With the 2013 Kentucky Derby set to go off soon, it’s time to take a long look at the complete field.
I’ve pored through all the available information on these horses and narrowed this down to a few broad stokes and highlights for every one.
This should make it easier for you to make an informed decision on how to bet and a more intelligent observer of the “Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports.”
Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about each horse in the Derby.
Orb is one of the favorites in this event, as he’s surrounded by a great team and had an excellent prep career that includes a notable Florida Derby victory over a handful of these other Derby hopefuls.
Trainer Shug McGaughey and Joel Rosario will each be looking to capture his first victory at the Run for the Roses on Saturday evening. Orb is certainly the complete horse—due to amazing speed and stamina—that could push them into the winner’s circle at Churchill Downs for the first time.
Verrazano is the other favorite in the 2013 Kentucky Derby and it would be downright shocking if he didn’t hit the board.
This Todd Pletcher-trained colt dominated at the Tampa Bay Derby and coasted to victory at the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct, proving that he has the right stuff to win on May 4.
Rick Pitino owns a piece of this contender, which should have college basketball fans buzzing after the Louisville Cardinals’ coach guided his team to a national championship this year.
Will Pitino’s good fortune continue in the Derby? As long as trainer Doug O’Neill—winner of both this event and the Preakness Stakes last year with I’ll Have Another—is involved, anything could happen.
Java’s War: 16/1
Java’s War earned a big win at the Blue Grass Stakes, surging all the way from the back of the pack up to the front to surpass Palace Malice in the stretch run.
He was an impressive 3-1-1 during his seven-start prep career, with his only head-scratching outing coming at the Kentucky Jockey Club. Java’s War finished in sixth behind Uncaptured, Frac Daddy and Dewey Square in that race.
This is one of Todd Pletcher’s underrated entrants into the Run for the Roses, as Overanalyze is an elite stalker with plenty of speed to make a late surge.
He’ll have to be positioned well and avoid traffic in order to win, but there’s absolutely no reason to write off this colt.
After getting bumped numerous times to start his career, Revolutionary finally won a maiden and earned enough points to qualify for this race.
Pletcher enlisted the help of Calvin Borel, who is legendary around Churchill Downs for his ability to ride the rail and come from behind for victory. The Hall of Fame rider certainly has the right mount to accomplish that feat again in 2013.
Lines of Battle: 33/1
Lines of Battle is a proven contender, as he won the UAE Derby in Dubai and wasn’t shaken at all by the crowd or miles traveled to get there.
Unfortunately, his stateside resume is less than impressive and that hurts his chances to win it all in the Derby.
Vyjack is one of the quickest horses in the field, but his stamina is questionable. Expect him to fly out of the gate and look to win this one wire-to-wire, but fall just short down the stretch.
There are just too many other contenders that possess the second wind that will wind up overtaking Vyjack after the turn.
Will Take Charge: 20/1
Will Take Charge has been all over the map during his prep career, winning two of three starts in 2013 but faltering miserably at the Oaklawn Southwest Stakes.
His inconsistencies make it tough to trust him and he’s hardly worth a bet—even as a relative long shot.
Itsmyluckyday was second to only Orb at the Florida Derby, proving that he can hang with the best this field has to offer.
However, his endurance isn’t anything special and that could be the reason he falters during the 10-furlong run. It’ll be interesting to see how veteran Elvis Trujillo rides him, as he could play off the lead or try to take charge early.
Black Onyx: Scratched
Black Onyx has been scratched from the Derby and won't be replaced in the field.
Palace Malice: 25/1
Had Palace Malice been able to stay healthy and avoid being bumped during his prep career, he easily could have been one of the public favorites for this first leg of the Triple Crown.
Regardless, the colt is fit and primed to impress on Saturday, as he loves to lurk off the lead and make his surge late. He’ll have to avoid traffic and bumps to win, but rider Mike Smith has the chops to get it done.
Normandy Invasion: 9/1
This colt is more notable for his places than his wins, which makes him an intriguing bet for those looking to round out their exacta, trifecta and superfecta bets.
He’s not a proven winner, but he loves to forge ahead late and seems to cross the finish line just behind the winners.
Frac Daddy: 40/1
Frac Daddy had a rough path to this event despite a hot start to his racing career.
The thoroughbred suffered a gash and throat ulcers in the middle of his training, which kept him sidelined for a while. Fortunately, he bounced back and his most recent outing was a second-place romp behind Overanalyze at the Arkansas Derby.
Despite the long odds, don’t be surprised if Frac Daddy is right in the thick of things at the finish line.
Mylute is a hardened veteran compared to some of these other contenders, having competed in nine races all over the country before shutting it down after the Louisiana Derby to prepare for the Run for the Roses.
While he’s been solid in that time, we haven’t seen the look of a champion from Rosie Napravnik’s mount.
Oxbow is an energetic horse that has been quite unpredictable.
He tends to finish near the front of races, but the early, sometimes uncontrollable intensity he brings out of the gate could be his downfall come the stretch at Churchill Downs.
Falling Sky: 50/1
Falling Sky projects to be the pace setter, which doesn’t bode well for his chances to be adorned with the blanket of roses.
Expect him to come out strong and fast but peter off towards the middle of the race.
Charming Kitten: 25/1
This colt just doesn’t have the speed or endurance necessary to beat out the bigger, stronger, faster opponents he will be lining up next to at the starting gate.
It certainly wouldn’t be mind-blowing if Charming Kitten were to finish dead last.
Golden Soul: 50/1
While he’s not anything close to a favorite in this race, Golden Soul will likely look to emulate many of their styles and attempt to come from behind with a gradual increase in speed.
Depending on how fast the late-surges are and how quickly the wire-to-wire runners are going, he should finish anywhere between last to fifth.
Giant Finish: 50/1
This late addition will be quite the long shot to win, as he’s been unable to show much outside one or two impressive runs at Aqueduct and the John Battaglia Memorial Handicap at Turfway Park.
Don’t blow too much money on this hopeful, as he’s not going to cash tickets.
Complete Field and Race Information
2013 Kentucky Derby | Churchill Downs, Louisville, Ky. | Purse: $2.18 Million | Grade I | Distance: 10 furlongs | Post Time: 6:24 p.m. ET
Lines of Battle
Will Take Charge
J. Terranova II