While it may not be a tradition unlike any other, the 138th Kentucky Derby offers all the excitement, intrigue and spectacle of the biggest sporting events in the world condensed into one two-minute gallop.
There are 20 thoroughbreds currently waiting for the gates to open at Churchill Downs to put their name alongside some of the most famous horses in history.
Names like Secretariat, War Admiral, Seattle Slew and 134 other horses have all left their mark at the Kentucky Derby.
Now another name will be added to the star-studded list of winners. All the jockeys, trainers and owners have worked for so long to get their horse to this moment. The only thing left for them to do is run the best race of their lives.
We will have a complete preview of the event, including odds on the horses, favorites to watch out for, underdogs who are going to surprise and final predictions.
|No. 1||Daddy Long Legs||30-1|
|No. 3||Take Charge Indy||12-1|
|No. 4||Union Rags||9-2|
|No. 7||Rousing Sermon||50-1|
|No. 8||Creative Cause||12-1|
|No. 10||Daddy Nose Best||16-1|
|No. 13||Went The Day Well||25-1|
|No. 16||El Padrino||22-1|
|No. 17||Done Talking||40-1|
|No. 19||I'll Have Another||14-1|
BOLD Indicates Odds On Favorite
*Odds courtesy of Horse Racing Nation
Betting Favorite: Bodemeister
Trainer: Bob Baffert (Three Kentucky Derby Wins: 1997, 1998, 2002)
Jockey: Mike E. Smith (One Kentucky Derby Win: 2005)
Bodemeister has been on fire this year. In four races, he has two wins and finished second in the other two. His most recent race was at last month's Arkansas Derby, which he won with a time of 1 minute, 48 seconds.
Given his natural ability on the track, combined with the people he has working with him leading up to the Derby, Bodemeister is a natural choice to take the crown at this year's race.
Other Favorite To Watch For: Union Rags
Trainer: Michael R. Matz (One Kentucky Derby Win: 2006)
Jockey: Julien R. Leparoux (Zero Kentucky Derby Wins)
Union Rags was supposed to be the favorite to win the Derby. He won four of the five races he entered between July 2011 and February 2012, with a second place finish at last November's Breeders' Cup Juvenile being the only blemish on the resume.
A surprisingly poor third place showing at March's Florida Derby and some questionable work from jockey Julien Leparoux dropped his stock just a bit.
If anyone has a chance to knock Bodemeister off his perch, it would be Union Rags.
Daddy Long Legs (30-1)
Trainer: Aidan P. O'Brien
Jockey: Colm O'Donoghue
Daddy Long Legs has been called the wild card in this year's Derby. Given his inconsistent history on the track, that is the perfect term used to describe him.
He could either turn out to be the biggest surprise winner in years, or finish near the back of the pack. One of the great things about Daddy Long Legs is his size and length of his legs, which explains the name.
Because his limbs are so long, he can take bigger strides than the other horses and have a more natural glide down the track while saving his energy for the final turn.
El Padrino (20-1)
Trainer: Todd A. Pletcher
Jockey: Rafael Bejarano
This one is going strictly by post position, but El Padrino was lucky enough to get the 16th spot on the line when the Derby was set earlier this week.
While that may not sound like a big deal on the surface, all you have to know is that four horses have won the Derby from the 16th post since 1995, including last year's champion Animal Kingdom.
El Padrino is in the right spot to pull off an upset. We shall see if there really is magic in the post, or if the horses in that position happened to run the best race of their lives. The superstitious fan will tell you the former.
One thing that could end up playing a big factor in the outcome of the race is weather. According to the current report from Weather.com, the call is for scattered thunderstorms throughout the day and into the evening. The chance for precipitation is at 40 percent.
If the track does get wet and muddy, that would seem to favor the bigger, stronger horses who can get their hooves in and out of the ground right away so they don't get stuck and slow down just a fraction of a second.
Union Rags is the biggest and most physical horse in the race, which would seem to give him the edge if/when the rains start to come at Churchill Downs.
Winner: Union Rags
I can understand the trepidation in just putting the title on Union Rags considering the poor showing last month, but all things being equal, this is THE horse to beat at the Kentucky Derby.
He has been running well all week in practice sessions, but not so much that it is going to make him exhausted and out of gas come race time.
This is Union Rags' race to win; everyone else is just battling for second place. Don't be shocked when he walks away with the championship.
What a boring race, with the two favorites finishing first and second. But there is a reason that these two are so well regarded coming into race day.
Bodemeister has been on fire lately, and there is not a lot standing in the way of him taking this crown. In what will be an incredibly close, hard fought battle between two studs, Bodemeister will come up just short at the end.