2020 Ohio Derby (Thistledown) - Predictions, Betting Odds & Picks

Ohio Derby at Thistledown 2020

“If you're playing only to win, go with my top value pick, Sprawl.”

Post Position and Odds – Ohio Derby

Check out our predictions and odds for the 2020 Ohio Derby at Thistledown!

PP Horse Odds Jockey Trainer
TBD T Amoss
J McKee D Romans
T Baze S Asmussen
4 LEBDA 7/2
A Cintron C Gonzalez
J Burke J Sisterson
6 SPRAWL 15/1
P Lopez W Mott
J Bisono U St. Lewis
G Corrales D Romans
R Feliciano S Asmussen
R Bejarano S Hough
11 SOROS 15/1
L Machado G Delgado
M Murrill M Stidham
F Prat P Eurton
D Parker T Pletcher
R Gutierrez R Handal

Kentucky Derby points will be on the line Saturday at Thistledown as a full field of 3-year-old males will enter the starting gate for the $500,000 Ohio Derby.

The headliner of the 1 ⅛-mile, Grade 3 will be last year’s juvenile champion Storm the Court, who will try to right the ship after three consecutive defeats to begin 2020.

The son of Court Vision won last fall’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita, but has done no better than third while running against top competition in the San Vicente (G2), San Felipe (G2) and the Arkansas Derby (G1). In the Ohio Derby, the Peter Eurton-trainee will have regular rider Flavien Prat aboard and break from post 13.

Among his many challengers on Saturday include Lebda, who comes in off two straight stakes scores in Maryland and Rowdy Yates, another multiple stakes winner, who will be making his first start since a trip overseas to finish fourth in the Saudi Derby Cup.

Ohio Derby Race Information

What to watch Ohio Derby (G3)
Where Thistledown
When Saturday, June 27 — 4:22 PM Eastern time
How to watch TVG and Fox Sports 1
Purse $500,000

Race Analysis

Storm the Court

At long last, the champion 2-year-old of 2019 has found a field in which he is the class of the race. Having said that, the drop-down in competition for Saturday’s Ohio Derby will be no easy task. Working well since a mediocre run in the tougher division of the Arkansas Derby, he will need to work out a good stalking trip from an outside post under top rider Flavien Prat. He also gets an equipment change with blinkers off in this one. His class makes him an obvious threat, and the 9 furlong trip shouldn’t be a problem, but he is far from unbeatable as the race favorite.


Has always been a good horse since his early debut last April, but his last race was his best yet. He has good tactical speed which should help him in the big field. It’s hard to know exactly how his class from Maryland will translate here, but he did step up twice last year with only mixed results. He’s a threat, though, on Saturday because of the sharp form he showed in his last two.

Rowdy Yates

He was certainly a nice 2-year-old last summer, and he’s also performed well against lesser competition in various stakes races around the country, but his class compared to this test is in question. Couple that with coming back from a long trip to Saudi Arabia, and it’s enough for me to take a stand against as one of the race favorites.

Code Runner

He also must be questioned on class. Sandwiched in between a pair of wins against quite a bit cheaper is a rather dismal effort in the Arkansas Derby. He’s actually the fourth choice on the morning line, which looks rather low considering how poorly he fared in his two previous stakes attempts. I will try to beat him.

South Bend

From a class perspective, this one is certainly second on the list behind Storm the Court. He’s run against solid competition since his debut, and although he has failed to win in his last seven tries, he’s been a consistent rallier. Perhaps the surface switch back to dirt, and the equipment change (blinkers off) will light the fire he needs. There is speed in here, so he should have plenty to run at down the stretch of this 1 ⅛-mile race.


Like South Bend, he has plenty of experience, and he has been running against good horses of late. Unfortunately, he has not shown much against that competition, or at least not enough to like the winner 1-of-11 in this Ohio Derby.

Dack Janiel’s

His only wins have come against much cheaper, and he’s had plenty of chances, while failing against tougher competition. It will only be that much harder on Saturday. He is one of the longshots which I feel confident in throwing out in this spot.


There is a lot to like with this Claiborne Farm homebred. While it’s true he’s taken his time putting things together under Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott, his last points out that he is ready to step up his game. He raced against tough competition without much racing luck in Florida, before coming to Churchill Downs and showing a bit more speed before going on to an impressive allowance win. Now he gets aggressive rider Paco Lopez in the irons, to help him be forwardly placed in this large field. I am expecting further improvement in here, and at very attractive odds. He will be my lukewarm top pick in a wide open field.

Celtic Striker

He has plenty of speed, but he’s also drawn the extreme outside post position, which means he will have to work awfully hard if he wants a good position heading into the first turn. It seems like when he’s had to work hard early before, he’s had little left for the drive to the wire. He’s not for me in this spot.


While his last two are not awe inspiring, they are also not bad enough to completely discount either. Before that, he became a stakes winner in only his second career start. With nine weeks between races, and some good looking workouts in the interim, the son of Constitution looks like he could be ready to make a step forward in here. The odds will be right.


This one has flashed potential here and there in his five-race career for trainer Todd Pletcher. He disappointed when a well beaten seventh in the Tampa Bay Derby, which was his only previous stakes try, but does come in off a confidence building win last time. I’d like him more as a longshot chance in here if not for his 14-hole draw.

Dean Martini

Long a maiden, and recently claimed, he’s taken a nice step forward for his new trainer Tom Amoss, with two solid performances at Churchill Downs. He finally broke his maiden in a romp, and then returned with a good second in allowance company. Breaking from the rail, he’ll need to show speed, but if he does, the inside draw could be advantageous. All in all, an interesting longshot.

Bear Alley

While it can be said that he’s shown steady improvement, the fact remains that this Dale Romans runner is still a maiden after five tries. He might wind up being a nice horse, but I just can’t see it happening in this big step up in class.


He’s also a maiden, but a maiden with potential. Both of his races actually were solid, finishing second against maiden competition in fast times. He’s well bred and looks like a horse to watch out for down the road. As far as Saturday, this test is probably a bit too much for such an inexperienced horse, coming from a cold barn and an outside post.

Rogue Element

He is in as an also-eligible, so will only get into the field of 14 if one of the others is a scratch. If he does get in, he looks overmatched as a big longshot.

Best Bets for the Ohio Derby

Here are my plays ($60 in total)

$5 Exacta Box – Sprawl, South Bend and Storm the Court = $30

$10 Win, Place and Show – Sprawl = $30

If you’re playing only to win, go with my top value pick, Sprawl.

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