The 2013 Kentucky Derby is still several days away, and this afternoon the official post positions will be announced. However, some experts have already made their picks as to who will win the 139th Run for the Roses.
For many of those close to the action with prominent positions at Churchill Downs, the widely considered favorite Verrazano isn't even projected in the top three, which is a bit of a shock.
Here is an early look at what some of the web's most prominent experts are predicting ahead of the big reveal, which will largely dictate the outcome of the year's first Triple Crown race.
John Asher (VP of Racing Communications at Churchill Downs)—Win: Revolutionary; Place: Orb; Show: Normandy Invasion
Jll Byrne (Director of On Air Communications and official handicapper at Churchill Downs)—Win: Revolutionary; Place: Normandy Invasion; Show: Orb
Ed DeRosa (Director of marketing, Brisnet.com)—Win: Itsmyluckyday; Place: Revolutionary; Show: Goldencents
James Scully (Editor, Handicapper's Edge and Bloodstock Journal at Brisnet.com)—Win: Verrazano; Place: Orb; Show: Normandy Invasion
Those who are closest to the action in Asher and Byrne seem to love what Revolutionary is doing. The horse is considered the second-leading contender amongst oddsmakers, but his stock appears to be soaring in workouts.
Byrne actually interviewed trainer Todd Pletcher in the video above. Though Hall of Famer Pletcher had some critiques about how difficult it was at times ride his horse, he did seem fairly confident in the thoroughbred's abilities.
Paul Moran (Paulick Report)
One quote that Moran reveals in his piece for ESPN is by Orb's trainer Shug McGaughey III, who is effusive in his praise for the three-year-old:
I've never had a horse show so much improvement over this short period of time at this time of the year...When he won the allowance race at a mile and an eighth, we were way ahead of where we wanted to be...I didn't know what to expect. Then, going into the Florida Derby, he'd trained so well and made so much physical improvement from the Fountain of Youth to the Florida Derby, I said to myself when they were going into the gate, "I'm going to be interested to see how this horse runs today."
The hype surrounding Orb isn't dying down, especially with the Florida Derby win referenced in that quote. One thing is certain, though: The talented horse's trainer is doing nothing to dismiss it. That's for good reason, too, because he is very capable of beating Verrazano down the stretch.
Moran is convinced by McGaughey's testimony, although it is still very early on. Watch for the projections to change when the post positions come to light.
Jay Privman and Mike Watchmaker (The Daily Racing Form)
Privman is an analyst, and Watchmaker creates his own odds. The tandem update their top picks each Wednesday, so expect an update of this list at some point today. Like Moran, they also hold Orb in the highest regard.
Even before Privman took to Twitter to glow about Orb, the horse who co-leads with Verrazano in the points standings was No. 1 on the list as of last week:
Here is a look at the power rankings provided by Privman and Watchmaker, as well as their list of odds:
|Orb||5-1||Claude R. McGaughey III||Joel Rosario|
|Verrazano||6-1||Todd Pletcher ||John R. Velazquez|
|Goldencents||8-1||Doug O'Neill||Kevin Krigger|
|Revolutionary||8-1||Todd Pletcher||Calvin Borel|
|Normandy Invasion||10-1||Chad Brown||Javier Castellano|
|Itsmyluckyday||12-1 ||Eddie Plesa, Jr.||Elvis Trujillo|
|Java's War ||15-1||Kenny McPeek ||Julien Leparoux|
|Overanalyze||15-1||Todd Pletcher ||Rafael Bejarano|
|Vyjack||15-1||Rudy Rodriguez ||Garrett Gomez|
|Palace Malice||20-1||Todd Pletcher||Mike Smith|
|Will Take Charge ||20-1||D. Wayne Lukas||Jon Court|
|Charming Kitten ||30-1||Todd Pletcher ||Undecided|
|Frac Daddy ||30-1||Kenny McPeek ||Victor Lebron|
|Lines of Battle ||30-1||Aidan O'Brien ||Undecided|
|Mylute||30-1||Tom Amoss ||Rosie Napravnik|
|Oxbow||30-1||D. Wayne Lukas ||Gary Stevens|
|Black Onyx ||50-1||Kelly Breen ||Joe Bravo|
|Falling Sky||50-1||John Terranova II||Undecided|