The Kentucky Derby is upon us, and the anticipation is growing by the minute. The post-position draw was completed yesterday, and the 20-horse field—plus an also eligible (AE)—is set.
Wednesday morning was the deadline for the entries, with 21 horses officially being added to the race. That is one above the limit, meaning that—for the first time in Derby history—there would be an alternate entry: My Adonis.
It was required that all horses entered had to be on the grounds by entry time, and that was the case. My Adonis arrived in a van Wednesday at Churchill Downs.
The only way My Adonis could've gotten in the starting gate on Saturday was if any horse had been scratched before the official wagering for the Saturday card started on Friday at 9:00 a.m. ET. He would then move into slot No. 20, and the rest would slide one slot up to fill the gap left by the scratched horse.
Bodemeister was made the morning-line favorite, at 4-1. Union Rags, at 9-2 and unbeaten, and Todd Pletcher-trainee Gemologist, at 6-1, are the next two choices.
Bodemeister is looking to become the first horse in 130 years to win the Derby without having raced as a two-year-old. Apollo was the last one to do so in 1883.
He has post No. 6 on the gate. In posts No. 5 and No. 4, he will have two of his closest opponents in Dullahan and Union Rags, respectively. Unfortunately for him, Trinniberg and Hansen are to his outside, so he will have to wait for them to clear him before taking the outside.
This may or may not happen, depending on what two-time Eclipse Award-winning jockey Ramon Dominguez chooses to do with Hansen from post No. 14. He might look to stalk Trinniberg and put Hansen to Bodemeister's outside, potentially boxing him in traffic.
Union Rags is looking to silence his critics, and from that fourth post, jockey Julien Leparoux will have to make sure he doesn't get boxed in like he did in the Florida Derby. There is no way he places if he gets a bad trip here.
Jockey Kent Desormeax could take Dullahan back. He traveled well through traffic at the Wood Memorial, but Desormeaux might be looking to have him in the clear earlier, so look for him to be spotted in the back stretch before making his move.
Gemologist has post No. 15, which is the first spot on the auxiliary gate and gives him a clear shot to his inside. He looks very good from that post, and Todd Pletcher looked pleased when he they called the post for him.
The nation's leading jockey, Javier Castellano, is aboard, and he will know how to use it properly.
Take Charge Indy and jockey Calvin Borel have the third post. With Daddy Long Legs and Optimizer to his inside, expect "Bo-rail" to take his favored spot on the rail early and try to maximize his preferred use of the shortest path to the wire.
Creative Cause has the perfect post for him, at No. 8. He has Bodemeister and Union Rags to his inside, so expect jockey Joel Rosario to have him in tracking position behind those two. He will run with them and could have a lane to run in the stretch.
The horse that has had all the buzz in the mornings at the track is Steve Asmussen's Daddy Nose Best. He has been turning heads working impressively, and the mount of money-rider Garrett Gomez only improves his chances.
Last year's winning connections are with Went the Day Well from post No. 13. Along with Liaison, Went the Day Well will have the blinkers on for this race, so he should break alertly on Saturday.
One thing he will also look to correct is his uneven run like the one he had in the stretch when he won the Spiral. This horse, at 30-1, is an intriguing proposition, since his connections look confident in him having a big run.
When Optimizer made the field on Wednesday, the horse joined eight others in the field that ran in last year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile. It's almost like a rematch with higher stakes—and much longer distance.
With 20 starters, the Derby will be worth $2,219,600. This means that the winner will take home a whopping first prize of $1,459,600. Second place takes $400,000; third place $200,000; fourth place $100,000 and fifth place pockets $60,000.
Don't think for a second that it is a breeze to get in the field for that money. You must meet the requirement of being in the Top 20 in graded earnings and pay $25,000 to enter and another $25,000 to start—get out your calculators.
Post time for the 138th running of the most exciting two minutes in sports will be at 6:24 p.m. ET. The race is the 11th of the 13-race card, and NBC will have coverage of the Derby from 4:00-7:00 p.m ET.
All horses will carry 126 pounds.
Kentucky Derby | Grade I | Purse: $2 Million | Distance: 10 furlongs | Post Time: 6:24 p.m. ET
|1||Daddy Long Legs||Colm O'Donoghue||Aidan P. O'Brien|
|2||Optimizer||Jon K. Court||D. Wayne Lukas|
|3||Take Charge Indy||Calvin H. Borel||Patrick B. Byrne|
|4||Union Rags||Julien R. Leparoux||Michael R. Matz|
|5||Dullahan||Kent J. Desormeaux||Dale Romans|
|6||Bodemeister||Mike E. Smith||Bob Baffert|
|7||Rousing Sermon||Jose Lezcano||Jerry Hollendorfer|
|8||Creative Cause||Joel Rosario||Mike Harrington|
|9||Trinniberg||Willie Martinez||Bisnath Parboo|
|10||Daddy Nose Best||Garrett K. Gomez||Steven M. Asmussen|
|11||Alpha||Rajiv Maragh||Kiaran P. McLaughlin|
|12||Prospective||Luis Contreras||Mark Casse|
|13||Went the Day Well||John R. Velazquez||H. Graham Motion|
|14||Hansen||Ramon A. Dominguez||Michael J. Maker|
|15||Gemologist||Javier J. Castellano||Todd A. Pletcher|
|16||El Padrino||Rafael Bejarano||
Todd A. Pletcher
|17||Done Talking||Sheldon Russell||Hamilton A. Smith|
|18||Sabercat||Corey S. Nakatani||Steven M. Asmussen|
|19||I'll Have Another||Mario Gutierrez||Doug O'Neill|
|20||Liaison||Martin Garcia||Bob Baffert|
|AE||My Adonis||Elvis Trujillo||Kelly J. Breen|