Will Kentucky Derby Winner Take the Triple Crown? Odds & Props for the 2018 Run for the Roses

  • The 2018 Kentucky Derby will take place at Churchill Downs this Saturday (May 6). 
  • Will any horse follow in American Pharoah’s footsteps and win the 2018 Triple Crown?
  • More importantly, how many fans will be arrested? (Probably depends on how many mint juleps are consumed.)

The Kentucky Derby is always one of the biggest betting events on the calendar, and 2018 will be no different. Common folk dreaming of riches will construct $2 superfectas hoping to become instant millionaires, while others play it safe and put $5 on the favorite to show.

The post positions and early odds have been set for this year’s race. Justify (3/1) is the early favorite, followed by Mendelssohn (5/1), and Magnum Moon (6/1):

PostHorseML Odds
1Firenze Fire50-1
2Free Drop Billy30-1
3Promises Fulfilled30-1
6Good Magic12-1
8Lone Sailor50-1
10My Boy Jack30-1
11Bolt D'Oro8-1
15Instilled regard50-1
16Magnum Moon6-1
18Vino Rosso12-1
19Noble Indy30-1

But before the 144th “Run for the Roses” goes this Saturday (May 6), the MTS team is expanding on the props available. While you can’t actually wager on our propositions, below, you can use them to have some fun with your friends or just gain some insight into what to expect at Churchill Downs this weekend.

2018 Triple Crown Odds

Odds of a Triple-Crown winner in 2018: 7/1

Think there’s a super-horse like American Pharaoh in this year’s field? We don’t.

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Odds the same horse wins the Derby and the Preakness: 5/2

There have been 23 horses that have won the first two legs of the Triple Crown.

Odds the same horse wins the Derby and the Belmont: 9/2

Only 11 horses have pulled off the Derby/Belmont double (not counting Triple-Crown winners).

Odds any horse wins two legs of the Triple Crown: 5/6

When you add in the 18 horses that have won the Preakness and the Belmont, 52 total horses have won two legs.

Odds a different horse wins each leg of the Triple Crown: 6/5

2018 Kentucky Derby Odds

Over/Under winning margin (in lengths): 1¾ lengths

Three of the last six Kentucky Derbies were decided by less than 1½ lengths.

Over/Under winning time: 2:02.99

Odds Secretariat’s record time (1:59.40) is broken: 49/1

Odds the winner leads wire to wire: 11/1

Twenty-two winners have gone wire to wire, but none since War Emblem in 2002.

Odds a horse goes from last to first within the race: 32/1

Far less common than leading wire to wire is coming from dead-last to win. But it has been done (eight times, in fact), including in 2009 by Mine That Bird, a 50/1 longshot.


Odds a horse falters out of the gate: 79/1

In the last five years, all but one horse (Thunder Snow, 2017) has gotten out of the gate clean. These horses are well trained. If they get in the gate, count on them starting without incident.

Odds a horse wins from the outside posts (no. 15 and up): 5/2

It’s actually pretty common for the winner to come from the outside gate, but the biggest favorites are on the inside gate this year and in pretty good posts, to boot: Justify (3/1) drew no. 7, while Mendelssohn (5/1) is in no. 14. Magnum Moon (6/1) drew no. 16 and has the shortest odds of the horses in the outside gates.

Odds a photo finish is required to determine the winner: 10/1

Jockeys & Owners at the 2018 Kentucky Derby

Odds the tallest jockey wins: 7/2

Jose Ortiz (Good Magic, 12/1) and Ryan Moore (Mendelssohn, 5/1) both stand a stately 5’7.

Odds the shortest jockey wins: 25/1 

Paco Lopez (Firenze Fire, 50/1) and Drayden Van Dyke (Instilled Regard, 50/1) are tied for shortest in the field at 5’0.

Odds a jockey loses his pants during the race/moons the camera: 499/1

If this ⇓ is going to happen during the Triple Crown …

…it won’t be at the prim and proper Derby. It will be at the Preakness, where the fans trade sipping on mint juleps for high-stepping on port-o-potties.

Kentucky Derby Fans & Viewers

Odds attendance exceeds 2017 (158,070): 1/1

Attendance has trended down the last couple years, since an attendance record was set in 2015 (170,513).

Odds TV ratings are up vs 2017: 2/1

Despite fewer fans packing the grandstands at Churchill Downs, ratings were sky-high for the Derby last year. The broadcast scored the second-best ratings of the last quarter decade, up 12% from the year prior. That will be tough to beat.

Odds it rains during the race or the track is wet: 1/4

Brace for rain, folks. Maybe wear a hat?


Over/Under largest winning bet (payout) at Churchill Downs on May 5: $99,000

Over/Under number of mint juleps sold at Churchill Downs on Derby weekend: 115,000

Liberal estimates say around 120,000 are sold each year.

Over/Under arrests at Churchill Downs: 9.5

Ok, maybe the fans in attendance are not as prim and proper as previously suggested. There were eight arrests last year, and 14 the year before that.

Odds a fan streaks the track: 5/1

But still, who streaks anymore?

Odds a horse jumps the rail/streaks the spectator area: 999/1
Luckily, Captain Matthews won’t be in the starting gate on Sunday.


Odds a fan hijacks a horse: 2000/1

Nah. Even when this has happened at other tracks in the past, it’s been a set-up.


Odds a fan parachutes onto the track: 499/1

Fan Man (a.k.a. James Miller) hasn’t been heard from in quite some time.


Odds a track reporter falls of their horse: 74/1

Interviews like this have become Derby mainstays, and one day, the reporter’s horse is going to get into a tiff with the race horse, and then all bets will be off, so to speak.



Alexander is the MTS editor-in-chief. Frank, Alex, and Geoff brought him in when they realized that their betting expertise far surpassed their grammatical abilities. He loves overanalyzing college basketball trends. Talking to him during the first weekend of March Madness is like talking to a wall. A very focused wall, but a wall nonetheless.

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