Union Rags Early Kentucky Derby Favourite

He went into Saturday’s $400,000 Fountain of Youth (G2) at Gulfstream Park as the early favourite to win the 2012 Kentucky Derby and Union Rags cemented his claim with a dominant win.

Jockey Julien Leparoux had an easy ride as the colt pulled away, winning by four lengths in a very impressive effort. Trained by Michael Matz, Union Rags moved to even shorter Kentucky Derby odds with the win.

He moved to 4/1 odds at most online racebooks.

The rest of pre-Derby field ate his dust as February drew to a close with El Padrino climbing into second spot in Derby futures with a terrific win in the $300,000 Risen Star (G2) at Fair Grounds.

He jumped up to 8/1 odds on most Kentucky Derby odds lists, while Algorhythms was parked with a foot injury and remained at 12/1. He is joined there by Alpha at 12/1 and some expert handicappers are not convinced he has the speed to contend in May.

Fed Biz and Out of Bounds were 15/1 at the end of February with key prep races on the horizon for all of them.

Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Secret Circle is also coming off a victory in the faster division of the Southwest (G3) at Oaklawn Park but needs to make hay on the Derby trail to earn a spot in the field of 20 on May 5.

The Kentucky Derby is the biggest horse racing event of the year, not so much for the horse community but for mainstream hype. For this reason, it is very important for the horse racing community to create plenty of buzz around Churchill Downs.

Last year’s winner was a longshot, Animal Kingdom and 50/1 longshot Mine That Bird also hit back in 2009. So bettors need to follow the progress of the favourites but also study the form of the other key horses.

Bettors are often wise to enlist the help of a horse handicapper who follows the horses all year round and always has key betting insights that elude new horse racing fans.

Good luck, bookmark the page and we’ll do our best to keep you on top of the Kentucky Derby betting situation in 2012.