Top Pick Experts for the Kentucky Derby: Fan’s View

Are you a person with no experience in predicting which horse will win the Kentucky Derby—but want to pick the right horse anyway?

With the Kentucky Derby right around the corner, many people are looking at news headlines about Derby contenders and favorites to figure out which one will win. In these articles are specific terms like handicapping, morning line, and Kentucky Derby hopefuls.

As a freelance writer, I had the opportunity to use my expertise on the history of Kentucky Derby betting for my work at KentuckyDerby.org. For this reason, I know that navigating expert horse racing opinions in the weeks before the Kentucky Derby can be a nightmare for the casual horse racing fan.

Regardless, with a few horse racing tips, you will know how predictions are made for the winner of the Kentucky Derby before the race begins. You will also get to know the regular hot spots in the online horse racing picks industry.

Do you need to pay for Kentucky Derby tips?

It is commonly said that predicting a horse race winner or 'handicapping' is an intellectual sport in and of itself. In lieu of making handicapping one of your annual Kentucky Derby activities, there are plenty of pick or tip experts asking for your money online.

Many horse racing pick experts, like @chucksbuddy, are regular people that are fans of horse racing. Other websites host a range of tips experts and have owners from professional backgrounds. In particular, ProPick Racing's CTO Michael Staw has a degree in Software Engineering from Princeton University.

No matter how many fans a pick expert has, taking someone elses handicapping advice is always a gamble. Despite this, horse racing tip experts often have guaranteed versus non-guaranteed paid picks. This gives you your money back on the tip if you lose your Kentucky Derby horse racing bet, but there is also plenty of free advice for picking the right horse online.

Who are these Kentucky Derby pick experts anyway?

At the official KentuckyDerby.com website you will see information about their staff of Kentucky Derby picks experts. This includes their official handicappers; Jill Byrne and James Scully. In spite of this, does the official expert page of the Kentucky Derby have predictions you can trust? After all, their 2012 selections were also made by a radio journalist, a director of marketing, and two Brand Development and Marketing Coordinator workers at Churchill Downs.

Of course, the best way to test the reputation of a Kentucky Derby winner prediction is to view the expert's track record. Look up their tips for past years and see if their Kentucky Derby winners actually won. The answers might surprise you.

All news has a Kentucky Derby winner opinion

When I introduce myself as a person from Louisville, Kent., most people will tell me they love the Kentucky Derby and that they get their picks for winners from the New York Post. This is a bit of a shock to Louisville locals who tend to look at handicapper organizations specifically detailed for Churchill Downs. Good examples are Steve Moody of the Kentucky Handicapper's Sheet, Bloodstock Research, and Brisnet. Louisville is also loyal to what is printed by the local Courier-Journal.

Online, favorite contenders for the Kentucky Derby build up in the week before the race because this race is simply one of the big news stories for the year. Most of these news organizations range from professional handicappers giving their expert advice to a random selection of people from the community talking about their favorite horse. In addition, the horse racing section of major newspapers, like the New York Times, have all of their favorite experts write once-a-year specials containing Kentucky Derby handicapping.

A brief review of these Kentucky Derby prediction articles in the 48 hours before the race show a range from serious to adult language satire. Obviously, your casual Kentucky Derby fan will probably base their prediction on who will win from those articles and stop there. However, what about the intellectual pursuit of handicapping and getting to know the horses?

Kentucky Derby prediction behind the scenes

If you want to get serious about handicapping for the Kentucky Derby, you will need to keep up with a long list of horses performing in over 20 major races before May. To accumulate information about individual races, your best bet is blogs and video. For example, SBNation.com has a blog called And Down The Stretch They Come that thoroughly covers important races leading up to the Kentucky Derby.

Other notable websites, besides the horse racing section of Yahoo! Sports (where this article is posted), include the Daily Racing Form and BloodHorse.com. One final tip is that many horse racing fans doing their own predictions will cross-compare notes with other amateur handicappers on online community forums and private Facebook groups like Handicappers World.

Notable community spots for amateurs include those associated with horse racing analysis broadcasting channels like TVG and the 'join the crowd' option on HRTV's UStream broadcast.

What to look for 48 hours before the Kentucky Derby

Knowing where to look for statistical information is what Kentucky Derby handicapping is all about. Some areas of the Churchill Downs website that pros look at are the 2012 Graded Stakes Earnings List, Derby Prep Schedule, The Road to the Kentucky Derby, and the Stakes Histories. In addition, you will notice that many Kentucky Derby pick experts will talk about basing their odds on the exercise routines the day of the race. One last place they will check is the constantly updated morning lines at the Kentucky Derby live odds page.

For beginners, it is important to understand that 'morning lines' is the name given to horse winner odds. This morning line report is represented by the 'ML' column on the list of 2012 Kentucky Derby Live Odds and gives the percentage of probability that a particular horse will win the race. These odds are compiled by a third party handicapping staff at the racetrack.

My picks for the 2012 Kentucky Derby

In the end, picking the winning horse for the Kentucky Derby is anyone's guess. Just like the rest of the world, I will be posting my Kentucky Derby predictions, failures or wins on Twitter. Unlike the rest of the world, I will be celebrating my thirty-fifth birthday at the pinnacle of Kentucky Derby fever.

Since I live within a mile of Churchill Downs and have a May 5th birthday, I am foreshadowing that my favorite horse will be #5 Creative Cause. This horse is owned by Heinz Steinmann; a Swiss yodeler known as the man who brought skiing to California.

More from this Contributor:

2012 Kentucky Derby Games Online

TV Prep Races for 2012 Kentucky Derby

The Kentucky Derby's Confusing Gambling Options

Where Are Celebrities at the 2012 Kentucky Derby?

New Trend for Kentucky Derby Ticket Websites: A Fan's View

Maryam Louise is a longtime resident of the Bluegrass State and has lived in the shadows of Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky over the past two decades. In addition to being a fan of horse racing, she has also had a chance to get to know jockeys, horse groomers, and betting clerks as an ESL instructor. Currently, she writes for KentuckyDerby.org and relies on her friends in the multiple facets of the equine industry for writing inspiration.

Note: This article was written by a Yahoo! contributor. Sign up here to start publishing your own sports content.

Updated Monday, Mar 26, 2012