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Las Vegas bettor wins $150K on $500 Kentucky Derby futures wager

Updated May 7, 2018 - 5:01 pm

A Wynn Las Vegas bettor won $150,000 on a $500 futures bet placed on Justify at 300-1 odds in February to win Saturday’s Kentucky Derby.

The wager was made four days before Justify won his first race Feb. 18 at Santa Anita Park.

Wynn Las Vegas sports book director Johnny Avello said he got a call from a respected horse player he knows requesting odds on the colt and he initially offered him 250-1.

Avello said he moved the odds to 300-1 mostly because of the fact that no horse since Apollo in 1882 had won the Kentucky Derby after not racing as a 2-year-old.

“He said to me, ‘Two fifty? A horse has never won the Derby coming out at that time.’ I gave him 300-1,” Avello said. “I get requests all the time (to add a horse to the Derby board). Usually, horses don’t make starts that late.

“That horse, 149 out of 150 times, is not going to get to the Derby.”

Justify, trained by Triple Crown winner Bob Baffert, won his second start March 11 at Santa Anita but still needed to qualify for the Kentucky Derby by either winning or placing in the Santa Anita Derby, which he won.

“And if he runs second, Baffert may have not even sent him to the Derby,” Avello said. “Everything had to go right and the horse was good enough to make it go right.”

$200 to win $15,000 on Justify

A William Hill bettor won $15,000 on a $200 futures bet placed on Justify at 75-1 odds in February after his maiden race.

Triple threat

Justify was available at 8-1 odds to win horse racing’s Triple Crown before the Derby but is now at 7-5. No is minus 160.

He represents a six-figure liability to Wynn Las Vegas to win the Triple Crown (Kentucky Derby, Preakness, Belmont) and Avello likes Justify’s chances to become the first horse to accomplish the feat since American Pharoah in 2015.

“The Preakness should be a walk in the park and we’ll see how many horses go up against him in the Belmont,” Avello said. “He’s going to be a short price in both races. He definitely looks like a superhorse.”

Knight moves

The Knights are projected to be small underdogs in the Western Conference finals, regardless of whether their opponent is the Winnipeg Jets or the Nashville Predators.

Westgate sports book manager Jeff Sherman projects the Jets or Predators to be in the range of minus 150 or minus 160 series favorites over the Knights, who would be plus 130 or plus 140 underdogs.

“The only change is they won’t have home-ice advantage,” Sherman said. “They start with two on the road. It’s going to be tough if they get down 0-2.”

Fleury of action on Conn Smythe

Knights goalie Marc-Andre Fleury is the 7-1 second choice to win the Conn Smythe Trophy as MVP of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Not surprisingly, Fleury represents the largest liability, at five figures, on the award at the Westgate. Predators goalie Pekka Rinne, at 25-1 entering Monday’s Game 6 against the Jets, is the second-largest liability.

Winnipeg center Mark Scheifele is the 6-1 favorite and Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy is the 8-1 third choice.

Other Knights on the board are William Karlsson at 25-1, Jonathan Marchessault at 30-1 and Erik Haula at 100-1.

Contact reporter Todd Dewey at tdewey@reviewjournal.com. Follow @tdewey33 on Twitter.

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