoch can all be found at double-digit odds, and none would be considered a shock winner at Churchill Downs. It feels very open this year, and, without tempting fate, it doesn’t feel like a season where we will see a Triple Crown winner. However, that openness can be a boon for bettors, so keep an eye on the markets in the coming days to see if you can find some value in the 150th Kentucky Derby.