For two minutes on Saturday, the world will skip a beat.
Maybe not the entire world, but for the patrons, fans and horses in participation at the 2013 Kentucky Derby, May 4 is a two-minute sprint that might or might not include a collective held breath at Churchill Downs.
Now that the post positions are set and the 20-horse field is officially finalized, we can start to decipher some of the mess that is picking the exact field and what things might look like when the last horse crosses the finish line at the track on Saturday.
It isn't an easy thing to do, especially since favorites are such underdogs when you consider the reality of the 138 previous winners of the Derby, but we'll take a stab at predicting the 20-horse field on Saturday below, complete with a few comments about each horse and a few you should pay close attention to when the gates open.
*For a complete look at every horse in the 2013 Kentucky Derby field, click here (via KentuckyDerby.com).
Projected 2013 Kentucky Derby Finish
|1||16||7-2||Orb||Coming in a on a four-race win streak with a post position that should allow him to understand the pace early, jockey Joel Rosario has a great chance to bring home the trophy from a favorable spot in the field.|
|2||14||4-1||Verrazano||Like Orb, trainer Todd Pletcher was seen on camera breathing a considerable sigh of relief when Verrazano gained the inside-most spot on the outer gate. With some space that leaves room for a bad start and John Velazquez in saddle, this is a strong team that will be hard to beat down the stretch.|
|3||5||12-1||Normandy Invasion||Normandy Invasion quietly got one of the most coveted positions on the track on Wednesday, one that has produced 12 of the 138 winners on the track. It might seem like a small number, but it's tied for the most all-time, and Normandy Invasion is lurking in the right post for his run on Saturday.|
|4||12||12-1||Itsmyluckyday||This horse is one of the most experienced horses in the field and has five career wins to back a second-place finish at the Florida Derby (Orb). In the No. 12 spot, Itsmyluckyday is next to a noted sprinter (Falling Sky), but is still in good position to emerge.|
|5||3||10-1||Revolutionary||The No. 3 spot wasn't ideal for this team of horse owners, but he's on a three-race win streak and just won the Louisiana Derby.|
|6||8||5-1||Goldencents||Certain to be in a sprinter's duel with the outside horses right out of the gate, Kevin Krigger will have a big test in endurance with Goldencents in the No. 8 spot. It's a favorable post, but not so much when you look at the outside.|
|7||6||15-1||Mylute||Rosie Napravnik is the record holder for a women's finish in this race already (ninth), and she will break her own record with a top-seven finish while letting the outside horses duke it out.|
|8||10||20-1||Palace Malice||The son of 2007 third-place finisher Curlin, Palace Malice is sitting in the midpoint post and finished strong (second) at the Grade 1 Blue Grass Stakes.|
|9||20||15-1||Vyjack||It was a tough draw for Vyjack in the outermost spot, and one that will be on Garrett Gomez's shoulders during the race.|
|10||4||50-1||Golden Soul||Dallas Stewart got a tough draw with Golden Soul in the No. 4 spot, but a fourth-place finish in the Louisiana Derby is a good jumping off point for Saturday.|
|11||2||30-1||Oxbow||Gary Stevens and D. Wayne Lukas are two of the best in the business, but Oxbow is a dark, dark horse after drawing the No. 2 post. The odds reflected that after the draw.|
|12||9||15-1||Overanalyze||Fresh off the Arkansas Derby victory, starting outside of Goldencents will be a big help. It shouldn't matter what kind of start this horse gets, because he will be a late closer.|
|13||13||50-1||Falling Sky||Falling Sky is expected to set the pace from the No. 13 post, but can this horse sustain it? With some tough competition next door (Verrazano and Orb), it will be tough.|
|14||19||15-1||Java's War||Likely to be in a battle with Vyjack on the outside out of the gate, I think the former gets the nod and Java's War ends up fading down the stretch.|
|15||17||20-1||Will Take Charge||Winner of the Grade 2 Rebel Stakes, Will Take Charge has no history on his side—no horse has won from the 17th post.|
|16||11||30-1||Lines of Battle||Sandwiched in between Itsmyluckyday and Palace Malice, Lines of Battle could be in big-time trouble if he doesn't get off to a huge start between those two horses.|
|17||7||50-1||Giant Finish||The only giant finish for the horse of the same name would be surviving a cluster that includes Normandy Invasion, Mylute and Goldencents.|
|18||15||20-1||Charming Kitten||Another Pletcher horse with a chip on his shoulder, Charming Kitten got third in the Blue Grass Stakes (Grade 1) and has two wins on his ledger. The No. 15 post isn't bad in this spot, but picking this horse over Pletcher's high-risers would be a mistake.|
|19||1||50-1||Black Onyx||No horse has won from the No. 1 post since 1986. At 50-1 odds, Black Onyx is a long shot indeed (but man his coat is a sight for sore eyes).|
|20||18||30-1||Frac Daddy||Although Frac Daddy comes in with a second-place finish in the Arkansas Derby, he also had a seventh-place finish at another Grade 1 event (Florida Derby) and is a clear long shot in the 18th post.|
|21||AE||-||Fear the Kitten||The alternate in case there is a late (Friday) scratch.|
*Odds courtesy of NBC Sports Network's broadcast of the 2013 Kentucky Derby Draw.
Horses to Watch at Post
Orb is coming into the Derby on a four-race win streak, and observers at the track are raving about his ability to glide through the first few days of training in preparation for the Derby.
Throw in a No. 16 post position after the draw on Wednesday, and he was not hurt by anything that happened in the early portion of the Derby experience.
Among those impressed with Orb is trainer Bob Baffert, who does not have a horse in the field this year (h/t Tim Wilkin via Twitter):
Baffert still watching Derby horses work. When asked who he liked, these were the 3 he gave. In order: Verrazano. Orb. Goldencents. #Kyderby— Tim Wilkin (@tjwilkin) May 1, 2013
With a lineage that includes Secretariat—the 1973 Triple Crown winner—and Malibu Moon, Orb has the pedigree and the feel for the track that should make him hard to beat down the final stretch on Saturday.
With jockey Kevin Krigger aiming to be the first African American to win the Derby since 1902, the buzz around Goldencents was already high before he came in and had a solid couple of days of training this week.
Winner of three events in his career, most recently the Santa Anita Derby, this horse continues to lower his odds with respect to winning the race on Saturday.
Rick Pitino is also a partial owner (5 percent) of the horse, and there's little doubt he'll be one of the celebrities in attendance at Churchill Downs to enjoy the two-minute sprint.
Although Krigger aims to make history, it's not a stretch to place him among the contenders without the extra bonus of the drought of African American jockey winners. Goldencents can win this race and has a chance to do so among a crowded field in the No. 8 post.
It won't be ideal that he will have to out-sprint Itsmyluckyday, Falling Sky and other contenders on the outside to set the pace, but overall, the No. 8 spot has produced 10 winners and could do so again with Krigger's horse.
Revolutionary will be mounted by Calvin Borel, a jockey looking to claim his fourth-ever Kentucky Derby win on a horse trained by Todd Pletcher.
Pletcher has five horses in the running this year, including favorite Verrazano and some others near the bottom of the odds list right now.
Like Orb, Revolutionary has Secretariat in his bloodline and features a long line of champion-caliber horses to draw on his pedigree. He's been somewhat of a dark horse so far, but with three straight wins in his last three races and a place in the No. 3 post, this horse is peaking at the right time and has all the intangibles to win the race on Saturday.
Gear up for the 139th installment of the most exciting two minutes in sports and don't miss any of the action leading up to the big race on Saturday.
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