Four Kentucky Derby longshots who can beat favored Fierceness

The 150th running of the Kentucky Derby begins a little before 7 p.m. EDT on Saturday. And though it draws viewership comparable to NFL games, it is likely the only horse race casual sports fans will watch, or bet on, in any given year.

There are a few things to keep in mind when looking for the winning wager from within the 20-horse field. The first is that the post-time favorite ends up in the winner’s circle only 35 percent of the time. It happened last in 2018 with Justify.

Those statistics do not portend well for Fierceness. The morning line favorite at 5-2 and most likely to go off as the most-bet horse in the field up until the start of the race is the reigning Champion 2-year-old. Fierceness delivered the most impressive win of any final Derby prep race, a 13 1/2 length romp in the Florida Derby.

Fierceness figures to attract a lot of money in the pari-mutuel pool.

This will result in long odds on other quality horses, opening the door for a nice payday for bettors who can identity a colt that pulls off the upset.

Here are a few contenders sitting on a high price Friday morning that bear watching Saturday night:

Just Steel (morning line odds 20-1).
The son of the aforementioned Justify is highly seasoned – the Derby will be his 12th career start – and is coming off his most impressive outing. In his last start in the Arkansas Derby, Just Steel raced wide throughout, digging in deep stretch to gain on eventual winner Muth. Muth is an elite 3-year-old, on par with Fierceness, but is ineligible for the Derby as he is trained by Bob Baffert, who is serving a suspension from Churchill Downs after his 2011 Derby winner, Medina Spirit, failed a post-race drug test. Just Steel is trained by Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lucas, who has conditioned four Derby winners.

Stronghold (morning line odds 20-1).
It’s rare that the winner of a major Derby prep gets away at 20-1 and that will likely not be the case for this colt by post time. Coming off a gritty win in the Santa Anita Derby, Stronghold battled Imagination, another Baffert trained colt who won’t be at Churchill Downs, in a stretch duel, pulling away by to win by a neck. Stronghold has finished first or second in each of his six career starts, breaking his maiden at Churchill Downs in October.

Resilience (morning line odds 20-1).
As was the case with Stronghold, Resilience is coming off a win in a major prep race as he captured the Wood Memorial by 2 1/4 lengths. However, he beat a field considered to be weak, in fact the Wood hasn’t produced a Derby winner since Fusaichi Pegasus in 2000, and his winning time of 1:50.28 for the 1 1/8-miles was the slowest of the major preps. Still, Resilience is also trained by a Hall of Famer in Bill Mott, who won the Derby in 2019 with Country House.

Domestic Product (morning line odds 30-1).
The big negative with this colt is the layoff. His last outing came eight weeks ago when he edged No More Time at the wire to take the Tampa Bay Derby. However, in his previous start he finished second in the Holy Bull ahead of Fierceness. And he will be ridden for the first time in the Derby by Irad Ortiz Jr., the country’s winningest jockey to date this year.

–Tim Dwyer, Field Level Media