The 2019 Kentucky Derby is fast approaching, and Tuesday's post position draw is the next important step in determining who will begin this year's Triple Crown series with a winning stride.
The 145th "Run for the Roses" gets under way at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, on Saturday, with Omaha Beach and Roadster emerging as two of the favourites to take the first race in the Triple Crown, per Oddschecker.
Roadster will be one of three major contenders trained by Bob Baffert entering this race, with the fancied duo of Game Winner and Improbable also among his stable of prospects.
It's impossible to properly gauge who stands the best chance at victory without learning the post positions, however, and Tuesday's reveal could tip the balance in favour of several contenders in particular.
The draw will be held in the Aristides Lounge in Churchill Downs' clubhouse and will be available to live stream via the official Kentucky Derby website.
A field of 20 will compete on Saturday with four horses listed as eligible should there be a late withdrawal.
The preparation phase ahead of the 2019 Triple Crown is almost complete, with the real spectacle of the American horseracing calendar ready to take shape Tuesday.
Visit the Kentucky Derby website to see the list of runners in full.
Draw Date: Tuesday, April 30
Start Time: 11 a.m. ET/4 p.m. BST
Live Stream: KentuckyDerby.com
Preview and Top Contenders
Tacitus and Omaha Beach were the only two horses on the 2019 Road to the Kentucky Derby series who managed to record more than one win.
The former rode to victory at the Tampa Ray Derby in March and took the winner's share of a $750,000 purse at the Wood Memorial one month later.
He has a capable jockey in Jose Ortiz, who won the 2017 Belmont Stakes aboard Tapwrit, per the New York Racing Association:
Both Tacitus and Omaha Beach have won their last three races approaching Churchill Downs, though the former is more prolific considering he's only had four races while the latter has had six.
Trainer Richard Mandella is hoping he's found the key to unlocking The Run for the Roses with Omaha Beach, a three-year-old who impressed while beating Improbable to the Arkansas Derby crown.
The colt marked his first Grade 1 race in style by edging big front-runner Improbable, via NBC Sports:
Baffert has won the Kentucky Derby five times in his career—including two of the past four editions—and celebrated a special triumph with Triple Crown champion Justify in 2018.
Roadster hasn't been talked about as a Kentucky contender as consistently as others in the field, but Baffert recently said he was the horse he'd liken most to Justify if pressed, via TwinSpires.com:
Like Omaha Beach, both Roadster and Improbable have three wins on their record, while Game Winner has racked up four victories in six career races.
Maximum Security has quietly moved in the betting after winning all four races he's contested so far. He proved his credentials to be genuine with victory at the Grade 1 Florida Derby in March, via NBC Sports:
One smaller name worth keeping an eye on is Vekoma, who was one of the few other horses to register podium finishes in multiple races over the course of this year's Road to the Kentucky Derby series.
He placed third at the Fountain of Youth in March but dazzled in the Blue Grass Stakes in April to notch his biggest result to date, via XBTV:
Master Fencer, trained by Koichi Tsunoda, is the only challenger from Europe or Asia who accepted a nomination for the Kentucky Derby and is a distant long shot at 66-1, per Oddschecker.