The 2015 Kentucky Derby post positions have yet to be announced, but the favorites among the field for the 141st running have been known for quite some time.
One year removed from California Chrome's stunning run to the cusp of the Triple Crown before losing in the Belmont Stakes, the field is ripe with contenders who could threaten to complete the trifecta. The odds are heavy on a short list of contenders, but with good reason.
It's not an ideal year to be an underdog in the Run for the Roses, with some of the strongest horses in the field looking virtually unbeatable in recent runs. But entering the fastest two minutes in sports this Saturday at Churchill Downs, anything and everything can happen.
Let's take a look at the latest odds for the race, as well as win-place-show predictions.
Odds to Win 2015 Kentucky Derby
|Ocho Ocho Ocho||40-1|
Odds courtesy of Odds Shark, last updated April 29
Predictions for 2015 Kentucky Derby
1. American Pharoah
The Kentucky Derby is almost always a hotbed for the most hyped horses early in the year to land incredibly favorable odds to win, and this year is no different with American Pharoah as a huge favorite. But this time around, the hype is warranted.
The Bob Baffert-trained thoroughbred has made a mockery of his opposition in recent races, winning four of his last five outings dating back to 2014. So far in 2015, he's 2-for-2, including a Grade 1 win at the Arkansas Derby in April.
One of the speediest horses to grace Churchill Downs has already dazzled regulars at the track, as the race's official Twitter reported:
A poor post position could help to put American Pharoah behind the 8-ball, but he's more than capable of withstanding early adversity and catching up—as he showed at the Arkansas Derby. He will utilize his incredible speed unless he's boxed in near the rail, and even that might not slow him down for the full race.
American Pharoah is just one of many horses in the field to come in off a hot streak, but none of his opponents boast the combination of breakaway speed and stamina to finish strong. He's simply a cut or two above the rest of his opposition.
2. Carpe Diem
Seizing the moment will be crucial in a loaded Kentucky Derby field this weekend. Leave that to Carpe Diem.
Poor puns on Latin sayings aside, this WinStar Farm colt has the look of one that could spoil the winner's circle—or at the least, threaten a top-three finish. Like American Pharoah, Carpe Diem has also won four of his last five races, including both appearances in 2015.
With Hall of Fame jockey John Velasquez on the saddle and the work done by trainer Todd Pletcher, Carpe Diem promises to be in as good of a position entering the race as anybody. That has shown in his practice runs, as Horse Racing Nation reported:
Carpe Diem didn't just win his last race at the Tampa Bay Derby—he absolutely demolished the other contenders, finishing five lengths ahead of everyone else.
It's not exactly an upset pick with Carpe Diem slated as the third favorite in the entire field, but finishing in second among this field is no small accomplishment—even for Carpe Diem.
You won't find a trainer with a better second horse in any race field than Baffert has heading into Churchill Downs.
Perhaps it's a disservice to Dortmund to call him Baffert's second horse, but that's just how convincing American Pharoah has been. With that said, Dortmund has done little to take the attention away from himself.
Unlike Pharoah, Dortmund has raced three times in 2015—and won all three. All three were wins at Santa Anita Park, including the Santa Anita Derby in April.
Also unlike American Pharoah, who is small yet speedy, Dortmund is simply huge with a massive frame that helps him to gallop past opponents with a long stride. Baffert has compared his horse to a number of basketball players leading up to Saturday, but there's no doubt either way that he's big, as Lexington Courier-Journal's Kentucky Derby Twitter account noted:
The right post position will certainly allow Dortmund to utilize his stride advantage if he's able to get out in the open. But that's all but impossible during the Derby, when 20 horses are jam-packed for the better part of the race.
Dortmund's size could pay dividends in the right position, but will be a deterrent if he's boxed in at all while American Pharoah has the wheels to distance himself. With that said, Dortmund's quality will see him through to a show finish.