Following months of anticipation, the most exciting day of the calendar year for racing enthusiasts has arrived, Kentucky Derby Day! The 1 1/4-mile event will kick off the Triple Crown series as the centerpiece of Saturday’s 14-race card and will go as the 12th race jumping at 6:46 p.m ET. First post for Saturday is 10:30 a.m., and there’ll be a lot of action during the day’s card that is amazing on paper.
Justify was called the 3-1 morning line favorite and will try to become the first horse since 1882 to win the Kentucky Derby without racing at age two. Trained by Bob Baffert, Justify has won his first three career starts by a combined 19 lengths, together with his latest score coming from the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby, his stakes debut. Baffert is among 3 trainers with four victories in the race, winning with Silver Charm (1997), Real Quiet (1998), War Emblem (2002), along with American Pharoah (2015). He looked fine with Justify drawing place 7, in addition to his other horse, Solomini, breaking from barrier 17.
“That is a great place,” Baffert said of Justify’s draw. “We did not wish to maintain the one-hole and also we did not wish to become 20. Seven is nice, but he must break nicely. If he does not break nicely, it does not matter what hole he is in. We have just one alternative. We must break. He is lightly-raced and he must depart there running. I am happy I got here. I was at the parking lot as it occurred, so I did not get a opportunity to fret. I walked in and watched Justify seven and was just like, ‘I will take that.’ Dale Romans has that speedy horse (Promises Fulfilled, post 3) and that I would have hated for him to be out, so that is good. I believe all of the great horses are in great areas. It is among the toughest Derbys whom I’ve ever seen and among the best attractions that I have ever seen. The most essential horses obtained great draws. My explanations are really stern, so today I have to come together with the horse. He is a horse that only going to drop away from that point. I would have preferred to have seen him somewhere on the interior to save a little earth, but I believe everybody ought to be pleased with their position. I really don’t find any benefit I have or anybody else has. I’ve Solomini in there to pick up the bits if things fall up front. It is wonderful to have a few more weapons”
Another significant headliner would be Cellular Five Racing Thoroughbreds and Stonestreet Stables’ Great Magic. Saddled by Chad Brown, Great Magic broke his maiden at the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile last autumn at Del Mar to make the Eclipse Award as Champion 2-Year-Old Male. He comes to the Derby from a success from the Grade two Blue Grass Stakes in Keeneland. Jose Ortiz gets the ride on Great Magic and is a great chance.
“I am perfectly fine with both,” Brown stated. “I would not need to be any further inside, but he will get to save a little ground there, and he has got a excellent horse to his exterior in Justify which will give him a horse to trace to the turn.”
The complete field for the Kentucky Derby from the rail out: Firenze Fire, Free Drop Billy, Promises Fulfilled, Flameaway, Audible, Great Magic, Justify, Lone Sailor, Hofburg, My Boy Jack, Bolt d’Oro, Enticed, Bravazo, Mendelssohn, Instilled Regard, Magnum Moon, Solomini, Vino Rosso, Noble Indy, and Combatant.
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#7 Justify — Yes, I am prepared to laugh at the face of 136 year old history. I am extremely confident he is the best horse in the race, saddled by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert and ridder by Hall of Famer Mike smith there is a lot to like. If he has any luck in running he will look the winner a long way from home. His previous Stakes victory in the Santa Anita Derby was outstanding and the best lead up form into the race. I have never seen a horse with this kind of hype, and it is well-deserved. He has got three direct triple-digit Beyer figures to kick off his career, and he conquered the crops second-best horse with comparative ease from the Santa Anita Derby. If Justify does not break history this year, I’m OFFICIALLY never picking contrary to the temptations of Apollo again.
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#11 Bolt d’Oro — He has had to fight tough in both of his 2018 starts, having already confronted the very best horses in the crop. If he had begun in any prep aside from the Santa Anita Derby, then he would have won by multiple spans. Not only is that a fantastic reason to fancy him, but it is also a fantastic reason to like Justify. Some are concerned about Bolt being somewhat worn down from these two races, but not me. In accordance with his morning work outs he bounced back nicely from those outings, and he’s got a good base under him with lots of experience under his belt. Start looking for him to appear with a winding finish. He will win it in case Justify is not prepared for the craziness of this 20-horse field.
#14 Mendelssohn — What do we make of the freak? History is against him as the UAE Derby winner has not performed well in the Kentucky Derby, but this colt’s somewhat different. To start with, he won the UAE Derby by over 18 lengths, so that speaks for itself. Next, he has already proven he can send to the usa and triumph, doing this last November from the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf on a classy area. The largest question mark will probably be just how much the monitor helped him in Dubai. It preferred speed horses match long, and after he got into the direct from this gate, he never looked back. He demands respect and has to be considered a major danger to the favorite.
