Kentucky Derby Prop Bets: The Apollo Prop

Posted on: Apr 05, 2016

Yesterday we talked about the Triple Crown prop bet posted at William Hill’s Nevada sportsbooks. Today we’ll look at the more intriguing of their two Kentucky Derby proposition wagers ‘The Apollo Prop’.

To understand this bet you first have to understand what is now among the longest running ‘curse’ in sports–’The Curse of Apollo’. The ‘curse’ is named after a gelding named Apollo who won a rainy Kentucky Derby in 1882. The significant thing about Apollo? He didn’t race as a two year old. No one could know this at the time, but Apollo would be the last horse to win the Kentucky Derby unraced as a two year old. That’s 134 years and counting. And in light of the ‘Curse of Apollo’ the good folks at William Hill offers the following wager:


YES +3000
NO -9900

With 100 or so horses still listed in the Kentucky Derby futures betting at William Hill and Wynn Las Vegas it’s hard to get an accurate read on who the contenders are beyond the top two or three. If you don’t know the contenders, you can’t determine their background and you can’t accurately assess the liklihood of a horse winning the Kentucky Derby unraced at age 2. Based on the number of horses that have entered the Kentucky Derby over the past 134 years the ‘No’ looks like the obvious play.

But while it’s hard to give an accurate handicap on the 2016 Kentucky Derby as it relates to this prop bet I don’t think it’ll be long before the ‘Curse of Apollo’ is broken. There’s a simple reason for this–the massive change in how horses are prepared to run in the Kentucky Derby. Until the past decade or so, the theory was that a horse had to ‘prove his mettle’ on the Derby prep trail before he’d be taken seriously as a contender. A serious challenger for the roses was expected to run several times at two and run in two or three prep races during his three year old campaign. No longer–trainers now realize that horses don’t need that much work to be taken seriously as a Kentucky Derby contender.