Mike Battaglia, who has been making odds for the Kentucky Derby, has called this year perhaps his toughest yet in terms of setting them. After the post positions were drawn on Wednesday, Battaglia installed Bodemeister—named for trainer Bob Baffert's son—as his 4-1 morning-line favorite.
The other early favorites are Union Rags, Dullahan and Gemologist, while the remaining 16 horses all have odds of 10-1 or higher.
It's interesting to look back at last year's Breeders Cup Juvenile, as ten of the 20 Derby horses ran in the race that Hansen won. The top-six finishers in that race will be at Churchill Downs on Saturday.
Bodemeister will leave from Gate No. 6 as the 4-1 morning-line favorite. Battaglia made him the favorite after the post positions were announced. Bodemeister's dominant 9.5-length victory at the Arkansas Derby was Battaglia's deciding factor.
Bodemeister, who is trained by three-time Derby champion Bob Baffert, didn't start his career until January of this year. He will be ridden by Mike Smith, who rode super-filly Zenyatta and won the Derby in 2005 aboard Giacomo.
Union Rags goes off as the second morning-line favorite, at 9-2, and will leave from Gate No. 4. He has won four of his six career starts and placed and showed in his other two. The only concerning thing is that he is just one for three in three Grade 1 starts.
Union Rags will be ridden by Julien Leparoux and is trained by Michael Matz.
Gemologist enters the 2012 Kentucky Derby trying to become the first undefeated horse since Big Brown in 2008 to win the race. His most impressive performance came in the Grade 1 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct last month.
Gemologist will leave from Gate 15. Javier Castellano is up and Todd Pletcher is his trainer.
Dullahan enters the Kentucky Derby with an impressive three Grade I races under his belt. He won two of those, with a fourth place finish at the Breeders Cup Juvenile last fall. In his most recent action, he won the Toyota Bluegrass stakes and Keeneland.
Three-time Derby winner Kent Desormeaux will be aboard and Dullahan is trained by 2011 Preakness winning trainer Dale Romans. Dullahan has a very favorable post position No. 5. The Derby winning horse has left from the fifth gate a record tying 10 times.
Hansen has four wins and two shows in six career starts. His win over half the Derby field in last fall's Breeders Cup Juvenvile is arguably the most impressive in the field. Hansen finished second to Dullahan in the Bluegrass in his only other Grade I start.
Ramon Dominquez is aboard, looking for his first derby win and Hansen is trained by Mike Maker. Hansen has the 14th post.
Creative Cause has finished in the money in all eight of his starts. In four Grade I races, Creative Cause has one win, one place and two shows. He has definitely shown he is not afraid of the competition.
Joel Rosario will be up and Mike Harrington is the trainer. Creative Cause Drew Gate No. 8.
After an impressive victory at the Santa Anita Derby over fellow 12-1 Creative Cause, I'll Have Another will try to become the first horse to win the Kentucky Derby from Gate 19.
Jockey Mario Gutierrez and Trainer Doug O'Neill are looking for their first Kentucky Derby wins.
Take Charge Indy will be making his fourth Grade I stakes start, having only previously finished in the money in his win at the Florida Derby.
Take Charge Indy will leave from Gate No. 3 and will hope that that the three gate will be good luck, as the Indiana Hoosiers three was in their big regular season win over Kentucky was.
Take Charge Indy will be ridden by the Kentucky Derby's reining King Jockey Calvin Borel and is trained by Patick Byrne.
Daddy Nose Best will leave from post 10. Being in the top-10 post positions increases success significantly. Ninety of the past 110 winners have started in the first 10 post positions.
Daddy Nose Best has not won a Grade One race. He finished sixth in his only Grade I start in the Breeders Cup Juvenile last fall. He did capture his last two Grade Stakes, the Sunland and the El Camino Real Derby.
Garrett Gomez will be trying to win his first Kentucky Derby in his 10th try and Daddy Nose Best is trained by Steve Asmussen.
Alpha has three Grade I race starts and has finished an impressive second in two of those. He finished a disappointing 11th last fall in Breeders Juvenile. Alpha also captured the Grade III Withers at Aqueduct in April.
Alpha will leave from the 11th post. He is trained by Belmont and Breeders Cup Classic winner Kiaran McLaughlin and will be ridden Rajiv Maragh.
In five career starts, Went the Day Well ran in only one graded stakes race. He won the Vinery Racing Spiral at Turfway Park in March. He goes off at 20-1 from Gate 13. He has the trainer-rider tandem that teamed up to win the 2011 Kentucky Derby with Animal Kingdom, H. Graham Motion and John Velazquez.
Risen Star will leave from Gate 16 with odds of 20-1. His only graded stakes win was the Risen Star Stakes. El Padrino is trained by Todd Pletcher and will be ridden by Rafael Bejarano.
Daddy Long Legs will leave from the newly dreaded Gate 1. He enters the Kentucky Derby after winning the UAE Derby in March. He is trained by Aidan O'Brien and will be ridden by Colm O'Donoghue.
Prospective will leave from Gate 12. His best performance was his triumph at the Grade II Tampa Bay Derby in March. Luis Contreras will be aboard and is trained by Mark Casse.
Sabercat will leave from post 18. With a win in the 2011 Delta Downs Jackpot and a show in the Arkansas Derby, Sabercat could be a good play at 30-1. Sabercat also has the star studded tandem of trainer Steve Asumussen and jockey Corey Nakatani behind him.
In 2009, Mine That Bird came from last place to win as a 50-1 long shot in the Kentucky Derby. With no clear cut favorite in 2012, can we see another spectacular upset?
Many are touting Trinniberg as a possibility. He has two graded stakes win and placed in his only grade I appearance.
Optimizer has been in seven graded stakes leading up to the Kentucky Derby and finished in the money three times. He is trained by Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lucas.
Done Talking won the Illinois Derby.
Rousing Sermon showed in the Louisiana Derby and has four graded stakes under his belt.
Liaison has four graded races under his belt. He won the Grade I Cash Call futurity at Santa Anita last fall and is trained by Bob Baffert.
My Adonis is first alternate if another horse drops out.