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#18 Vino Rosso — That is my Belmont Stakes horse, plain and simple. He can create an effect in this race also, but I am not convinced he can truly win. It is an excellent indication that John Velazquez chose to ride him over his stablemate, Audible. This colt is beginning to put it all together, and being Curlin, he must make better and better as he gets older. He is a major contender.
6 Great Magic — In the lead to the Derby he is exercising just like a horse that is prepared to fire a massive race. That is no surprise, as Brown did the specific same thing with him at the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, in which he dominated. Two weeks back, I would not have put him in this place, but the manner in which he is coming to the race is extremely tempting. This horse is preparing to give this Derby a major shake.
#5 Audible — I have never known what to make of the horse annually, and I still don’t. He is a horse in the evenings, which means you’ve got to dismiss his work outs, but if he conducts in the day he gets the work done. Although, he is often idle in his races, also, as Velazquez needed to get after him all of the way round the trail in his two homework wins, the Grade 1 Florida Derby along with also the Grade 3 Holy Bull Stakes. He has had any issues with his hooves, which is not a fantastic sign, and I simply don’t totally trust him but having said all that he is an outside chance if he brings his best.
#16 Magnum Moon — Here is the “other” horse which will attempt to end the Curse of Apollo. He is the ideal 4-for-4 coming to this race, and he has never been near losing some of these. A lot of men and women are making a huge deal about him drifting out at the stretch in his Grade 1 Arkansas Derby romp, however I am not so concerned about that. More about is that he simply does not match up really nicely with the very best horses in this category from a pace figure standpoint. He’s got a whole lot of ability, but I do not know if he could raise his game to a large degree.
#10 My Boy Jack — There is no doubt My Boy Jack might need to improve from a rate figure standpoint, however there is no doubt he’s the race’s greatest closer. In the minimum, making him dangerous to strike the board. His turn of foot is actually something unique, but the 1 problem is it does not appear to last that long. Jockey Kent Desormeaux will need to time his journey perfectly, but there is no guarantee he’ll be quick enough to get all of the way up and triumph. So far as hitting the plank in a major cost, however, he is the most plausible candidate.
#17 Solomini — It had been hard to throw out this horse since I really do believe he’s gifted, but the most important thing is that after studying his races he does not have much of a shot. He is still quite green, frequently refusing to modify leads, and has not revealed the flip of foot required to generate an effect in this spot.
#19 Noble Indy — This Todd Pletcher trainee is advancing, but is it enough to win this race? It is hard to think he’ll be fine enough unless he creates a quick progression. I am carrying a wait-and-see strategy for this colt.
#15 Instilled Regard — This horse has gone in the incorrect direction, and there is no indication of him return to his previous form heading into this race. He will have more rate to operate, which is perfect, but he might simply not be good enough.
#9 Hofburg — It is now the “Wise Guy” horse, which generally not a fantastic thing. Those horses rarely wind up making an effect, particularly in this race, however you can see why Hofburg has become attractive. He is working out nicely and has proven a great deal of ability in a quick quantity of time, however this might be a bit too far, too soon. He must be scarier down the street.
#8 Lone Sailor — This horse is getting some buzz in the regional clockers since he appears to be putting his very best foot forward at the ideal moment. Trainer Tom Amoss has stated a couple of times this horse has had any psychological problems previously but may be special if he puts it all together. He is a horse to watch after in 2018, but this place will be too demanding.
#12 Enticed — There is a small possibility he could hit the board in the event the pace melts, but he is not quick enough to win without a great deal of assistance.
#20 Combatant — He pulls the far outside post, which is par for the course to get a horse which has not attracted one excellent post position within his whole career. You know the drill… he will fall back and make 1 run.
#4 Flameaway — That is just one tough horse which combats all of the way to the end. His inside post position draw will not do him several favors, however, as he will probably be pushed every step along the way. Sticking around all of the way to the finish is going to be a hard challenge.
#2 Free Drop Billy — Always looks the part but never delivers. You will probably find him passing exhausted horses, but maybe not much else.
#3 Promises Fulfilled — There is zero doubt he’ll go to the guide and attempt to take this cable to cable. That approach worked well from the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth Stakes if he had been victorious, but it blew up in his head from the Florida Derby when he got involved at a speed duel and was essentially eased in the stretch. He will play a element in this race, but he will have difficulty staying around in the end.
#1 Firenze Fire — Early previously, Firenze Fire enjoyed strong success at Aqueduct, but recently, he has not done better than small awards in races such as the Grade 3 Gotham Stakes along with the Grade two Wood Memorial. He appears more like a one-turn-mile horse, and this railing draw will not do him any favors.
#13 Bravazo — The Kentucky Derby is obviously preferable when Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas is included. Regrettably, he does not attract the greatest-looking horse into the race, but keep in mind, Lukas is the king of pulling an angry when you are least expecting it. Bravazo was rather powerful after winning the Grade two Risen Star Stakes, but he was nuts at the Grade two Louisiana Derby.