Kentucky Derby 2013: Highlighting Top Contenders at the Run for the Roses

Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistApril 27, 2013

Todd Pletcher has two top horses at the 2013 Kentucky Derby
Todd Pletcher has two top horses at the 2013 Kentucky DerbyMatthew Stockman/Getty Images

Don't be surprised when Verrazano comes up smelling like roses.

There hasn't been a horse better than Verrazano in the buildup to the 2013 Kentucky Derby. He's tied with Orb atop the Road to the Kentucky Derby standings with 150 points. The three-year-old is unbeaten in his four competitive races.

Normandy Invasion gave Verrazano a close call at the Wood Memorial, but Verrazano was able to finish three-quarters of a length ahead of his competitor. That was the first race in which he was really tested and even then, Verrazano looked like the best horse on the track.

Prior to the Wood Memorial, Verrazano had been dominant. Perhaps it's better the horse got tested a little bit going into the Derby.

Along with Verrazano, here are three other horses you should consider contenders to win The Run for the Roses.



Right behind Verrazano, you've got Orb.

The Florida Derby was when Orb became a major contender. You always knew he was a good horse, but he ran a great race back in March. Orb bested Itsmyluckyday by two and three-quarters. The race gave fans the much-desired faceoff between the two, and it was a major statement for Orb.

No one was really surprised when John Velazquez chose to jockey Verrazano over Orb. That predictability allowed Shug McGaughey to plan accordingly. He brought in Joel Rosario, who has plenty of experience with Orb.

Seeing Orb win would be great considering McGaughey has yet to win a Kentucky Derby throughout his illustrious career.



It's good to be Todd Pletcher. He's got the favorite in Verrazano and a horse in Revolutionary whom you shouldn't be counting out.

Revolutionary won the Louisiana Derby back in March. It was his third win in a row. He looked very strong in the victory.

Revolutionary hasn't been great out of the gates, but he's been very good closing. He's never out of a race, and the way he keeps on fighting back into races can only be encouraging. It's great for a horse to win every race comfortably, but there's something to be said for one that continually handles adversity well.



The Wood Memorial was billed as a battle between Verrazano and Vyjack. Both were unbeaten, with Vyjack having won four races in a row. It was Verrazano who earned the plaudits as Vyjack only managed a third-place finish. Give credit to Normandy Invasion's strong finish as it was Vyjack who was running second for much of the race.

That's the lone blemish on what has otherwise been a strong campaign.

There are questions as to whether Vyjack can handle the distance or if he'll fall off similarly to the Wood Memorial. Losing Rosario to Orb also doesn't help matters.

Still, this is a horse you should be watching out for.