Horse racing's signature event is almost upon us, folks—the 2013 Kentucky Derby.
The Derby is one of sport's biggest parties, what with the mint juleps, giant hats, Southern charm, rampant betting and Hunter S. Thompson references. Okay, maybe that last one is just me.
Nonetheless, there's a race to be run as well, and below I've identified three of the horses I think have an excellent shot to win the field and are currently posting solid odds compared to what their odds will look like on the morning of the race.
Verrazano doesn't have a lot of racing experience, but he's won all four races he's been entered in, including the Wood Memorial. As an early starter and front-runner, he's suited to the length of the race.
He's one of the more physically impressive horses in the running and has continued to improve. With that being said, he technically didn't race as a two-year old, and no horse that hasn't raced as a two-year old has won the race since 1882.
Verrazano will be the favorite on the day of the race, but for now his 7-1 odds are a smart play.
The first thing you need to know is that this horse is co-owned by Rick Pitino, head coach of the national championship-winning Louisville Cardinals. So yeah, there is some luck attached to this horse (if you're the superstitious type, that is).
He has four wins in six career races (including one second-place finish) and, like Verrazano, continues to improve with each race. He's also a horse that wants to get out and run early, and the major concern at the Derby is that he might fade at the end.
But with Pitino behind him and 49-1 odds at the moment, Goldenscents is one heck of a play right now.
Orb will come into the Derby with four straight wins under his belt and seems perfectly suited for this track, as he loves to start relaxed, run horses down from behind and win at the end. The Derby is just long enough to give sprinters trouble, but those horses that finish strong tend to prosper.
Orb has a fantastic pedigree and is trained by one of the best in the business, Claude McGaughey III. Currently at 13-1 odds, Orb is one of the safer selections that nonetheless could be very lucrative for those who roll with him.
Below, you'll find all of the odds for the horses slated to run in the Derby.
|Code West||Bob Baffert||29-1|
|Den's Legacy||Bob Baffert||43-1|
|Falling Sky||John Terranova, II||95-1|
|Hear the Ghost||Jerry Hollendorfer||15-1|
|Itsmyluckyday||Edward Plesa, Jr.||10-1|
|Java's War||Kenneth McPeek||31-1|
|Mr Palmer||William Mott||54-1|
|Noble Tune||Chad Brown||50-1|
|Normandy Invasion||Chad Brown||18-1|
|Orb||Claude McGaughey III||13-1|
|Palace Malice||Todd Pletcher||42-1|
|Shakin It Up||Bob Baffert||36-1|
|Shanghai Bobby||Todd Pletcher||18-1|
|War Academy||Bob Baffert||18-1|
|Will Take Charge||D. Lukas||19-1|
|All Other Three Ye||Unknown Trainer||5-1|
Info via KentuckyDerby.com