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.
JODY DEMLING'S PROJECTED LEADERBOARD
|5||Always Dreaming||John Velazquez||1|
|17||Irish War Cry||Rajiv Maragh||2|
|14||Classic Empire||Julien Leparoux||5|
|2||Thunder Snow||Christophe Soumillon||6|
|13||J Boys Echo||Luis Saez||9|
|6||State of Honor||Jose Lezcano||10|
|19||Practical Joke||Joel Rosario||11|
|11||Battle of Midway||Flavien Prat||16|
|1||Look At Lee||Corey Lanerie||17|
|4||Untrapped||Ricardo Santana Jr.||19|
|3||Fast and Accurate||Channing Hill||20|
|Irish War Cry||25/1||7/1|
|Lookin at Lee||100/1||20/1|
|J Boys Echo||15/1||20/1|
|Battle of Midway||N/A||30/1|
|State of Honor||30/1||30/1|
|Fast and Accurate||N/A||100/1|