A full field of 20 runners was announced on Wednesday afternoon at Churchill Downs in Louisville for the 137th running of the $2 million Kentucky Derby (Grade I) presented by Yum! Brands.
Dialed In (ranked No. 3 on Horse Racing Nation’s 2011 Kentucky Derby Contenders list) drew ideally in post No. 8 and was installed as the 4-to-1 morning line favorite off his victory in the Florida Derby (Grade I) for trainer Nick Zito.
Uncle Mo lands in post No. 18 and is the second choice at 9-to-2 looking to give Todd Pletcher back-to-back Derby victories. Last year’s 2-year-old champion after winning the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (Grade I), he was undefeated going into the Wood Memorial (Grade I), but finished a disappointing third as an overwhelming 1-to-9 favorite. There has been wide speculation that he might not run due to a lingering gastrointestinal infection.
“He’s doing well,” Todd Pletcher told Donna Brothers during the Versus broadcast of the draw when asked if Uncle Mo was healthy. “There’s going to be enough pace in here that he should be able to relax. I don’t envision him being too far back, but hopefully we’ll be just stalking the main speed.”
To the delight of trainer Bob Baffert, Santa Anita Derby (Grade I) winner and 10-to-1 co-fourth choice Midnight Interlude drew post No. 15.
"I'm relieved," Baffert told Laffit Pincay III. "I'm really happy with the draw. I wanted to be on the outside. When you have a lightly raced horse you want him to be in the clear."
Will Dialed In go off as the post-time favorite in the 2011 Kentucky Derby?
Last year, Baffert’s Lookin at Lucky drew the unfavorable inside post No. 1 and was made the 3-to-1 morning line favorite before going off favored at 6-to-1 and finishing sixth. In the first decade of the new millennium, the post-time Derby favorite has crossed the wire first under the Twin Spires four times.
The top two finishers in the Arkansas Derby (Grade I) will be doing their running from off the pace, with Archarcharch, another 10-to-1 shot, breaking from post No. 1 and Nehro, third choice at 6-to-1, outside in No. 19.
Mr. Kentucky Derby Calvin Borel, looking to win his third straight Run for the Roses and fourth in the last five years, will break from post No. 3 aboard Sunland Derby (Grade III) winner and 20-to-1 long shot Twice the Appeal.
Below is the complete field for Saturday's race, including post position, morning line and a brief comment.
PP Horse (Morning Line Odds) Comment
1. Archarcharch (10-1) The feel good story with Court/Fires. Big shot despite rail draw.
2. Brilliant Speed (30-1) Rosario a super hero if he can get him to run on dirt.
3. Twice the Appeal (20-1) Former claimer gets instant credibility with Borel.
4. Stay Thirsty (20-1) Would cost a lot more for Repole to try and make him the favorite.
5. Decisive Moment (30-1) Major class and distance test give him little chance.
6. Comma To The Top (30-1) Could have lead turning for home, at wire different story.
7. Pants On Fire (20-1) Was dead tired weaving all over stretch in La. Derby win.
8. Dialed In (4-1) The default hype horse. Went extremely slow in stretch of Fl. Derby.
9. Derby Kitten (30-1) Name gets him sentimental money to avoid being longest shot.
10. Twinspired (30-1) Name and ideal post will attract undeserved action at windows.
11. Master of Hounds (30-1) Another Euro bust.
12. Santiva (30-1) Won’t make it 2-for-2 at Churchill Downs.
13. Mucho Macho Man (12-1) Will need improvement after hanging badly in La. Derby.
14. Shackelford (12-1) Won’t finish 2nd like Fl. Derby if crawls through lane similarly.
15. Midnight Interlude (10-1) Can break 128-year drought of no unraced 2-year-old winning.
16. Animal Kingdom (30-1) Bred up, down and sideways for turf. Makes dirt debut.
17. Soldat (12-1) Fl. Derby effort was so bad it could mean a massive form reversal here.
18. Uncle Mo (Scr) SCRATCHED.
19. Nehro (6-1) Asmussen looks for first Derby with rapidly improving colt.
20. Watch Me Go (50-1) TB Derby winner flopped in Ill. Derby.
Don't forget to follow me on Twitter @mdoche!
To view my horse racing channel on YouTube click here!