Ohio Derby (Thistledown) Predictions, Picks, Betting Odds

Ohio Derby

If you're playing only to win, go with my top two picks: Ethical Judgement (8/1) and Promise Keeper (3/1)!

Ohio Derby Post Position and Odds

Check out our predictions and odds for the Ohio Derby at Thistledown!

PP Horse Odds Jockey Trainer
L Saez T Pletcher
E Paucar T Maxey
3 HOZIER 12/1
C Landeros R Brisset
C Lanerie K McPeek
M Garcia B Walsh
F Arrieta C Caramori
7 THE REDS 8/1
D Davis J C Kimmel
D Cohen R Diodoro
9 PROXY 6/1
J Bravo M Stidham
M Mena A Stall Jr
L Rivera J R Jackson

Drawn the rail, and fresh off a win in the Grade 3 Peter Pan, Promise Keeper rates lukewarm favoritism in a wide open field of 11 set for Saturday’s Grade 3 Ohio Derby at Thistledown.

A winner of three of five overall for trainer Todd Pletcher, the son of Constitution comes into the $500,000, 1 1/8-mile test with two straight wins at the distance, having also scored a 9 furlong allowance victory at Keeneland before his stakes breakthrough at Belmont Park. Top rider Luis Saez will ride the likely favorite, as he has done in all five of his career races.

Chief among his rivals is the Kenny McPeek trained King Fury. The two-time stakes winner had to miss the Kentucky Derby due to a fever, but before that the son of Curlin colt easily scored in the Grade 3 Lexington Stakes on a sloppy track at Keeneland in his 3-year-old debut.

Others who should merit serious respect in Saturday’s Ohio Derby include the Preakness fourth, Keepmeinmind; two-time graded stakes runner-up, Proxy; the narrow runner-up in the Federico Tesio, The Reds; as well as sharp recent allowance winners Masqueparade and Ethical Judgement.

Best Bets for the Ohio Derby

Here are my plays ($48 in total)

$5 Exacta Box – Ethical Judgement, Promise Keeper and King Fury = $30

$3 Exacta Box – Ethical Judgement, Promise Keeper and Proxy = $18

Poker Stakes Top Pick

Our Pick
Top Pick Ethical Judgement (8/1) and Promise Keeper (3/1)
Best Pick Odds provided by TwinSpires
Promise Keeper (3/1) Bet Now

How to Watch the Ohio Derby

Ohio Derby Race Information
What Ohio Derby (Grade 3)
Location Thistledown
Time Saturday, June 26 — 4:20 pm Eastern time
How to Watch TVG
Purse $500,000

Race Analysis

Promise Keeper

His poor performance in the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby seems to be pretty much forgotten as he now has three strong wins in his last four starts for one of the top trainers in the business. Getting Luis Saez to visit Ohio for the race doesn’t hurt his chances either. This looks like his toughest test yet, but with good tactical speed breaking from the rail, he looks to be an obvious threat to get his third straight win. He’s far from a sure thing, though, as he needs to prove he can beat a deep and quality field for the first time. The horse to beat, and a must use in the exotics, this should be the race to tell just how good he has become.

King Fury

Perhaps his connections should be doing a rain dance for Saturday, after all, his performance on a wet track in winning the Grade 3 Lexington was very impressive. With rain in the forecast in Ohio on Saturday, they may just get their wish. A solid 2-year-old, who looked even better in his sophomore debut, he could win this no matter the condition of the track. There looks to be a decent amount of speed in here which should suit his mid-pack running style. There are still some questions to answer in his second start at 3, but the Kenny McPeek trained son of Curlin looks like one of the bigger threats in this wide-open field.


No horse has run in more graded stakes races in this field than this late-running son of Laoban. There was nothing wrong with either his 7th-place finish in the Kentucky Derby, or his 4th-place finish in the Preakness, but he didn’t exactly threaten for the win in the first two legs of the Triple Crown either. Sure to grab some betting attention as he drops into an easier spot, he will likely need some pace up front to make his best run from behind down the stretch. Proven for class, he is certainly a threat, but as one of the race favorites, I am leaning elsewhere.


Clearly the 3-year-old races in New Orleans this winter came up strong, as several of its runners have come back with big performances in the Triple Crown. This well-bred son of Tapit was in all the Fair Grounds preps for the Kentucky Derby and he was never embarrassed. When he caught a sloppy track at Keeneland for the Lexington, he was no match for King Fury. Given his previous races, that race can be forgiven, but he might just run into another off track on Saturday. If the track is fast I like him better, and he is a horse that seems like a good bet to hit the board, and possibly even win. If it is wet, I would take a pass.


His last race, a fast, 11-length plus romp in a Churchill Downs allowance race, was eye-catching to say the least. Knocking on the door before that, and actually placed first in the previous race, it was a statement race that demands an attempt in graded stakes racing. Off the win, which was the first time he actually crossed the wire first in five career starts, I expect him to get bet quite a bit in here. Still, there are too many horses to like for him to be too low. If he can right back and replicate that last performance, he certainly could win again, but stepping up in class, I am going to take a wait-and-see approach with the Al Stall, Jr. trained son of Upstart.

The Reds

After a non-threatening fifth in the Grade 3 Gotham, this son of Tonalist has stepped up with two solid stakes appearances, finishing second in the Federico Tesio at Pimlico, and then second again in the off the turf Grade 3 Pennine Ridge. Having said that, I suspect that this edition of the Ohio Derby is quite a bit deeper than either of those tests. He’s improved of late, but with eight-lifetime starts, I do not see the upside with him like several of the others here, in what promises to be his toughest test yet.

Ethical Judgement

This son of Honor Code has done little wrong so far in four career starts, with two wins and two seconds. After just missing in a turf debut, he has had three subsequent dirt starts in races taken off the turf. He’s performed well each time with only the red-hot Fulsome getting the better of him two starts back. He still needs to prove he can handle this type, but his recent form, including a sharp allowance win over a sloppy track at Churchill Downs, suggests that he can. With so many good betting options in here, look for good value on this up and comer from the Brendan Walsh barn. I believe he can make the step up successfully in his third start this year. At the odds, I like him best.


Formerly trained by Bob Baffert, this son of Pionnerof the Nile showed plenty of promise when finishing second in the Grade 2 Rebel Stakes in just his third career start, but has been unable to live up to that performance in two subsequent starts. The 3-year-old stakes form at Oaklawn Park as a whole this season, has not been successful after leaving the Arkansas oval, in fact. He’s not without hope, but I am looking elsewhere.

Hello Hot Rod

This one will be making his first since a rather disappointing fourth-place finish nine weeks ago in the Federico Tesio Stakes in Maryland. Before that, he had put together an excellent start to his career. A three-race winning streak, including a stakes, win at Aqueduct was broken last time. Likely to be involved early, he’ll need to prove that he can be effective at the 9 furlong distance. I prefer others.

Channel Fury

The owner of a smart 6-3-2-1 career record, this locally based son of Even the Score will make a substantial jump up in class on Saturday. A fading second in his only previous start around two turns, he looks far more likely to be one who can pressure the early pace, rather than stick around for a serious run down the stretch.

Falcon Fury

Unable to win recent low level allowance races in Ohio, this son of Fed Biz looks in over his head on Saturday. Given his lack of class, he is hard to recommend in a race as tough as the Ohio Derby.

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Brian Zipse

Expert on Horse Racing

Taken to the races at a very young age, Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Professionally, his work has been published on several leading industry sites. Brian served as the Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, where he still writes a regular column and hosts the popular weekly webcast HorseCenter.

Email: [email protected]