© Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

2017 Kentucky Derby Breakdown

Horse racing guru Jody Demling is on a ridiculous streak entering Saturday's Kentucky Derby: He's won eight straight Kentucky Oaks-Derby doubles, picking the winners of both races on his betting ticket. While Saturday's Run for the Roses has been billed as wide open, Demling considers it a two-horse race. He's very confident in who's going to the winner's circle, and he'll tell you why. He also has a big favorite struggling to finish in the Top 5.

The wagering possibilities at Churchill Downs this weekend are endless with 27 races covering two days. Of course, there are the typical wagers of win, place, show, daily double, exacta, trifecta and superfecta, among others. But the best bet of the weekend? It’s the multi-day bet known as the Oaks-Derby Double. You try to pick the winners of the Kentucky Oaks -- the race for 3-year-old fillies – on Friday and the Kentucky Derby on Saturday. I've hit it eight straight years (but who's counting?)...

If you pull off this bet, you'll likely score a good return.

A Churchill Downs official told me, "There are few of them better” when asked about where the Oaks-Derby Double ranks in his eyes.

The average payout for the Oaks-Derby Double since its inception in 1999 is $318.11 on a $2 ticket and that is with the bet paying $58, $37 and $16 the last three years.

The highest payout ever was in 2002 when the ticket returned $1,395.

I must confess my infatuation with the bet not only has to do with the return but with the success I’ve had wagering on the Oaks-Derby Double. I’ve hit the wager eight years in a row, a stretch in which the average return on a $2 bet has been $261.

It’s a bet you have to think about, and calculate your options long before the Oaks post on Friday afternoon. And don’t be afraid to single out a horse in either race if you have real strong feelings about one.

I loved Rachel Alexandra, who ran away with the Oaks in ’09, and singled her out with the field in the Derby. Long shot Mine That Bird won and I cashed $237.40.

Two years later, Plum Pretty was a single on my ticket in the Oaks and the double with Animal Kingdom paid $345.60.

Even when Derby favorite Orb won in ’13, I hit because I singled Orb in the Derby. Princess of Sylmar at 38-1 captured the Oaks and the wager paid $621.

So be smart and make a good wager on the Oaks-Derby double.

The easiest play this year is to single Paradise Woods in the Oaks. She’s 2-for-3 and looks like she could be the best of the group of fillies. A $2 ticket would cost you $40 on that one, but you want to go deeper?

It is expected to rain Friday, which could bring a sloppy track, which means the Oaks could have an upset.

I’d take all 14 entries in the Oaks and wheel them with two horses in the Derby. I’ll say Always Dreaming and Irish War Cry. That ticket would be $56.

And to make it an even $100 wager for you, take Salty -- the Mark Casse filly -- and bet her with his two horses in the Derby: Classic Empire and State of Honor.

That’s $100 and if you win, the likelihood of catching a good price is there.


5 Always Dreaming John Velazquez 1
17 Irish War Cry Rajiv Maragh 2
15 McCraken Brian Hernandez 3
8 Hence Florent Geroux 4
14 Classic Empire Julien Leparoux 5
2 Thunder Snow Christophe Soumillon 6
10 Gunnevera Javier Castellano 7
18 Gormley Victor Espinoza 8
13 J Boys Echo Luis Saez 9
6 State of Honor Jose Lezcano 10
19 Practical Joke Joel Rosario 11
20 Patch Tyler Gaffalione 12
7 Girvin Mike Smith 13
9 Irap Mario Gutierrez 14
12 Sonneteer Kent Desormeaux 15
11 Battle of Midway Flavien Prat 16
1 Look At Lee Corey Lanerie 17
16 Tapwrit Jose Ortiz 18
4 Untrapped Ricardo Santana Jr. 19
3 Fast and Accurate Channing Hill 20


Always Dreaming 7/1 5/1
Classic Empire 12/1 5/1
McCraken 6/1 5/1
Gunnevera 12/1 6/1
Irish War Cry 25/1 7/1
Girvin 8/1 15/1
Hence 50/1 15/1
Gormley 40/1 18/1
Lookin at Lee 100/1 20/1
Thunder Snow 40/1 20/1
Irap N/A 20/1
J Boys Echo 15/1 20/1
Tapwrit 12/1 20/1
Practical Joke 25/1 25/1
Battle of Midway N/A 30/1
Royal Mo 60/1 30/1
Sonneteer NA 30/1
State of Honor 30/1 30/1
Untrapped 40/1 40/1
Sonneteer N/A 50/1
Fast and Accurate N/A 100/1
Patch 40/1 40/1

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