Kentucky Derby Picks 2015: Predictions and Odds for All Horses in the Lineup

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistApril 30, 2015

LOUISVILLE, KY - MAY 03:  Jockey Victor Espinoza guides California Chrome #5 to the finish line to win the 140th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 3, 2014 in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Twenty horse and jockey combinations will bid to secure the first step towards a coveted Triple Crown at Churchill Downs this weekend in the 141st running of the Kentucky Derby.

The Run for the Roses is one of the most prestigious events on the American horse racing calendar and with a $1.25 million purse up for grabs for the winner over the 10-furlong distance, expect another thrilling spectacle when the action gets underway.

Joe Kristufek of America's Best Racing spoke with Bleacher Report about who he thinks will win the big race:

Another endearing feature of this occasion is its penchant for shocks and storylines. With that in mind, here’s how the entire field is shaping up and an examination of which of the competitors will be in the running for glory in Saturday’s showpiece.

Kentucky Derby 2015: Post Positions, Odds, Picks
1Ocho Ocho OchoElvis TrujilloJim Cassidy50-1Top 20
2Carpe DiemJohn VelazquezTodd Pletcher9-14th
3MaterialityJavier CastellanoTodd Pletcher14-13rd
4TencendurManny FrancoGeorge Weaver50-1Top 20
5Danzig MoonJulien LeparouxMark Casse50-1Top 20
6MubtaahijChristophe SoumillionMike de Kock14-1Top 10
7El KabeirCalvin BorelJohn Terranova II33-1Top 20
8DortmundMartin GarciaBob Baffert13-42nd
9BoloRafael BejaranoCarla Gaines33-1Top 10
10Firing LineGary StevensSimon Callaghan16-1Top 10
11StanfordFlorent GerouxTodd Pletcher40-1Top 20
12International StarMiguel MenaMike Maker20-15th
13ItsaknockoutLuis SaezTodd Pletcher33-1Top 20
14Keen IceKent DesormeauxDale Romans50-1Top 20
15FrostedJoel RosarioKiaran McLaughlin16-1Top 10
16War StoryJoe TalamoTom Amoss50-1Top 20
17Mr. ZRamon VazquezD. Wayne Lukas40-1Top 20
18American PharoahVictor EspinozaBob Baffert11-41st
19UpstartJose OrtizRick Violette Jr.22-1Top 10
20Far RightMike SmithRon Moquett33-1Top 20

For full listings, check out the Odds Shark website. Odds accurate as of 8:30 a.m. (BST), April 30.

American Pharoah and Dortmund Set for Louisville Showdown

LOUISVILLE, KY - APRIL 29:  Dortmund gets a bath following morning training for the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on April 29, 2015 in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images
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All eyes will be on the Bob Baffert-trained duo of American Pharoah and Dortmund when the action gets underway at Churchill Downs, as they dominate the market ahead of the Derby.

Dortmund currently trails his stablemate in the betting, but there’s certainly a case to be made for him seizing glory before the iconic twin spires. After all, the colt has sampled victory in all six of his races so far and after winning the Santa Anita Derby, there’s clearly foundations in place for this three-year-old to go on and achieve big things.

Baffert has two excellent chances of glory in the Derby.
Baffert has two excellent chances of glory in the Derby.Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Horse racing expert Matt Dinerman is expecting a big run from the offspring of 2008 Derby winner Big Brown:

Matt Dinerman @3coltshandicap

Dortmund: Total monster. Hasn't done anything wrong. Runs hard. Drew perfectly. I expect him to run great...again. A MUST use on tickets IMO

American Pharoah will probably have something to say about that, though. After a dominant display in the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby, there has been plenty of hype about him, with many already blown away by his speed this season.

Indeed, speaking with Pat Forde of Yahoo Sports, legendary trainer D. Wayne Lukas had high praise for the favourite. Lukas' Derby entrant, Mr. Z, was well-beaten by American Pharoah in that Arkansas Derby win:

I have not been that impressed with a horse in a long time. We came up to him, and when [jockey] Victor Espinoza just nudged him, he opened up four or five lengths on us. … That just breaks horses' hearts. That impressed the hell out of me.

In terms of conformation, just standing there, he doesn't blow you away. But when he moves, goes full flight, he's got an amazing stride.

LOUISVILLE, KY - MAY 02:  D. Wayne Lukas talks to the media during the morning training for the 2013 Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 2, 2013 in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The Baffert pairing will seize plenty of the spotlight coming into this one, and it’s tough to see anyone breaching the front two here. But the battle for third place is wide open and in a race that has two overwhelming favourites, there’s definitely some value to be had for those fancying an each-way punt.

Todd Pletcher has two horses—Materiality and Carpe Diem—taking part, and he’ll be desperate to end his poor record in the Derby, sampling just one race win from 40 runners. The former of the pairing is an intriguing option, having clocked the fastest Beyer Speed Figure of any runner this season in winning the Florida Derby, per Forde’s aforementioned piece.

Pletcher will be hoping to end his poor run of form at Churchill Downs.
Pletcher will be hoping to end his poor run of form at Churchill Downs.Andy Lyons/Getty Images

However, he’s been drawn in post 3 for this one, which is typically not a favourable starting spot. Indeed, Jose Contreras of America’s Best Racing thinks both of the Pletcher hopefuls will struggle after difficult draws:

José A Contreras @LosPonies

Quick thoughts after the draw: Carpe Diem and Materiality will now be OFF my tickets. Two live contenders that just drew some horrible spots

The race everyone will be paying close attention to is at the front, however; between Dortmund and American Pharoah, we’re surely set for a thrilling battle. While there has been plenty of love for the undefeated Santa Anita champion, expect his winning streak to finally end at Churchill Downs this weekend.

Not only is American Pharoah in wonderful form, but with Victor Espinoza in the saddle, he has a two-time Kentucky Derby winner handling him and a jockey who was so impressive aboard 2014 champion California Chrome. Expect his composure to give the favourite the edge in a relatively comfortable victory.

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