Prior to the post drawing on Wednesday, there was no clear favorite for the 138th running of the Kentucky Derby. Afterward, Bodemeister (No. 6, 4-1) and Union Rags (No. 4, 9-2) had the best odds of winning on Saturday.
But it doesn't matter to Gemologist, because since 1975, only seven favorites have won at Churchill Downs.
Gemologist, despite being undefeated in five races, has 6-1 odds of winning the Derby after drawing post position No. 15. (You can see the complete listing of post positions here.) But even oddsmaker Mike Battaglia seemed less than 100 percent certain about the odds he set, according to the New York Times' Joe Drape, as this year's field is one of the most wide open since 1975.
Gemologist, however, is the one horse who seems like the prototype of a Derby winner—and not just because of his pedigree. The son of two-time Breeders' Cup Classic winner Tinzow is nearly 68 inches tall, which is just about where thoroughbreds top out, and he's 1,300 pounds but still has blazing speed.
The horse has gone five-for-five in his races and has the kind of fight in him that can't be taught, according to trainer Todd Pletcher, who told The Columbus Dispatch's Ed McNamara, "You either have it or you don't."
Gemologist, it would appear, does.
The knock on the colt, however, is that he's been untested in his wins. The horses he's beaten have fallen apart against the top-tier competition Gemologist will face at Churchill Downs.
But it still doesn't make his record any less impressive. WinStar Farm president Elliott Walden told the Associated Press:
He’s undefeated. That’s special in and of itself. That could change, obviously, this is the toughest race he’s going to be in and every race up to this has been a stepping stone where horses have been separated by region mainly and you bring them all together and it creates that ‘cream of the cream’ and we’ll see what happens Saturday.
Even though he's not among the headline-grabbing favorites for the race, and even though his No. 15 position is less than ideal, Gemologist still has just as good a chance as Bodemeister or Union Rags.
He could surprise you.