The Kentucky Derby is just four days away, with no clear-cut favorite in a field that has over 20 horses. As an example, and only as an example, CBS Sports' Jody Demling, who has predicted the last nine Derby winners, likes My Boy Jack, who as of this writing has 30:1 odds.
"They are a little competitive, so they get to bet on their horse with play money, we use play money, 'prestige bucks, '" director of operations Yvonne Sturrock says. Undefeated in three starts, including the Santa Anita Derby, Justify certainly has the kind of talent that figures to attract large chunks of cash and make him the carrier of the torch in a bid for a six-pack. "We didn't want to be in the one hole and we didn't want to be 20. So I think this horse is special in that way". Magnum Moon is 4 for 4 this year, winning at both the Rebel Stakes and the Arkansas Derby.
What the draw did reveal was a pretty clear picture of how Saturday's 144 Derby (NBC, post time 6:46 p.m.) will be run in the first few hundred yards.
"It seems like everything that we used to fear in Kentucky Derby history has gone down, so why not that?" He made all to win in Meydan but faces a major task if he's to do the same in a 20-runner field on Saturday.
Mix it all together and, unless there's a wave of nostalgia cash for "The Pharoah Colors", Solomini can offer the pleasing blend of nice betting value and a good chance at landing in the top three. The only horses to even place or show since then were Hampden (third in 1946), Coaltown (second in 1948), Agitate (third in 1974), Reinvested (third in 1982), Strodes Creek (second in 1994), Curlin (third in 2007), Bodemeister (second in 2012) and Battle of Midway (third in 2017).
Though he had seven Eclipse Awards to his name as the nation's top trainer, Pletcher was widely viewed as a Derby Day disappointment heading into last year's race.
Check back later in the week for more 2018 Kentucky Derby updates. "But if Curlin couldn't do it, it's going to be hard for anybody to do it".
Trainer Bill Mott, who has Hofburg in Saturday's race, is a believer.
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"I'm glad I wasn't here, if I had been sitting here I probably would've drawn the 1", Baffert said, kind of joking. Audible has notable trainer Todd Pletcher by his side, who was able to lead Florida Derby victor Always Dreaming to a Kentucky Derby victory in 2017. The other is 6-1 third choice Magnum Moon.
Audible, also trained by Pletcher, boasts better odds than Magnum Moon. A horse coming from Europe has never won America's greatest race. Talking to Jacob West, the racing manager for (owners) Mr. and Mrs. (Robert) Low, we just thought: 'We think a lot of this colt. ". When the right horse comes along, it will happen".
Trainer Bob Baffert had no chance to fret about the Kentucky Derby draw.
Mindful of his age, Lukas said the caveat is how long he will be physically able to do the job. "If it's Todd Pletcher and Bob Baffert, I wouldn't worry about that one iota because they've been here and know what to do". "When they went through the first 10 horses [in selecting gates] and I hadn't gotten in the mix yet, I thought maybe they'd lost my entries". I don't believe that at all. Audible's dam Blue Devil Bel won seven times but none of those victories were past six furlongs.
Battaglia said that Justify's record as well as Baffert's record of winning four Derby will have bettors embracing Justify.
"The only reason I'm the favorite is because I beat Bolt d'Oro and he was the horse to beat", said Baffert, referring to Justify's three-length win over his rival in the Santa Anita Derby last month.
Mark Inabinett is a sports reporter for Alabama Media Group.