Looking for, ahem, dark horses at the Kentucky Derby? Well then, you've come to the right place.
Sure, everyone knows all about Verrazano, or that Orb is growing in popularity amongst the favorites. But what horses could come out of left field and dominate the field in the Run for the Roses?
I'm glad you asked. Below, I've provided some information on three long-shot horses I like this year. All three could be huge winners for bettors and shock the rest of the field.
Will Take Charge
Trainer: D. Wayne Lukas
Jockey: Jon Court
Owner: Willis D. Horton
Latest Odds (via KentuckyDerby.com): 20-1
Preview: Will Take Charge has a Hall of Fame trainer in D. Wayne Lukas and three wins in seven races. Have I gotten your attention yet?
This horse holds true to his name, as he has early speed and isn't afraid to run ahead of the pack. However, he's not a pure sprinter, and Jon Court should be able to settle him behind the early leaders depending on where he enters the gates.
With two wins this year and plenty of time to rest before the Derby (he hasn't run since the Rebel Stakes), Will Take Charge is a bargain at 20-1 odds.
Trainer: Ken McPeek
Jockey: Julien Leparoux
Owner: Charles Fipke
Latest Odds (via KentuckyDerby.com): 31-1
Preview: Java's War won at the Blue Grass Stakes and came second to one of the Derby favorites, Verrazano, at the Tampa Bay Derby, meaning he is one of the hottest horses heading into this race.
Java's War is a deep closer and has crazy speed down the stretch, which should play well at Churchill Downs. There are questions about Java's War, of course—does he even like running on dirt? Will he get lost in the pack early on and fail to recover? Still, he's an intriguing play at 31-1 odds.
You won't see Java's War favored to win by most folks out there, but he definitely has the ability to chase down the field and win this race late.
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Jockey: Mike Smith
Owner: Dogwood Stable (Cot Campbell)
Latest Odds (via KentuckyDerby.com): 42-1
Preview: Palace Malice finished second to Java's War at the Blue Grass Stakes and has finished out of the top three just once in his career with a win, three second-place finishes and a third-place finish in six starts.
Like Java's War, he can stalk the competition late. Unlike Java's War, he's also versatile to hold off a late run by competing horses and hold on to a win.
He also has a jockey in Mike Smith who has won over 5,000 races and rode Bodemeister last year to second-place finishes at the Derby and The Preakness. Palace Malice is a horse to watch.