On Saturday, May 4, the world's finest three-year-old horses will participate in the 145th running of the Kentucky Derby in Louisville.
After the post draw on Tuesday, we'll know the final 20-horse field who will be in contention for the coveted rose garland, as well as the owners who will be competing for the $1.86 million prize.
Until then, however, we can take a look at the horses who hope to be in the running at Churchill Downs, break down their history and lineage and pinpoint not only the odds-on favorites but also the dark-horse candidates to emerge triumphant in less than a week's time.
Kentucky Derby Vegas Odds
Omaha Beach 3-1
Maximum Security 6-1
Game Winner 7-1
By My Standards 14-1
War of Will 16-1
Code of Honor 18-1
Win Win Win 25-1
Long Range Toddy 50-1
Cutting Humor 60-1
Country House 100-1
Kentucky Derby Entry List
Long Range Toddy
By My Standards
War of Will
Code of Honor
Win Win Win
Plus Que Parfait
As you can see from the Vegas odds, three horses, Omaha Beach, Roadster and Improbable, are all within a nose of each other as favorites. It's no surprise once you learn about their backgrounds.
Roadster is trained by Bob Baffert, whose horses—including 2019 Triple Crown winner Justify and 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah—have won five Kentucky Derbies, seven Preakness Stakes and three Belmont Stakes.
However, legendary jockey Mike Smith, who rode Justify to victory in all three jewels of the Triple Crown last year, has decided to ride Omaha Beach at the Kentucky Derby despite riding Roadster in the past. Take that for what it's worth.
If it's dark horses you're looking for, Tacitus is hardly a favorite at 14-1 heading into this weekend's Run for the Roses.
However, the gray colt has impressed with wins in two Derby prep races: the Wood at Aqueduct and the Tampa Bay Derby in Florida.
When picking a Derby champion, it's important to take the 1¼-mile distance (on dirt) into consideration; it will be the longest race any of the three-year-olds have run to date. Tacitus, however, has shown he can handle long races on dirt, especially with his Wood at Aqueduct win coming over 1⅛ miles.
Improbable has 5-1 odds, suggesting his chances of winning could be anything but improbable, but he hasn't always been so highly regarded by Vegas. The Baffert-trained chestnut colt with the white blaze on his face will remind viewers of Justify for his looks, but he also shares other connections, such as Baffert and owners WinStar Farm, China Horse Club and Starlight Racing. He's also undefeated in his three starts.
If you're a longtime racing aficionado, you may be pleased to know that 15 of this year's 20 contenders can claim 1973 Triple Crown champion Secretariat's bloodline as part of their pedigree.
Speaking of the Triple Crown, after the conclusion of the first jewel of the prestigious race trio, we'll have a better idea of whether there are three-year-olds this year who are capable of winning racing's ultimate honor.
All odds via Sportsline and updated as of midnight April 29.