Biggest Kentucky Derby upsets: Comparing odds for full list of long-shot sleepers to win | Sporting News

Biggest Kentucky Derby upsets: Comparing odds for full list of long-shot sleepers to win | Sporting News

As we race ever closer toward the 150th running of the Kentucky Derby, the majority of discussions regarding contenders for the first leg of the Triple Crown have revolved around favorites Fierceness and Sierra Leone. However, as horse racing enthusiasts and seasoned bettors know, race-day betting value typically lies outside the projected winners.

Since 1908, only 40 of the 116 Kentucky Derby favorites have won. That’s a success rate of under 35 percent, which happens to be about as often as favorites win all major horse races. No wonder fans and bettors love finding value bets and sleepers.

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Two years ago, Rich Strike won the 2022 Kentucky Derby as an 80-to-1 long shot (the second-longest odds for a Derby winner of all time). Reigning champion Mage won at 15-to-1 last year, Country House won in 2019 at 65-1, I’ll Have Another took it down in 2012 at 15-1, and Animal Kingdom prevailed in 2011 at 20-1. 

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Here are the top-value sleepers and best long-shot bets on FanDuel Racing for the 2024 Kentucky Derby.

Best Kentucky Derby 2024 sleepers 

All odds courtesy of FanDuel Racing.

Honor Marie (20-1 or +2000)

Honor Marie has graced Sporting News’ best bets, its top trifectas and exactas, and now its sleepers column. With a great post position (7th), strong positional speed, and a proven track record as a closer, Honor Marie could be the next 20-to-1 horse etched into the Kentucky Derby history books.

Trained by Whit Beckman, who has served as an assistant to race legends Todd Pletcher, Eoin Harty and Chad Brown, Honor Marie has plenty of experience at Churchill Downs. He won his career debut at Churchill Downs at two years old and then emerged victorious at the Grade II Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes two months later. 

Few horses in this year’s field possess the top-line speed figures and excellent stamina that Honor Marie has exhibited over the past year. The only concerns many sharps and analysts have voiced pertain to the course conditions, as scattered thunderstorms have been forecasted for the day. However, Honor Marie has experience with wet and muddy tracks, so the value at these odds remains strong.

MORE: Latest weather updates for the Kentucky Derby

Domestic Product (30-1 or +3000)

Over five career starts, Domestic Product has two wins and one second-place finish. Notably, that runner-up finish saw the three-year-old colt finish just ahead of Derby favorite Fierceness.

With a solid reputation as a fighter and closer, a fantastic trainer in Chad Brown, and four-time Eclipse Award winner Irad Ortiz Jr. as his jockey, Domestic Product has a solid shot at contending for the first leg of the Triple Crown.

The Sporting News’ Jacob Camenker listed Domestic Product as his second-favorite sleeper in the field.

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Resilience (20-1 or +2000)

Resilience stormed onto the scene with a maiden victory at Gulfstream Park on New Year’s Day. He then faltered a bit until famed trainer Bill Mott added blinkers, which worked like a charm when Resilience won the recent G2 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct by 2 1/4 lengths. 

As his name suggests, Resilience has little to no trouble with longer tracks or wet conditions.

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Stronghold (20-1 or +2000)

Stronghold appears to be flying under the radar in most betting discussions leading up to this weekend, which is surprising considering the colt won the G1 Santa Anita Derby (a big Derby prep race) and seems like one of the better long-track runners in the field.

He might not be an ideal bet to win outright, but throwing Stronghold into a five-horse box wager makes plenty of sense.

MORE: When was the last Triple Crown winner?

Top Kentucky Derby long-shot bet

Grand Mo the First (50-1 or +5000)

With strong pedigree for a long shot, Grand Mo the First seems ready-made for the length of the Kentucky Derby. He recently impressed with third-place finishes in the Florida Derby and Tampa Bay Derby, and could turn heads if he can quickly make up for a tough post position at 16.

Don’t bet the farm hoping for an outright upset, though. Grand Mo’s only wins have come on synthetic tracks and in comfortable weather conditions, and his speed figures measure poorly compared to the rest of the field.

Kentucky Derby picks 2024: Odds to win

Odds are from FanDuel Racing. Pos. = post position.

Pos. Horse Odds
1 Dornoch 20-1
2 Sierra Leone 3-1
3 Mystik Dan 20-1
4 Catching Freedom 8-1
5 Catalytic 30-1
6 Just Steel 20-1
7 Honor Marie 20-1
8 Just a Touch 10-1
9 Encino 20-1
10 T O Password 30-1
11 Forever Young 10-1
12 Track Phantom 20-1
13 West Saratoga 50-1
14 Endlessly 30-1
15 Domestic Product 30-1
16 Grand Mo the First 50-1
17 Fierceness 5-2
18 Stronghold 20-1
19 Resilience 20-1
20 Society Man 50-1
21 Epic Ride` 50-1

What is the best pole position in horse racing?

As Sporting News’ Edward Sutelan wrote ahead of the 2023 Kentucky Derby, “there is no right answer for the best pole position. The locations have different advantages and disadvantages based on the horses and the races.”

That said, the horses drawing the lower post numbers have typically performed the best. The most winners have come from the No. 5 gate, while nine have come from No. 10 and No. 8 and eight have come each from No. 1 and No. 7. After the 10th gate, No. 15 has been the only double-digit with more than five wins.

Here is the history of how many winners came from each post position since the starting game was opened in 1930:

Total Kentucky
Derby winners
1 8
2 7
3 5
4 5
5 10
6 2
7 8
8 9
9 4
10 9
11 2
12 3
13 5
14 2
15 6
16 4
17 0
18 2
19 1
20 2

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