There are many ways to handicap a field for the Kentucky Derby. Some look at the horse's pedigree, others bet on the jockey or trainer, while others look at post positions and how the horse will run. A horse's resume and what they have accomplished against quality competition is usually a strong indicator to future success. Many of the horses in this year's field have had great two year old seasons or have already fared well this spring. Here are the most decorated horses in this year's field.
Bodemeister goes off as the 4-1 morning line favorite. In four career starts, he has finished first twice and placed twice. He won the Grade I Arkansas Derby and finished second to 12-1 Kentucky Derby started Creative Cause at the San Felipe at Santa Anita.
He also brings possibly the best pedigree to the Kentucky Derby this year. His Grandsire is 1990 Kentucky Derby and Breeders Cup Classic Winner Unbridled, his Damsire is Storm Cat and his sire is 2003 Belmont Winner Empire Maker.
Bodemeister is trained by three time Kentucky Derby winner Bob Baffert and ridden by 2005 Kentucky Derby winning Jockey Mike Smith.
Creative Cause comes to the Kentucky Derby having run in an impressive seven grades stakes races. All of them were either a Grade I or II. Even with that incredible competition, Creative Cause has four wins, two places and two shows in his eight career starts. He beat Derby favorite Bodemeister in the San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita in March. He also finished third in the star-studded Breeders Cup Juvenile at Churchhill Downs last fall. Ten of the 20 horses starting in the Derby ran in the Juvenile.
Kiernan McLaughlin and Rajiv Marragh are the Trainer/Jockey tandem for Creative Cause.
Gemologist enters the Derby as the only undefeated horse in this year's field. He will attempt to become the first undefeated Kentucky Derby Champions since Big Brown in 2008. Smarty Jones in 2004 is the only other undefeated Kentucky Derby Champion since Seattle Slew in 1977.
His most impressive victories were the Grade I Wood Memorial and the Grade II Kentucky Jockey Club last fall at Churchhill Downs. His win at the Wood was over another Kentucky Derby entrant Alpha.
He has the impressive trainer/jockey team of Todd Pletcher and Javier Castellano.
If you like to find a quirk to bet on a horse, than Hansen might be the perfect foil for you. He fits the prince charming comes in on the white horse. His white coat will make him one of the most recognizable in this year's field.
In six career starts, Hansen has four wins and two places. He captured the Breeders Cup Juvenile run last fall at Churchhill Downs and Grade III Gotham at Aquaduct. His two second place finishes came at Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream in January and the Bluegrass at Keeneland last month.
Union Rags seems to be the trendy pick among those in the know. Jockeys Jerry Bailey and Gary Stevens who have five Kentucky Derby Winners between them both pick Union Rags to cross the finish line first.
Union Rags enters the Derby with five straight starts in Grade I races. This includes three of the last four in Grade I races. He has four wins, a place and a show in six overall career starts. He finished second in the Juvenile and won the Grade I Champagne at Belmont last October.
Dullahan comes to the Derby off an impressive win at the Bluegrass Stakes at Keeneland. It was his second Grade I win. He also won the Dixiana Futurity at Keeneland last fall. In his last five starts, all graded races, Dullahan has finished in the money in four of those. The only exception was the Breeders Cup Juvenile at Churchhill last fall when he finished fourth.