Mike Battaglia has been setting Derby Odds since 1975 said this is one of his toughest derbies to set. He was quoted in the Sporting News as saying the Derby is usually between two horses, but this year as many as five could be considered the favorites. So far, the early money has been on Bodemeister. That should continue through post time.
Many attribute the post position as a key to winning the race. Hansel's trainer Dale Romans was very happy with his post position. "It’s a great post...one of the winningest posts in Derby history".
Here is a look at where the favorites for Saturday's 138th running of the Kentucky Derby are slotted.
Bodemeister arrived at Churchill Downs off a win in the Grade I Arkansas Derby and the runner-up at the San Felipe at Santa Anita. After winning the Arkansas Derby by nine lengths, its amazing Bodemeister isn't going off better than 4-1. He has a nearly impeccable pedigree. His Grandsire and Damsire are Unbridled and Storm Cat and his Sire is Empire Maker. Bodemeister is the consensus horse to beat this year.
Bodemeister is trained by three time Derby winner Bob Baffert and will be ridden by 2005 Kentucky Derby Winner (Giacomo) Mike Smith.
Union Rags enters the Kentucky Derby with one of the most impressive resumes. Is six career starts, he has won four times and has a place and show. Five of those efforts were in graded races, including three grade one starts. He finished second in the Breeders Cup Juvenile last fall. Ten of the 20 horses starting in the Kentucky Derby were in the Juvenile, also held at Churchhill Downs.
Appearing on the Mully and Hanley show on 670 the Score in Chicago this morning, Legendary Jockey and NBC Analyst Gary Stevens likes Union Rags to win the Derby.
He won the Grade II Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfsteam at a mile and 1/16 in February and the Grade I Champagne Stakes at a Mile last fall.
Union Rags is trained by Michael Matz who led Barbaro to victory in the Derby in 2006 and will be ridden by Julien Leparoux.
Gemologist comes to Louisville hoping to be the first horse since Big Brown in 2008 to win the Kentucky Derby as an undefeated racehorse. Big Brown and Smarty Jones in 2004 are the only undefeated Derby Champions since Seattle Slew in 1977.
In his five career starts, he has two Grade Stakes wins to his credit. The Wood Memorial last month and the Kentucky Jockey Club last fall. The Wood is run at a mile and 1/8 and the KJC is a mile an 1/16.
Gemologist is trained by Todd Pletcher and will be ridden by Javier Castellano.
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.
Dullahan seems to love racing in Kentucky. His two Grade I stakes wins were at Keeneland. He won the Dixiana Breeders Futurity last October and the Bluegrass last month. He also ran fourth in the Breeders Cup Juvenile at Churchhill Downs last fall.
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 number five. 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 Juvenile is arguably the most impressive in the field. Hansen finished second to Dullahan in the Bluegrass in his only other Grade I start. Dullahan made an impressive stretch run to catch Hansen in the final furlong.
Hansen was the champions two year old mare in 2011. His owner Dr. Kendall Hansen was pleased with the post position. He was quoted on ESPN.com as saying "I wanted 14 or 15 from the start...So I'm excited." Hansen will stick out as the only white horse in the race and cameras will be on his namesake. Owner Hansen (the human) promises a plane will spell out the name of the winning horse. He only hopes his name is the one in the sky.
Ramon Dominquez is aboard, looking for his first derby win. 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.
Like Hansen, Creative Cause will also have a distinctive grey coat. There were rumors earlier in the week that Creative Cause was injured and might be a scratch. Harrington attributed this to his training style.
Creative Cause most impressive win was in the Norfolk Stakes at Santa Anita last fall. He also ran an impressive second to I'll Have Another in the Santa Anita Derby. The Norfolk was a mile and 1/16th and the Santa Anita Derby was a mile and an eighth. He has been primarily based on the west coast, but Creative Cause did show at the Breeders Cup Juvenile at Churchhill last fall.
After an impressive victory at the Santa Anita victory 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.
Like Creative Cause, I'll Have Another is also a west coast based horse. He is a late running horse, so watch for him to possibly come off the pace.
Jockey Mario Gutierrez and Trainer Doug O'Neill are looking for their first Kentucky Derby wins.
Despite going off at 15-1, many seem to be picking Take Charge Indy as the trendy sleeper pick.
Take Charge Indy will be making his fourth Grade I stakes start, having only previously finished in the money when he won the Florida Derby at a mile and an eighth in March.
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 this season.
Take Charge Indy will be ridden by the Kentucky Derby's reigning King Jockey Calvin Borel and is trained by Patick Byrne.
Daddy Nose Best will leave from post position 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 III Stakes, the Sunland and the El Camino Real Derby. The worrisome thing with Daddy Nose Best is he has yet to perform against the competition he will face in Louisville. His wins at the Sunland and El Camino Real came at Sunland Park outside of El Paso and Golden Gate Park in the Bay Area.
Garrett Gomez will be trying to win his first Kentucky Derby in his 10th try. Daddy Nose Best is trained by Steve Asmussen.
With three Grade I race starts, Alpha has not shied away from the competition. He has finished an impressive second in two of those. He finished a disappointing 11th last fall in Breeders Juvenile. The Breeders Cup Juvenile was the only time in his career Alpha failed to either win or place. His second place finishes were to Union Rags at the Champagne Stakes at Belmont in October and to Gemologist at the Wood Memorial. Alpha won 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 by Rajiv Maragh.