The 2013 Kentucky Derby has finally arrived, and with the beginning of the race slated for a 6:24 p.m. ET post time on Saturday, there are few chances remaining to place bets.
Fluctuating odds make laying down some coin a tricky proposition, but that is one of the many elements that allow this marquee horse racing spectacle to live up to its "greatest two minutes in sports" label.
Below is an overview of the 19-horse field and the odds, followed by predictions for the top three in the 139th Run for the Roses.
Note: All information and odds, unless otherwise specified, are courtesy of KentuckyDerby.com.
|1||Black Onyx ||— ||Kelly Breen ||Scratched|
|2||Oxbow ||Gary Stevens ||D. Wayne Lukas ||24-1|
|3||Revolutionary||Calvin Borel||Todd Pletcher ||5-1|
|4||Golden Soul||Robby Albarado||Dallas Stewart||32-1|
|5||Normandy Invasion ||Javier Castellano ||Chad Brown ||8-1|
|6||Mylute ||Rosie Napravnik ||Tom Amoss ||14-1|
|7||Giant Finish||Jose L. Espinoza||Anthony W. Dutrow||43-1|
|8||Goldencents||Kevin Krigger||Doug O'Neill||5-1|
|9||Overanalyze||Rafael Bejarano||Todd Pletcher||15-1|
|10||Palace Malice||Mike Smith||Todd Pletcher||23-1|
|11||Lines of Battle||Ryan Moore||Aidan O'Brien||43-1|
|12||Itsmyluckyday||Elvis Trujillo||Eddie Plesa, Jr.||11-1|
|13||Falling Sky||Luis Saez||John Terranova II||48-1|
|14||Verrazano ||John R. Velazquez ||Todd Pletcher ||11-1|
|15||Charming Kitten ||Edgar Prado ||Todd Pletcher ||32-1|
|16||Orb||Joel Rosario ||Claude R. McGaughey III ||6-1|
|17||Will Take Charge||Jon Court ||D. Wayne Lukas ||30-1|
|18||Frac Daddy||Victor Lebron||Ken McPeek ||14-1|
|19||Java's War||Julien Leparoux||Ken McPeek||25-1|
|20||Vyjack||Garrett Gomez ||Rudy Rodriguez ||46-1|
Win: Normandy Invasion (8-1)
It's a very simple winning formula: an emerging, younger trainer in Chad Brown seeking his first Triple Crown victory and the highest earning jockey in 2013 in Javier Castellano seeking his first taste of ultimate success at the first leg of the Triple Crown (h/t Equibase.com).
Oh, and Normandy Invasion is a pretty darn good horse in his own right—and may have the best storyline of the week.
Owner Ted Porter invited four World War II veterans who were actually a part of the Normandy Invasion on June 6, 1944, per USA Today's Gary Mihoces.
Kentucky Sports Television host Michael Beisner captured an image of one of the war heroes:
TJ Beisner @tjbeisner
Pretty cool. Veterans of Normandy invasion here to honor "Normandy Invasion" horse. http://t.co/tjwg20AJST5/3/2013, 12:10:53 PM
As far as Normandy Invasion the horse is concerned—though he's more on the slender side with respect to size—this colt has speed that opens eyes.
The horse racing world was put on notice when he galloped down the final straightaway at the Wood Memorial Stakes, nearly catching up to Verrazano—the pre-Derby favorite—before finishing second.
Here's the kicker: The Wood Memorial's Aqueduct Racetrack is only nine furlongs, and this will be a 10 furlong affair at Churchill Downs. Normandy Invasion clearly had more in the tank then, and he'll have an extra eighth of a mile to get that edge he needs to make it to the winners circle.
Place: Frac Daddy (15-1)
Odds on this massive horse dropped significantly from the morning line on Wednesday—and that's in a good way in this context.
A 50-1 long shot initially, Frac Daddy finds himself as a sudden prominent factor in betting pools at 15-1. This should be among the trendiest picks in last-minute bets, simply because he is a massive bargain and can yield a hefty profit.
Frac Daddy loves Churchill Downs and even won the first race he had at the pristine venue by nine lengths this past November, per Bill Bighaus of The Billings Gazette.
If there is any horse that is built to thrive here amongst the underrated thoroughbreds, it's Frac Daddy.
His frame is going to give No. 3 favorite Orb problems on the outside, and the forecast projects an 80 percent chance of rain in Louisville (h/t Weather.com). A slightly slower track will play into Frac Daddy's favor, and he has enough speed to overcome arduous conditions and place extremely well.
Show: Goldencents (5-1)
Kevin Krigger is just the second black jockey to ride in the Derby since 1921, and will look to be the first to win since 1902. He obviously has a wonderful opportunity aboard Goldencents, who ascended to be the joint favorite along with Todd Pletcher's Revolutionary.
Despite the strong foundation of a stellar jockey in Krigger and reigning Kentucky Derby-winning trainer Doug O'Neill, history is stacked against this crew—and that's not even regarding Krigger's uniqueness.
O'Neill would be just the seventh trainer to win back-to-back times in this event in the 139-year history, and given the number of viable contenders in the field, it seems all the more unlikely.
There will be no shortage of support from the Louisville crowd—especially since Louisville Cardinals head basketball coach Rick Pitino owns a five percent stake in Goldencents.
That should key a strong run for this speedy colt out of the No. 8 post, but it won't be quite enough to overcome the physicality of Frac Daddy and the closing ability of Normandy Invasion in the end.