With an influx of Kentucky Derby stories this week, there are no shortage of betting guides or pieces analyzing race strategy and the field.
So instead, we'll break down all of the information you need to prep you for Saturday's race and go over some of the more interesting storylines at Churchill Downs this year.
Where: Churchill Downs, Louisville, Kentucky
When: Saturday, May 6
Post Time: 6:34 p.m. ET
TV: NBC (Coverage will run from 2:30 p.m. until 7:20 p.m.)
Stream: NBC Sports Live Extra
Purse: According to Beth Harris of Associated Press (via the Denver Post) the purse will be $2,395,800, with the winner claiming $1,635,800.
|Kentucky Derby Field|
|1||Lookin At Lee||Corey Lanerie||Steve Asmussen||20-1|
|2||Thunder Snow||Christophe Soumillon||Saeed bin Suroor||20-1|
|3||Fast and Accurate||Channing Hill||Mike Maker||50-1|
|4||Untrapped||Ricardo Santana Jr.||Steve Asmussen||30-1|
|5||Always Dreaming||John Velazquez||Todd Pletcher||5-1|
|6||State of Honor||Jose Lezcano||Mark Casse||30-1|
|7||Girvin||Mike Smith||Joe Sharp||15-1|
|8||Hence||Florent Geroux||Steve Asmussen||15-1|
|9||Irap||Mario Gutierrez||Doug O’Neill||20-1|
|10||Gunnevera||Javier Castellano||Antonio Sano||15-1|
|11||Battle of Midway||Flavien Prat||Jerry Hollendorfer||30-1|
|12||Sonneteer||Kent Desormeaux||Keith Desormeaux||50-1|
|13||J Boys Echo||Luis Saez||Dale Romans||20-1|
|14||Classic Empire||Julien Leparoux||Mark Casse||4-1|
|15||McCraken||Brian Hernandez Jr.||Ian Wilkes||5-1|
|16||Tapwrit||Jose Ortiz||Todd Pletcher||20-1|
|17||Irish War Cry||Rajiv Maragh||Graham Motion||6-1|
|18||Gormley||Victor Espinoza||John Shirreffs||15-1|
|19||Practical Joke||Joel Rosario||Chad Brown||20-1|
|20||Patch||Tyler Gaffalione||Todd Pletcher||30-1|
|AE||Royal Mo||Gary Stevens||John Shirreffs||20-1|
|AE||Master Plan||N/A||Todd Pletcher||50-1|
|Source: Kentucky Derby on Facebook|
Let's start out by getting one thing out of the way: There is only one amazing name at this year's Kentucky Derby, and that belongs to Patch, the one-eyed horse. In other years, perhaps names like Irish War Cry or Classic Empire might take the crown.
But not this year.
And when it comes to the best backstory, Irap's name takes it.
According to Blood Horse's Steve Haskin (h/t America's Best Racing):
"One of Paul Reddam's unnamed babies who was being vanned to Ocean Breeze Ranch had just undergone Interluekin-1 Receptor Antagonist Protein therapy, more commonly known as IRAP, used to treat the effects of joint disease in horses. When he arrived at the farm, the van driver saw the word IRAP on the horse's papers and assumed that was his name, so he identified the young horse as Irap."
"When Reddam was told about the van's driver's mixup the next day, he got a kick out of it and said, 'Why don't we just name him Irap?'"
So there you have it, a bit of fun trivia to impress your friends with while watching the Derby.
As for the race itself, the prevailing belief continues to be that this year's edition is wide open and far more even than in year's past. Classic Empire, Always Dreaming and McCraken are the betting favorites at the moment, but this isn't the sort of year that appears to have a clear top option.
While the Kentucky Derby has seen four straight favorites win the race, per Neil Greenberg of the Washington Post, this year seems like a strong contender to break the streak.
You can probably detect the subtext to all of this talk about an uneven field. Many will surely be saying something like: "Patch has a chance to win! Our one-eyed hero who comes in at 30-1 odds could pull off the improbable and become horse racing's best story since, well, American Pharoah!"
According to Matias Grez of CNN, Patch developed an ulcer in his eye at two and didn't respond to recovery. Eventually, the eye had to be removed entirely. And there's even a twist to this tale: Patch was given his name before he ever lost his eye.
Through it all, the horse never lost any spirit, according to his trainer, Todd Pletcher.
"He's a remarkable horse to lose his left eye in the middle of last summer and recover as quickly as he did," he told Reuters. "It seems to never faze him."
"It's a credit to him and his professionalism that he was able to adapt so seamlessly to it," he added. "I was concerned that it might compromise his ability in some way or the way he carried himself. I guess you don't know for sure but it certainly doesn't seem like it has."
How can you not root for Patch?
Of course, betting on Patch is another story. There will be better options come Derby day. But in this year's race, there aren't any better stories than Irap and Patch.