Welcome to Playin’ on a Budget, the Kentucky Derby edition. We have $20 to bet on the Running of the Roses, so let’s spend it wisely. Based on recent results and where each horse is trending, let’s take a look at your best bets for Sunday.

$2 TRIFECTA BOX
(Total Investment – $12)

The horses I like for a trifecta box (six varied trifecta bets using the same three horses) are FILL IN BLANK, #16 Game Winner (5-1 odds) and #7 Maximum Security (10-1 odds).

#16 Game Winner was the odds-on favorite to win his race a month or so ago, but after two second-place finishes he has fallen down on some ranking boards. However, he drew a favorable position at Post 16. Seven of the last 19 Derby winners came from Posts 15-20. While the drop off as the distance has gotten longer is concerning for Game Winner, he might be the swiftest horse in the race so if he makes a move inside quickly enough, he’s in for another top-three finish.

#7 Maximum Security has the best value in the field at (10-1 odds) and should be included in your trifecta pick. He ran the fastest 1 1/8-mile race in the field (1:48.86) and is going to give the other favorites a run for their money. A lot of his success will depend on how he gets out of the gate, but it seems like he should be in for a big day.

TO SHOW
(Total Investment – $2)

#18 Long Range Toddy is a horse to watch out for. He is going off at massive 30/1 odds, already adjusted down from his initial 50-1. He also got a favorable post position at 18. A swift move inside could see him pull off the upset. Long Range Toddy has finished top three in every career race, but one, a disappointing sixth-place finish at the Arkansas Derby. If he’s able to get back on track and at least finish in the top three, then you’re in for a big payout. This is a high-risk, high-reward investment on race day.

TO PLACE
(Total Investment – $4)

#5 Improbable (6-1 odds) and #17 Roadster (6-1 odds) are two horses we can’t ignore. They’re among the favorites and while they’re the ones I like the least among the top five or six, they’re in the conversation for a reason. Roadster has come on strong lately and Improbable has finished top two in all three races he competed that are longer than 1 1/16 miles. In order to mitigate losses should one of these two disrupt our trifecta field, toss $2 on each to place (finish 1st or 2nd) in the Derby.

TO WIN
(Total Investment – $2)

Finally, let’s pick a winner. As mentioned earlier, #7 Maximum Security has the greatest value in the field at 10/1. We need him for our trifecta and we’ll need him to be standing in the winner’s circle to win this bet as well. Realistically, any of the top five horses could pull it off, but with such value and knowing he’s run faster than any other horse in the field in a 1 1/8-mile race, he’s hard to bet against.