Horse racing enthusiasts around the world flock to Churchill Downs every year to watch the world's top horses compete at the Kentucky Derby.
At one and a quarter miles, this race is a test that requires speed, endurance and tenacity from the horses. For the jockeys, winning this event requires a smart plan, patience and flawless execution.
Verrazano is the heavy betting favorite at this time, but as we've seen from past derbies, it's not uncommon for this race to be won by a longshot.
With that in mind, let's take a look at what the top horses bring to the track this year.
Weighing their strengths and weaknesses, I'll give you my take on their odds to win, along with providing you with their future betting odds, courtesy of OddsShark.com.
Winner of four straight races, Verrazano comes into the Kentucky Derby on a hot streak.
Jockey John Velazquez is a former Kentucky Derby winner (2011) and seems to have a good handle on how to get the most out of this horse.
This duo defeated the eventual Blue Grass winner at the Tampa Bay Derby and did a nice job holding off some serious competition at the Wood Memorial.
Verrazano should be in top condition heading into the derby, but there is some question about his ability to keep up a hot pace in longer races, according to James Scully of BrisNet.com.
Odds to Win: 7/1
Future Betting Odds: 4/1
Like Verrazano, Orb has won four straight races heading into the Derby.
According to Jennie Rees of the Courier-Journal.com, Orb possesses incredible pedigree:
Orb directly traces to a mare, Claiborne-bred Bold Irish...that direct line produced one of American racing’s most legendary horses – the brilliant and unbeaten filly Ruffian, who suffered fatal injuries in the 1975 match race with Kentucky Derby winner Foolish Pleasure. It also produced Private Terms, who went into the 1988 Kentucky Derby unbeaten...
This colt's bloodlines won't win the race, though. Orb and jockey Joel Rosario will need to execute a perfect gameplan and get off to a hot start to come away with the roses.
The biggest concern for this horse is whether or not it has the long speed to keep the lead, according to Scully.
Odds to Win: 8/1
Future Betting Odds: 11/2
Winner of three of his last four starts, Goldencents is a true sprinter that must not get too aggressive in the beginning of the Derby. His lone loss came in an all-out run at at the San Felipe Stakes.
According to Scully, Goldencents owns the "top last-race BRIS Speed rating (106)" heading into this prestigious race.
Jockey Kevin Krigger is inexperienced on the big stage, and his lack of big-race experience will be tough to overcome.
Trained by last year's Derby winner Doug O'Neil and partially owned by NCAA tournament winner Rick Pitino, Goldencents will need to be at the top of his game to come away victorious.
Odds to Win: 12/1
Future Betting Odds: 6/1
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