With the qualifying races in the past and the post positions drawn, the only thing left to do is to go racing at Churchill Downs. Saturday's Kentucky Derby field is set as are the betting odds. While they will obviously fluctuate on race day, it is clear which horses are considered to be top contenders and which aren't.
That means little once the race begins as literally anything can happen, but it gives bettors a good idea of which horses have momentum heading into Saturday. There is a lot to like when it comes to the top-rated horses in this race, but there are a few middle-of-the-pack horses that could potentially surprise and steal a victory as well.
Along with a full listing of odds and post positions, here is a complete breakdown of favorites and dark horses to watch for during the Run for the Roses.
|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|
|6||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|
|14||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 |
*Post positions via KentuckyDerby.com
Favorites to Watch
Verrazano hasn't been beaten in four races heading into the Kentucky Derby and there is certainly a good chance that he'll leave undefeated as well. Verrazano is right behind Orb when it comes to the pre-race favorites, but he could easily ascend to that top spot thanks to a favorable post position at No. 14 and a competent jockey in John Velazquez.
Trainer Todd Pletcher has five horses in the Derby field, but there is no question that Verrazano represents his greatest hope. Verrazano is coming off wins in both the Wood Memorial and Tampa Bay Derby. Although he is the least experienced horse in the field with just four races run, he is among the most talented as well.
Stamina has to be somewhat of a concern for Verrazano as he has never run the 10 furlongs required to complete the Kentucky Derby. That can be said of most horses in the field, though, so it's a fairly level playing field. Whatever the case, Verrazano has all the tools necessary to cross the finish line first.
After an advantageous post position draw of No. 8, Goldencents moved up the big board and is now nestled behind just Orb and Verrazano at 5-1. There are a lot of great stories in this field, but perhaps no horse is more intriguing than Goldencents. His trainer, Doug O'Neill, won the Kentucky Derby behind I'll Have Another last year. Also, jockey Kevin Krigger could become the first African-American jockey to win the Derby since Jimmy Winkfield in 1902.
If that isn't enough, Louisville head basketball coach Rick Pitino has a five percent ownership stake in the horse. Pitino and the Cardinals are coming off a victory in the 2013 NCAA National Championship Game, so Goldencents has some good mojo working in his favor. Jeannine Edwards of ESPN did a SportsCenter piece on Goldencents and made the Louisville connection as well.
Above all else, Goldencents is simply a great horse as he has won three of his past four races including the famous Santa Anita Derby. Goldencents is a quick starter, so he should be near the front of the pack from the start. Stamina is a concern as it is with every horse, but he should be able to persevere.
Dark Horses to Watch
Revolutionary was unquestionably a horse worth watching prior to the naming of his jockey and the post position draw, but it seems like everything has fallen into place perfectly. Revolutionary will be guided by three-time Kentucky Derby winner Calvin Borel, who was without a ride until recently. Also, Revolutionary will start No. 3, which is generally a bad spot to be in, but that isn't the case for him.
Borel has an affinity for bringing his horse close to the rail and making a late charge. When Borel won the 2009 Kentucky Derby aboard the unheralded Mine That Bird, he came from out of nowhere along the rail during the home stretch. He very well may take a similar approach with Revolutionary.
There may be a little added pressure on Revolutionary as fans at the York Revolution Atlantic League of Professional Baseball game in York, Penn. will receive a free ticket to a future game if Revolutionary wins the Kentucky Derby.
York Revolution @yorkrevolution
If "Revolutionary" wins the Kentucky Derby Saturday, #YorkRevs fans at the game will win FREE tickets: http://t.co/JVlhgjsI6A2013-5-2 19:24:24
In all seriousness, though, Revolutionary has a great makeup, has won three straight races and has an ideal jockey for the No. 3 post position. It's possible that he could get stuck in traffic, but if anyone can guide him to victory, it's Borel.
Although he arguably has the best name in the entire field, Itsmyluckyday is far from a novelty act. At 15-1 and starting from the No. 12 spot, Itsmyluckyday may be the best intermediate bet on the board. He hasn't been talked up as much as many of his competitors, but there is plenty to like about him. He is extremely experienced with 10 races under his belt and hung tough against Kentucky Derby favorite Orb in the Florida Derby.
Jockey Elvis Trujillo has yet to win a Triple Crown race in his career, but he is ready to make that leap to the next level. Based on where he is set to start in the field he should have a pretty good trip, so all the pieces are in place for him to succeed. According to Kenny Rice of Kenny Rice Sports, Itsmyluckyday trainer Eddie Plesa believes the field is wide open, so Itsmyluckyday has as good of a shot as anyone.
Kenny Rice @KennyRiceSports
Trainer Eddie Plesa #Itsmyluckyday told me "With this group if they ran the race 6 times there would be 6 different winners." #Derby2013-5-3 10:54:00
The race will only be run once, so all it will take is one great run from Itsmyluckyday to go down in history. Thanks to his experience and recent success leading up to the Derby, Itsmyluckyday is a definite contender.
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