Justify and Mendelssohn are among the favourites for the 2018 Kentucky Derby and with good reason.
The former has won each of his three career races and the latter has won four of seven, but any number of factors can affect their performance from the post-position to their ability to handle the pressure at Churchill Downs.
Likewise, there are other contenders ready to spring a surprise, particularly if things go their way during the buildup and on race day, and you can check out a look at some of them below.
- Justify 3-1
- Mendelssohn 4-1
- Audible 13-2
- Magnum Moon 8-1
- Bolt d'Oro 9-1
- Good Magic 11-1
- Vino Rosso 16-1
- Hofburg 18-1
- Noble Indy 20-1
- Solomini 22-1
- My Boy Jack 25-1
- Enticed 25-1
- Promises Fulfilled 33-1
- Free Drop Billy 33-1
- Flameaway 33-1
- Restoring Hope 40-1
- Firenze Fire 40-1
- Lone Sailor 40-1
- Quip 40-1
- Combatant 40-1
- Reride 50-1
- Snapper Sinclair 50-1
- Bravazo 50-1
- Dream Baby Dream 66-1
My Boy Jack
My Boy Jack enters the race as the most experienced horse in the field, having made 10 career starts, and that experience could serve him well when the pressure's on in the 144th Run for the Roses.
The colt has a 3-2-2 record in his 10 races and most recently rallied to win the Lexington Stakes at Keeneland, per TVG:
My Boy Jack demonstrated the ability to come from behind to win, which could come in handy if he does not receive a favourable gate or make the best of starts.
Horse-racing expert Jon White (h/t John Cherwa of the Los Angeles Times) is a fan and believes he has a good chance of claiming a podium finish.
"The key with My Boy Jack is he has demonstrated an ability to move early enough in a race to possibly be first or second with a furlong to go in the Kentucky Derby," said White.
What's more, his jockey Kent Desormeaux has had plenty of success at Churchill Downs. In 21 Kentucky Derby starts, he has finished in the top three on eight occasions, winning three times.
Bolt d'Oro has a strong record under his belt. He has never finished below third in six career races, and he has won four of them.
He came second in his most recent outing, the Santa Anita Derby, behind Justify. Although he would ultimately be beaten by three lengths, Bolt d'Oro made Justify work for his victory and pushed his fellow Derby contender all the way.
Blood Horse's Jeremy Balan offered a look at his preparations for the Derby:
Like My Boy Jack, Bolt d'Oro's jockey gives reason for optimism.
He will be ridden by three-time winner Victor Espinoza, who came first in 2002 with War Emblem, 2014 with California Chrome and 2015 with American Pharoah.
At 13-2 Audible isn't a significant outsider—only Justify and Mendelssohn are tipped to win more—but he has moved up from 8-1 with more backers as the race approaches.
Indeed, he has won his last four races after coming third on his debut, so he'll bring plenty of momentum into the race.
The colt won the Grade 1 Florida Derby by three lengths on March 31. In winning over the mile-and-an-eighth track at Gulfstream Park, he garnered valuable experience of longer races.
Audible has looked good in training for Kentucky, per XBTV and Mike Welsch of the Daily Racing Form:
Audible and Patch worked 5F in 1:01.40 at Palm Beach Downs for trainer Todd Pletcher. Audible, the 2018 @Xpressbet Florida Derby winner, will make his next start in the #KentuckyDerby. @audible_com Follow your favorite stars on their path the the Derby on https://t.co/EtN6ESntTC https://t.co/0if28yP4zk
Audible will be representing Todd Pletcher in the race, the trainer behind Always Dreaming's Kentucky Derby win last year and Super Saver's victory in 2010.