Favorites in a solid post position will be heavily bet upon before post time at the 2013 Kentucky Derby, but they are in no way in the clear when it comes to winning the trophy.
Look no further than I'll Have Another's amazing comeback down the stretch from the No. 19 post in 2012 to tell you that the field is wide open each year at Churchill Downs, no matter the odds at post time or the wins these horses have had before the first Saturday in May.
This year, the field is more crowded than ever.
Without the lack of a marquee horse and no true favorite stepping up other than 7-2 favored Orb, there's a good chance we will see a third straight horse win the Derby without odds below single digits.
Check out three sleepers below to look out for in this crowded group of 2013 competitors.
2013 Kentucky Derby Overview
|1||Black Onyx ||Joe Bravo ||Kelly Breen ||50-1|
|2||Oxbow ||Gary Stevens ||D. Wayne Lukas ||30-1|
|3||Revolutionary||Calvin Borel||Todd Pletcher ||10-1|
|4||Golden Soul||Robby Albarado||Dallas Stewart||50-1|
|5||Normandy Invasion ||Javier Castellano ||Chad Brown ||12-1|
Mylute ||Rosie Napravnik ||Tom Amoss ||15-1|
|7||Giant Finish||Jose L. Espinoza||Anthony W. Dutrow||50-1|
|8||Goldencents||Kevin Krigger||Doug O'Neill||5-1|
|9||Overanalyze||Rafael Bejarano||Todd Pletcher||15-1|
|10||Palace Malice||Mike Smith||Todd Pletcher||20-1|
|11||Lines of Battle||Ryan Moore||Aidan O'Brien||30-1|
|12||Itsmyluckyday||Elvis Trujillo||Eddie Plesa, Jr.||15-1|
|13||Falling Sky||Luis Saez||John Terranova II||50-1|
Verrazano ||John R. Velazquez ||Todd Pletcher ||4-1|
|15||Charming Kitten ||Edgar Prado ||Todd Pletcher ||20-1|
|16||Orb||Joel Rosario ||Claude R. McGaughey III ||7-2|
|17||Will Take Charge||Jon Court ||D. Wayne Lukas ||20-1|
|18||Frac Daddy||Victor Lebron||Kenny McPeek ||50-1|
|19||Java's War||Julien Leparoux||Kenny McPeek||15-1|
|20||Vyjack||Garrett Gomez ||Rudy Rodriguez ||15-1|
Sleepers to Look Out For
Jockey Gary Stevens will look to make a triumphant return to Churchill Downs in the form of what would be his fourth career win at the Kentucky Derby.
He doesn't have a great post position (No. 2), but Stevens has been counted down and out before.
Stevens won his first Derby in 1988 from the No. 1 post and his third and final win in 1997 riding out of the 5th post spot. While the inside track doesn't figure to give the horses an advantage this year, Stevens is one of the few jockeys who can handle the challenge.
Trained by the legendary D. Wayne Lukas, Oxbow has five straight top-five finishes in high-grade races, including a first-place finish at the Grad 3 Lecomte event and a second-place one at the Grade 2 Rebel Stakes.
Revolutionary will be operating a post over, but if there's a horse out of the sleeper group that can survive an inside draw, it's Oxbow.
Itsmyluckyday has really come on strong over his last three races, and Elvis Trujillo will try to make his fourth race in a row one where he's in the money on Saturday.
Only Orb and Verrazano claimed better spots in Wednesday's draw, and Itsmyluckyday has a chance to absorb the pace behind those two and Falling Sky before making a late push in the middle of the pack.
Winner of the Holy Bull Stakes (G3) and Gulfstream Park Derby, this Laurie Plesa-Trilogy Stables horse also finished second to Orb the last time out at the Florida Derby.
With a good draw in the middle of the pack and little need to try and be a front-runner on Saturday, Itsmyluckyday's 15-1 odds despite being lower than the top two contenders should tell you that this horse is a true sleeper who could be in the money at the finish line.
Todd Pletcher has five horses in the Derby on Saturday, but one that no one is really talking about is Charming Kitten.
Revolutionary, Palace Malice and Verrazano have grabbed early headlines with Pletcher's name attached to their chances, but this is a horse that has little to lose and a post position (No. 15) that puts it in a similar position with the two current favorites.
Which horse is your sleeper pick to be in the money?
With a good start and a steady pace, don't expect Charming Kitten to fade late.
Edgar Prado, the one-time Derby winner, will ride this horse on Saturday.
After a ninth-place finish at the Breeders' Futurity (G1), this horse has been in the money in four straight races and is coming off a third-place finish in the Blue Grass Stakes behind Java's War and Palace Malice.
Although Charming Kitten isn't a favorite by any stretch, it's odds (20-1) make it an attractive middle-of-the-pack sleeper to watch for on Saturday.
When it comes to the Derby, being a sleeper is a good position to be in.
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