Kentucky Derby Field 2013: Contenders That Will Impress Fans on Race Day

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMay 2, 2013

LOUISVILLE, KY - MAY 05:  The field comes out of the gate to start the 138th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 5, 2012 in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Todd Pletcher is almost guaranteed to come up smelling like roses on Saturday. He's got no fewer than five horses in the 2013 Kentucky Derby

He trained Super Saver to a win at the 2010 Derby, and that's his only triumph at Churchill Downs. Considering he's got an entire fourth of the field, Pletcher is in a great position to make it two victories. Aside from that win, though, he's yet to have a ton of success at the Run for the Roses (h/t ESPN Stats and Info):

It's not as though Pletcher has a monopoly on the top horses in the field, though. There are plenty of other skilled trainers who have great chances of winning on Saturday.

Here are four of the top contenders for the Derby, three of whom are trained by Pletcher.



There hasn't been a horse better than Orb in the buildup to the Derby. He beat Itsmyluckyday back in March to win the Florida Derby by two and three-quarters lengths. It was his fourth straight win. Orb finished in a tie with Verrazano atop the Road to the Kentucky Derby standings.

Besides the horse, there's a lot to like here. Orb is jockeyed by Joel Rosario, who may not have vast experience of the Derby itself, but he's ridden the horse to a lot of success recently. Then there's trainer Shug McGaughey. He hasn't won the Derby, but he's legendary all the same.



Right behind Orb amongst the favorites will be Verrazano. He's won four races in a row, including the Tampa Derby and Wood Memorial. The Wood Memorial in particular was a statement win as Verrazano knocked off Normandy Invasion and Vyjack, both of whom are in the Derby field.

Verrazano is a very quick horse that can more than make up for a poor start. The Wood Memorial demonstrated that.

Pletcher has had a lot of success this year with Verrazano and Revolutionary. Of the two, it's Verrazano that has the better chance of winning the Derby. Combine that with jockey John Velazquez—winner of the 2011 Kentucky Derby—and you've got a winning combination.



After the Louisiana Derby, Revolutionary cemented himself as a major contender at the Derby. He did a great job of coming back from the pack to earn the victory. That's how Revolutionary tends to run races, so if you see the horse drop back a bit early, don't count him out. With his speed in the later parts of the race, Revolutionary would be able to overcome a slow start.

Calvin Borel is a jockey who's had multiple successes at the Kentucky Derby. He's a three-time winner who last won in 2010 with Super Saver. While Revolutionary is not Pletcher's best horse in the race, he's definitely one to watch on Saturday.



Consistency has not been one of Overanalyze's key attributes coming into the Derby. Each win has been followed up by a loss, which was then followed up with a win. It's a pattern that will hold should Overanalyze fail to win the Derby.

Despite that inconsistent cycle, there's no doubting Overanalyze is a horse strong enough to come through with a victory on Saturday. In his wins, he's looked very good.

Rafael Bejarano has yet to win at the Derby, but he's had some success in each of the Triple Crown races. Overanalyze is another Pletcher-trained horse, so there's no doubt he has what it takes for a nice showing.