If you like big hats, salmon-colored pants, sundresses and overly expensive drinks, then make sure you familiarize yourself with this year's Kentucky Derby schedule. Even if you're not in attendance at Churchill Downs, you can still enjoy all the action by knowing when to tune in.
The Run for the Roses is one of the biggest spectacles in the sports world—even if the actual event tends to last roughly two minutes. It's a week-long affair that culminates with the draping of a 554-rose blanket over the winning colt.
The Triple Crown hasn't been achieved since 1978, when Affirmed conquered the Derby, the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes, so the winner of this first leg will be given the perhaps insurmountable pressures associated with making history.
Be sure to tune in to the festivities on Saturday to watch the first step toward history for one of the 20 horses in the field.
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 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 Soumillion||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||Stanford||Florent Geroux||Todd Pletcher||50-1|
|12||International Star||Miguel Mena||Mike Maker||22-1|
|13||Itsaknockout||Luis Saez||Todd Pletcher||33-1|
|14||Keen Ice||Kent Desormeaux||Dale Romans||50-1|
|15||Frosted||Joel Rosario||Kiaran McLaughlin||16-1|
|16||War Story||Joe Talamo||Tom Amoss||50-1|
|17||Mr. Z||Ramon Vazquez||D. Wayne Lukas||50-1|
|18||American Pharoah||Victor Espinoza||Bob Baffert||13-5|
|19||Upstart||Jose Ortiz||Rick Violette Jr.||22-1|
|20||Far Right||Mike Smith||Ron Moquett||33-1|
|NBC Sports and OddsShark.com|
Victor Espinoza was just a race away from the Triple Crown last season while jockeying California Chrome, falling short in the Belmont Stakes despite being heavily favored over the rest of the field.
Espinoza will have a chance to do it all again this year, but this time he'll ride American Pharoah. The colt is easily the most physically gifted horse in the field, and as you can see from above, will start out of the No. 18 post position.
The 18th slot isn't nearly as favorable as the No. 10 slot that Firing Line received, but Pharoah is in good shape considering he dodged the inside rail where horses tend to get bunched up and lost in the beginning of the race. But only one winner has come from No. 18—Gato Del Sol in 1982—so Pharoah and Espinoza will have their work cut out for them.
Prior to learning about the post position draw, Espinoza had Pharoah running well at Churchill Downs during training. Yahoo Sports' Pat Forde tweeted about the successful run:
Of course, that time wasn't over 10 furlongs. It'll be interesting to see if Pharoah can keep up a similar pace over a longer distance, though nothing over the course of the horse's career has suggested that he'll burn out toward the end of the race.
Such a run, despite the abbreviated distance, prompted one person associated with Churchill Downs to make a bold statement:
Trainer Bob Baffert has both Pharoah and Dortmund—the horse with the second-best odds on Saturday—in the race and running well in pre-event training. Dortmund is certainly Pharoah's toughest competition, as the colt is undefeated in six career races.
One horse that came close to defeating Dortmund was Firing Line, who will start from the coveted No. 10 position. Firing Line lost by just a head back in February in the Robert B. Lewis Stakes, proving that he can keep up with the best horses.
Firing Line is certainly an underdog, but combine its previous run against Dortmund with the No. 10 slot and legendary jockey Gary Stevens, and he has a chance to surprise oddsmakers and the other horses in the field.
Still, it's tough to bet against a favorite like Pharoah. Praise has been given to Espinoza, Baffert and owner Ahmed Zayat for the obvious talents of this horse. Expect the team to be center stage on Saturday as Pharoah looks to kick off the first leg of the Triple Crown with a resounding victory.
Kenny DeJohn is a Breaking News Team Featured Columnist. Follow him on Twitter.