The 148th running of the Kentucky Derby is fast approaching. On Saturday, May 7, at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, twenty, three-year-old horses will compete to win the most famous horse race in the US. It’s known as “the most exciting 2 minutes in sports”.
Following are the top twenty contenders and their current odds:
- Epicenter (5-1). His trainer, Steve Asmussen, has trained more winners in North America than anyone else. But he’s never won the Kentucky Derby. Epicenter looks to be his best chance of doing that.
- Zandon (6-1). This horse has a reputation as a closer and has finished in the top 3 in his last four races, with two first-place finishes. Most notably, he beat Smile Happy in his last race to take first place.
- White Abarrio (14-1). He has notched first place in all but one race in his last five races. He came in third at the Kentucky Jockey Club. In his last two races in Florida, his Beyer Speed Figure almost broke 100. If he keeps improving, his odds might not be as good as they are now.
- Mo Donegal (8-1). Although he isn’t as consistent as some of the other contenders, he does seem to like longer races. This will bode well for the 1 ¼ mile race. He took first place in his most recent race with a Beyer Speed Figure of 96.
- Tiz the Bomb (20-1). He’s won five of his last eight starts and tends to run mid-pack before making a late run.
- Cyberknife (22-1). According to his trainer Brad Cox, Cyberknife has a lot of energy. “He can be a little tough on a rider. But he seems to be growing up mentally.” Cox and jockey Florent Geroux won the derby in 2021 with Mandoloun.
- Crown Pride (50-1). He was born and bred in Japan, making it difficult to get an accurate comparison to American horses. He beat out 15 runners in the UAE Derby, but that doesn’t compare to many of the American races. He excels on the faster and longer tracks, which should help him in Kentucky.
- Taiba (6-1). This is a horse to keep an eye on. He posted a 103 Beyer Speed Figure on his first race, winning it by six lengths. His second race was a 1 1/8 mile race where he posted a 102 BSF. That’s the best 2-race start by any horse in his field. Unfortunately, his trainer, Bob Baffert, was suspended, so Taiba is now with Tim Yakteen.
- Simplification (22-1). This colt seems to have power to burn and should do well on the longer track.
- Smile Happy (14-1). He’s a contender in the derby with a versatile running style. He should have no problems with the distance but isn’t being strongly considered for the race.
- Classic Causeway. This horse has a front-runner style that began this season with back-to-back wins at Tampa Bay Downs. This is his trainer, Brian Lynch’s first Derby.
- Tawny Port (100-1). Even though he’s won three out of his last five races, he came in fifth in the Rising Star (G2), which featured other Derby contenders. His Beyer Speed Figures have been rising but are behind the favorites for the race.
- Barber Road (30-1). Since last August, he’s run eight races, finishing in the top four in all of them. He likes to hang back until the final stretch. If he continues to do well in the longer races, he’ll make an excellent closer for the Derby.
- Un Ojo (75-1). This is another experienced horse with seven races completed. His Beyer Speed Figures aren’t as good as Barber Road’s, and he finished in eighth place in his last race.
- Early Voting (25-1). He’s a contender because of his fast starts and ability to get to the front. The concern is whether he can keep up the pace for the long Derby race.
- Messier (6-1). He already has three wins in his career, but with his trainer, Bob Baffert suspended, Messier had to switch barns to get ready for the big race.
- Zozos (20-1). He has raced only three times, winning his debut in January. He is one of three horses being trained by Brad Cox.
- Summer is Tomorrow (90-1). Another experienced horse, he raced in the UAE Derby, leading most of the race until he was overtaken by Crown Pride deep in the stretch.
- Charge It (20-1). His trainer, Todd Pletcher, has already won two Kentucky Derbys, so he knows how to prepare his horses for this race. Charge It has only competed in three races but was able to win one of them and came in second in the other two.
- Happy Jack. He made it into the twentieth position when Slow Down Andy was taken out of the running because of an illness. Doug O’Neill trains both horses.
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