Kentucky Derby 2013: Where Do the Top Contenders Stand Heading into Race?

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Kentucky Derby 2013: Where Do the Top Contenders Stand Heading into Race?
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

There are a number of exciting horses to watch for, but the top horses heading into Saturday's Kentucky Derby have provided quite a bit of buzz.

Whether it’s having a famous owner or quite a hot streak, there’s plenty to talk about with these top horses. Let’s take a look at where these top horses stand and why exactly they have the best odds of winning at Churchill Downs on Saturday.

Notes: All odds are according to Bovada.com

Goldencents (5-1 odds)

Andy Lyons/Getty Images

A lot of the buzz surrounding this horse is because Rick Pitino, the head coach for the Louisville men’s basketball team, is a part owner. 

However, there is a lot more to like about this horse other than one of his owners.

In the horse’s first six races, he has won four of them and finished in second once. His latest win came in early April at the Santa Anita Derby.

The even bigger story surrounding Goldencents is Doug O’Neill, his trainer. O’Neill will be looking to make history after training I’ll Have Another to victory at Churchill Downs in 2012.

If O'Neill is able to lead Goldencents to victory, he would be the seventh trainer ever with back-to-back titles at the Kentucky Derby.

Perhaps the biggest story surrounding Goldencents is his jockey, Kevin Krigger.  Krigger, who is African American, has a chance to make history as well.  If he wins, he will be the first African American jockey to win the Derby since 1902.

A win for Goldencents will bring plenty of storylines along with it.  It will be interesting to see if he can actually pull it out.

 

Verrazano (4-1 odds)

There are a lot of things to like about this horse, and there are plenty of reasons to believe that Verrazano is the best horse in the field.

Through the first four races in his career, Verrazano has failed to lose. An undefeated record gives him plenty of momentum heading into Saturday.

Besides being undefeated up to this point, Verrazano is also in a great post position. By coming out of the No. 14 gate, he will have more space heading into the turn than most other horses. This space gives him a big advantage through the first few strides out of the gate, and that can be big on a potentially muddy track.

No horse has won the Triple Crown since 1978, but it would be quite an amazing story to see Verrazano pull it off while still remaining undefeated.

 

Orb (7-2 odds)

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Even though he isn’t undefeated, Orb has a lot going for him, and is the favorite by just a bit.

Orb has raced in seven races, but finished in first in his last four. He also has a great trainer in Claude McGaughey who has prepared Orb for a great race.

Unfortunately for Orb, the favorite before the race isn't always the winner.  In fact, the last favorite to win was Big Brown in 2008.  Only four horses that were the favorite have won since 2000.

If the ground is wet like it is expected to be, then Orb will be at an advantage. He has been bred to race on an off track, and that will be showcased on Saturday.

The expected rainfall is certainly in Orb’s advantage. If he can keep solid footing on the wet track, then the title for the first leg of the Triple Crown could be his.

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