The chase for the Triple Crown gets underway on Saturday with the 141st running of the Kentucky Derby from Churchill Downs, and while there are a couple of horses who appear to be clear favorites above the rest of the pack, we'll have to wait until the race's start time to see who takes the first step toward history.
A sizable purse and blanket of 554 roses awaits the winner, but perhaps the most important prize of the evening is the chance to go into the Preakness Stakes with Triple Crown hopes. No horse has completed the trifecta since Affirmed in 1978.
Horse racing is perhaps the most exciting two minutes in sports. Be sure to tune into NBC on Saturday evening to catch all the action. Below is a complete collection of viewing information for the event, as well as some pre-race analysis.
When: Saturday, May 2, 2015
Where: Churchill Downs, Louisville, Kentucky
Post Time: 6:24 p.m. ET
Live Stream: NBC Sports Live Extra
Post Positions and Latest Odds
Odds are via OddsShark.com as of Thursday, April 30, at 2 p.m. ET.
|2015 Kentucky Derby Post Positions|
|1||Ocho Ocho Ocho||Elvis Trujillo||Jim Cassidy||50-1|
|2||Carpe Diem||John Velazquez||Todd Pletcher||17-2|
|3||Materiality||Javier Castellano||Todd Pletcher||14-1|
|4||Tencendur||Manny Franco||George Weaver||50-1|
|5||Danzig Moon||Julien Leparoux||Mark Casse||50-1|
|6||Mubtaahij||Christophe Soumillon||Mike de Kock||12-1|
|7||El Kabeir||Calvin Borel||John Terranova II||33-1|
|8||Dortmund||Martin Garcia||Bob Baffert||7-2|
|9||Bolo||Rafael Bejarano||Carla Gaines||40-1|
|10||Firing Line||Gary Stevens||Simon Callaghan||14-1|
|11||International Star||Miguel Mena||Mike Maker||22-1|
|12||Itsaknockout||Luis Saez||Todd Pletcher||33-1|
|13||Keen Ice||Kent Desormeaux||Dale Romans||50-1|
|14||Frosted||Joel Rosario||Kiaran McLaughlin||16-1|
|15||War Story||Joe Talamo||Tom Amoss||50-1|
|16||Mr. Z||Ramon Vazquez||D. Wayne Lukas||50-1|
|17||American Pharoah||Victor Espinoza||Bob Baffert||13-5|
|18||Upstart||Jose Ortiz||Rick Violette Jr.||22-1|
|19||Far Right||Mike Smith||Ron Moquett||33-1|
|20||Frammento||Corey Nakatani||Nick Zito||50-1|
|NBC Sports and OddsShark.com|
While all eyes will be on American Pharoah and Dortmund early in the Kentucky Derby because of legendary trainer Bob Baffert, there's one other horse who has the makings of a winner.
Firing Line, trained by Simon Callaghan and jockeyed by Gary Stevens, has many things working in his favor leading up to the race. For one, Firing Line will begin in the coveted No. 10 post position. He'll have an advantage immediately out of the gate because of this result from the post positions draw on Wednesday night.
The No. 10 slot has produced the most winners since the introduction of the starting gates in 1930, according to KentuckyDerby.com. The site notes that horses beginning from this slot have won 11.5 percent of the time, including an average finishing position of 7.53—the second best of all posts.
Couple this advantage at No. 10 with Firing Line's previous successes, and Stevens is poised to take this horse to the winner's circle despite the odds.
At the Robert B. Lewis Stakes in February, Firing Line lost by just a head to Dortmund, the horse with the second-best odds in this year's Derby. One might assume that the favorable starting position for Firing Line should be enough to give him an edge in this rematch of sorts.
Callaghan told Don Agriss of The Sports Network, via the Idaho Statesman, that this result gives him confidence heading into Saturday: "Obviously, he's run against very good company. Dortmund won the (Santa Anita) Derby extremely well, and I think our horse has progressed since then, so I think we're going to Kentucky with a very good shot."
Firing Line's pre-race workouts have also been going well, as HRTV's official Twitter account notes:
The difference for Firing Line might come from his jockey. Stevens is the oldest jockey in the Derby at 52 years old, and his previous successes are what has allowed him to stick around longer than most. He's one of the most storied jockeys in horse racing, having won three times at Churchill Downs in the Kentucky Derby and five other times in Triple Crown races.
The Hall of Fame jockey will have Firing Line primed for a strong day on the track, and it'll be his intelligence and experience that see the horse outperform expectations.
Kenny DeJohn is a Breaking News Team Featured Columnist. Follow him on Twitter.