Kentucky Derby 2018 Horses: Full Lineup, Favorites and Sleepers in 144th Race

Gill Clark@@gillclarkyFeatured Columnist IMay 3, 2018

LOUISVILLE, KY - APRIL 28: Audible, trained by Todd Pletcher, exercises in preparation for the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on April 28, 2018 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Scott Serio/Eclipse Sportswire/Getty Images)
Eclipse Sportswire/Getty Images

The 2018 Kentucky Derby takes place Saturday at Churchill Downs, Kentucky, and it promises to be yet another exciting race.

Here's a check on the full lineup, followed by a closer look at the favorites and sleepers for the 144th running of the famous event.


Kentucky Derby 2018 Full Lineup

1. Firenze Fire

2. Free Drop Billy

3. Promises Fulfilled

4. Flameaway

5. Audible

6. Good Magic

7. Justify

8. Lone Sailor

9. Hofburg

10. My Boy Jack

11. Bolt D'Oro

12. Enticed

13. Bravazo

14. Mendelssohn

15. Instilled Regard

16. Magnum Moon

17. Solomini

18. Vino Rosso

19. Noble Indy

20. Combatant


Kentucky Derby 2018 Favorites and Sleepers

There's no outstanding favourite for the race, but there are plenty of strong contenders who will be aiming for glory at Churchill Downs.

Mendelssohn travelled from Shannon, Ireland, to Kentucky and will be hoping to become the first horse shipped from Europe to win the Derby.

There have been concerns the travelling may prove troublesome, but he has already shown he can handle it, according to Thoroughbred Today's Claudia Lorena:

Claudia Lorena @Claudia_WMS

I think it’s interesting how so many people are concerned w/ Mendelssohn traveling despite the fact he’s traveled around the world and proven he can more than handle it. Not all horses can do it. He can.

Mendelssohn romped to victory at the UAE Derby in March and will once again be partnered by jockey Ryan Moore. The colt was bred to race on dirt and looks to have the pace and class needed to win the race.

Florida Derby winner Audible is another contender and has looked in great shape. The Kentucky Derby showed him preparing for the event:

Kentucky Derby @KentuckyDerby

📹Audible breezes 4 furlongs in :49.40. *Splits: 12.20, 24.20 and 37.40. Out 5F 1:02, 6F 1:14.60. Worked inside National Flag (:49.40). #KyDerby https://t.co/KY3G7GomNq

Justify is also looking good and will have attracted plenty of admirers with an impressive win at the Santa Anita Derby.

Former jockey Chris McCarron said he is the colt he'd want to ride in the race, per James Burn at the Racing Post. He said: "He'd be the one because he's got good natural speed, and he stays up close, which will enable him to stay out of trouble."

There's a lot of hype surrounding all three horses, which will only intensify as the race nears. All three will get plenty of backing, and it would be no surprise if the winner were to come from one of the trio.

However, there are talented horses throughout the field and several sleepers that will be worth keeping an eye on.

Solomini is one option as he has already shown he can compete with some of the top horses in the field. He finished third in the Arkansas Derby, and trainer Bob Baffert has already spoken about the strategy he will adopt in the race, per correspondent Jay Privman:

Jay Privman @DRFPrivman

RLT, Baffert said Solomini changed leads on cue. "If you get in a hurry, he doesn't switch leads," he said. Related to that, Baffert said the @KentuckyDerby strategy with Solomini will be to "break and grab him, sit and let him finish." @flavienprat has the mount. #derbywatch https://t.co/8m2b4fOaju

Hofburg could also upset the odds having finished second behind Audible in the Florida Derby.

Trainer Bill Mott said he is looking as good as possible ahead of the race, per racing editor Alicia Wincze Hughes:

Alicia Wincze Hughes @BH_AHughes

Bill Mott on Hofburg's work this AM: "He looked smooth as silk coming by me. When he passed the eighth pole and approached the wire he looked really good, switched leads and went into the turn and galloped out good. Visually he looked as good as he can look."

Flameaway has also been competitive this season and finished second at the Blue Grass Stakes and the Tampa Bay Derby. 

Consistency may be an issue, but he's a tough competitor, and trainer Mark Casse has said he would not be shocked if he won, per Wincze Hughes at BloodHorse.


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