05/02/2013 11:41AM

Kentucky Derby: Even 50-1 shots on morning line have some hope

Barbara D. Livingston
Black Onyx is among six horses listed at 50-1 on the track's morning line for the Kentucky Derby.

Out of respect to the connections, if nothing else, the highest that Churchill linemaker Mike Battaglia will list a horse on his Derby line is 50-1. There are six such horses in this renewal: Black Onyx, Golden Soul, Giant Finish, Falling Sky, Frac Daddy, and the lone also-eligible, Fear the Kitten.

[2013 KENTUCKY DERBY: Get PPs, contender profiles, live updates]

Under other circumstances, 50-1 often implies a hapless no-hoper whose odds might well soar above the 99-1 mark, but, for whatever reasons, that sure hasn’t been the case with the Derby in recent years.

In fact, perhaps the surest bet regarding the 139th Derby is that no odds will approach the Derby record for highest odds held by A Dragon Killer, who finished seventh of 14 at a whopping 294-1 in 1958.

The last time Derby starters were 99-1 on the odds board was 2001, when Startac ran 10th at 102-1 and Arctic Boy was 12th at 102-1.
Two of the last eight Derby winners were pegged at 50-1 on the program and roared home at precisely those odds: Giacomo (2005) and Mine That Bird (2009).

Wide variety of wagering options

A slew of wagering options will be available on the 13-race Derby card, including:

◗ A $1 million pool guarantee in the $2 pick six (races 6-11), ending on the Derby. The bet carries over if no perfect tickets are sold (the next live racing day at Churchill is May 9).

◗ A 50-cent pick five wager (races 7-11) that also ends with the Derby.

◗ Four 50-cent pick fours (races 2-5, 4-7, 8-11, and 10-13).

◗ A Super High Five ($1 minimum) on the Derby (carries over if no perfect tickets).

Because of logistical constraints, the widely popular 10-cent superfecta is not available, with the minimum being $1. Many wagers maintain a 50-cent minimum, including trifectas and rolling pick threes.

Martina McBride will sing national anthem

Country music superstar Martina McBride will sing the national anthem before the Derby. The performance is scheduled for shortly after 5 p.m. Eastern and will be part of the NBC broadcast. It will be at least the second rendition of the anthem here Saturday, following the 113th Army Band from nearby Fort Knox.

McBride will be the fifth major entertainer to sing the anthem before the Derby since Churchill began such a tradition in 2009 with LeAnn Rimes. Others that followed were Rascal Flatts (2010), Jordan Sparks (2011), and Mary J. Blige (2012).