Horse bettors love to find a three year old with a good chance of winning but with long-shot odds. The two qualifying horses for the Kentucky Derby to emerge from the Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn, Gayego and Z Fortune might fit that bill. Oddsmakers at Bodoglife.com have installed Z Fortune at 12/1 odds and Gayego at 25/1 odds.
The Arkansas Derby has produced the likes of Smarty Jones, Afleet Alex and Curlin in recent years. Gayego, this year’s winner, however, is no Smarty Jones. For that matter, Z Fortune isn’t either but is seen as the better of the two in spite of being upset by Gayego at Oaklawn.
Gayego and Z Fortune clearly separated themselves from the rest of the 13-horse Arkansas Derby field. Both horses now have more than enough graded stakes earnings to run in the Kentucky Derby.
Riding an underdog to a Kentucky Derby win is nothing new to Mike Smith, who will jockey Gayego on Saturday. Smith rode Giacomo to winners circle as a 50/1 odds long shot in 2005.
Smith also rode Gayego to the winners circle in the Arkansas Derby holding off Z Fortune by three quarters of a length. Gayego covered the 1 ½ mile course in 49.63 seconds.
Z Fortune, a Grade 1 winner in his native Brazil before being brought to America where his most important victories were the Hollywood Gold Cup and the Santa Anita H., both over ten furlongs.
Riding Z Fortune will be jockey Garrett Gomez. Last year Gomez won over 70 stakes races including the Kentucky Oaks aboard Rags to Riches.