The quest for the Triple Crown begins Saturday at Churchill Downs with the 2019 Kentucky Derby. It took 37 years since Affirmed captured the Kentucky Derby, Preakness, and Belmont Stakes in 1978 for another colt to earn horse racing's biggest honor when American Pharoah did it in 2015. Last year, it happened again when Justify won the Kentucky Derby at 5-2 odds en route to another Triple Crown. On Saturday, a new batch of 2019 Kentucky Derby contenders hit the dirt at Churchill Downs, but early favorite Omaha Beach won't be one of them after scratching with a breathing issue. Now, the Jason Servis-trained Maximum Security is the favorite at 4-1 in the current 2019 Kentucky Derby odds. In all, a whopping nine horses are getting better than 20-1 Kentucky Derby odds, including three trained by Bob Baffert. With such a deep and talented field in the gate for the 6:50 p.m. ET post time, you'll want to hear what longtime horse racing handicapper Hammerin' Hank Goldberg has to say before placing any 2019 Kentucky Derby picks of your own.
A legendary prognosticator and current CBS Sports expert, Goldberg couldn't have been more dead-on about the 2018 Kentucky Derby. He picked Justify to win, saying he excelled in the slop. The result: Justify sloshed to victory over Good Magic in the rain and mud by two-and-a-half lengths.
The reason Goldberg has been so successful: He goes straight to the source. Last year at the Kentucky Derby, for example, Goldberg chatted up Gary Young, who timed workouts in California and had watched Justify race. "Justify kept getting bigger and stronger," Goldberg told SportsLine. "I also talked to Baffert's camp. They know how to train a competitive horse. I knew Justify would win the Derby and Preakness."
The year before, he chatted up Chad Brown, the trainer for Cloud Computing, before the Preakness. "He was training off the charts, was Chad's top horse all year, and had a tough trip in the Wood Memorial," Goldberg said. "Brown skipped him for the Kentucky Derby, rested him, and trained him up for the Preakness." When Goldberg learned Javier Castellano was getting off Gunnevera to ride Cloud Computing, the Hammer pounced on the 14-1 longshot to win and put him on top of his exacta, trifecta, and superfecta bets. The result: Cloud Computing beat Classic Empire in one of the most thrilling Triple Crown races ever.
Goldberg has gotten the 2019 season off to a strong start by nailing the winning horse in the Pegasus World Cup, the richest horse race in North America. He also nailed the exacta at the Gotham Stakes, Rebel Stakes and Arkansas Derby. Anyone who has followed Goldberg's lead is way up.
Now with the Run for the Roses quickly approaching, Goldberg is releasing his 2019 Kentucky Derby picks over at SportsLine.
We can tell you Goldberg is high on By My Standards, a long shot at 15-1 Kentucky Derby odds. He took part in just one Kentucky Derby prep race, the Louisiana Derby, where he beat fellow 2019 Kentucky Derby contenders Spinoff, Country House and race favorite War of Will for the victory.
By My Standards comes in well-rested, with more than a month since the race at the Fair Grounds, and he's turned heads with his training times at Churchill Downs over the last week. Goldberg also believes his No. 3 post, which he drew on Tuesday, will benefit his stalking style. "He's been getting plenty of talk because he's training so well and his post position benefits him," Goldberg told SportsLine. "By My Standards has a strong chance to hit the board and he'll have a very appealing price at the Kentucky Derby 2019."
Another shocker: Goldberg is fading Maximum Security, the top favorite in the Kentucky Derby 2019 at 4-1. Maximum Security hasn't been tested in four career starts, according to Goldberg. His first three wins, all sprint distances, were won by an average of nearly 12 lengths. He followed that up with a 3 1/2-length victory at the Florida Derby, qualifying him for Saturday's 145th Run for the Roses.
But Goldberg is of the belief that Maximum Security's road to the Derby has been a little too easy despite his impressive track record. In addition, Goldberg says the splits run in Florida weren't of a Kentucky Derby-winning quality.
"Maximum Security ran slow fractions at the Florida Derby and nobody challenged him," Goldberg told SportsLine. "The competition and the number of horses on the track are going up at Churchill Downs. I don't think he'll keep up in the 2019 Kentucky Derby."
Goldberg is also all over a darkhorse to compete for a win in the 2019 Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs. This horse has all the tools to put together a complete run against the world's top competition, and if this horse hits as Goldberg expects, you could be looking at a massive payout.
So what are Hammerin' Hank Goldberg's 2019 Kentucky Derby favorites and fades? And which huge underdog is a must-back? See the current 2019 Kentucky Derby odds below, then visit SportsLine now to see Goldberg's picks for the Kentucky Derby, and find out.
Maximum Security 4-1
Game Winner 6-1
Code of Honor 12-1
By My Standards 15-1
Win Win Win 15-1
War of Will 17-1
Cutting Humor 25-1
Gray Magician 31-1
Long Range Toddy 49-1
Master Fencer 50-1
Plus Que Parfait 55-1
Country House 64-1