Morry Gash/Associated Press
Wildcat Red has a chance being on the front end.
Wildcat Red: 15-1
Wildcat Red set the pace in the Florida Derby by shooting out from Post 1 like a rocket. It wasn't a blazing half-mile (48 seconds), but he proved he could get to the lead and relax.
He was simply worn down by Constitution in the Florida Derby. That was at 1 1/8 miles. The Kentucky Derby is 1 1/4 miles. Wildcat Red has a lot of fight in him, but his 126-pound jockey is going to feel like a three-ton SUV in the final furlong.
"My horse has proved that he can run at this level … and he can be here against all these big horses with these big barns," said trainer Jose Garoffalo, per Steve Jones of The Courier-Journal. "I'm pretty confident and pretty optimistic about what the horse has done and what he'll do in the Derby.
Uncle Sigh: 30-1
Uncle Sigh's trainer, Gary Contessa, is gregarious and gutsy and makes no secrets about how he plans on running his colt. He's strapping blinkers on Uncle Sigh for the first time in his career, and that likely means one thing: He's going to the front.
With the exception of his maiden race and the Wood Memorial (where he broke poorly), Uncle Sigh has been on the lead or in second place at first call.
"Ideally, I'd like to see him in the first flight, behind two horses duking it out on the front end," Contessa told Ed McNamara of Newsday. "I'm not going to worry about what position he's in until they turn for home. Then I'm going to be a little stirred up."
He has distance concerns with that Indian Charlie top side, but he ran on gamely to finish fifth in the Wood despite a horrible break. If he stays in contention through the entire race, he'll dig deep and could get a small piece.
Samraat has never finished worse than second. In his six starts, he's won five races and finished second to Wicked Strong—one of the Derby favorites—in the Wood.
People who question Samraat question his ability to get the distance. He has some distance pedigree on his top side with his granddaddy Giant's Causeway. Something immeasurable is how hard this horse runs every time. That doesn't show up on past performances.
He runs hard. There's always a horse or two that gets up for third or fourth that shocks everyone. Samraat could be one of those colts.
Dance With Fate: 20-1
Dance With Fate won the Blue Grass Stakes by relaxing in the middle of the pack then kicking clear to win by almost two lengths over Medal Count.
He turned in a blisteringly fast half-mile work at Santa Anita in 47 seconds. And according to the handicapping notes on the Daily Racing Form, the clockers said, "He has been full of himself at Churchill Downs this week."
Add to that, horses have been known to move forward on dirt after a strong effort on Polytrack. He's worth playing, and Ellis Starr of Fox Sports really likes him:
Having earned a career best 108 Equibase Speed Figure in that victory, one point shy of California Chrome's 109 best figure, and with potential improving to do in his fourth start as a three-year-old, Dance With Fate should be passing most if not all of the other 19 in the Derby and could post the upset win.
Ride On Curlin: 15-1
Even breaking from Post 19, Ride On Curlin is definitely a contender. He's got Calvin Borel, a three-time winner of the Derby, in the irons. Any time Borel gets aboard a horse at Churchill Downs, you have to respect his chances.
Ride On Curlin, according to Borel, is one mean dude. And if he's going to war down on the fence, you want a horse that is ready to bite his rivals like a zombie.
Sure, he lost to Danza in the Arkansas Derby, but he's never run a bad race, and putting faith in Borel has yielded some nice results since 2007.