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2024 Kentucky Derby predictions, horses, odds, contenders: Surprising picks by proven horse racing insider

One horse will complete a longshot journey from birth to the Kentucky Derby Winner’s Circle when the starting gate opens in the 2024 Kentucky Derby on Saturday at Churchill Downs. Three years ago, 19,201 thoroughbred foals were born in the United States. Fewer than half of those (9,270) have made at least one start, and just 3,529 have won a race. On Saturday, 20 Kentucky Derby horses, including two foaled in Japan, will leave the Kentucky Derby starting gate, and one will don the blanket of roses. Reigning 2-year-old champion Fierceness is the 5-2 favorite in the 2024 Kentucky Derby odds. Blue Grass Stakes winner Sierra Leone is the 3-1 second choice in the 2024 Kentucky Derby field.

The 2024 Kentucky Derby post time is 6:57 p.m. ET. With the Kentucky Derby annually featuring the largest field in North American racing, you’ll want to see what Santa Anita-based racing reporter and analyst Michelle Yu has to say before making any 2024 Kentucky Derby picks, considering the success she’s had handicapping this race.

Few people in racing are as well-connected as Yu. An on-air host and reporter who has provided racing analysis for TVG, HRTV and the Breeders’ Cup, Yu has spent a lifetime in racing. Prior to her television career, she worked for trainers Steve Asmussen and Ron Moquett. She also is married to Santa Anita-based trainer Ryan Hanson.

Yu also has tremendous handicapping chops. In a wide-open Kentucky Derby in 2021, she gave out Medina Spirit, who crossed the finish line first, as the winner at 12-1. In Pool 5 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager two years ago, she suggested a play on All Other 3-Year-Olds, which cashed at a whopping 18-1 when Rich Strike won the Derby.

Yu enters this year’s Kentucky Derby on a roll. She correctly called National Treasure to win the Pegasus World Cup. In the month leading up to the Kentucky Derby, she predicted Stronghold’s upset win in the Santa Anita Derby and smashed the exacta in the Apple Blossom Handicap.

For the first leg of the Triple Crown, Yu has handicapped the 2024 Kentucky Derby lineup, made her picks and constructed her best bets. You can head to SportsLine now to see them.

Top 2024 Kentucky Derby predictions

One surprise: Yu is fading Fierceness, even though he is the 5-2 Kentucky Derby favorite. A homebred of prominent racing owner Mike Repole, Fierceness is 3-for-5 in his career. He is coming off a dominant 13½-length win in the Florida Derby, the reason why he is the morning-line Kentucky Derby favorite, at 5-2.

However, Yu does not view his outside post position as a positive. With other speed in the starting gate, she believes Fierceness could get caught wide. “I can’t see him being a lonely leader again in the Derby, and he has thrown in the towel the two times someone eyeballed him,” Yu told SportsLine. See who else to fade here.

Another curveball: Yu is high on Just a Touch, even though he’s a longshot at 10-1 in the Kentucky Derby odds 2024. He’s a target for anyone looking for a huge payday. Trained by Brad Cox, Just a Touch has been impressive since his debut, winning his first race by more than four lengths. He is coming off a 1½-length defeat to Sierra Leone in the Blue Grass Stakes.

Though he is one of the most lightly raced horses in the 2024 Kentucky Derby posts, with just three career starts, inexperience has not been the disadvantage in the Kentucky Derby as it used to be. Horses with just three previous starts have won twice in the last six years. “This is the kind of year that a horse with one lifetime win can capture the blanket of roses with the right trip,” Yu told SportsLine. You can see all of Yu’s 2024 Kentucky Derby bets here.

How to make 2024 Kentucky Derby picks

Moreover, Yu’s top pick is a horse who “will be happy to get the added ground” at Churchill Downs. She’s also high on a massive double-digit longshot who “blew my doors off.” She is including these horses in her 2024 Kentucky Derby bets, and so should you. She’s sharing which 2024 Kentucky Derby horses to back at SportsLine.

So who wins the 2024 Kentucky Derby? What double-digit longshot is a must-back? And how has Yu constructed her wagers? Visit SportsLine to see Yu’s picks for the Kentucky Derby, all from the Santa Anita-based racing insider who has a long history of success in the Kentucky Derby, and find out. 

2024 Kentucky Derby odds, contenders

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

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