Horsin’ around: Breaking down the Kentucky Derby
8. Dialed In (favorite)
The scoop: Trainer Nick Zito’s only other Derby favorite
finished seventh in 2005. You’re always wary of a favorite with just four career starts, although he has sprinted to three wins. He possesses the best closing speed in the field, as evidenced by his overpowering comeback at the Florida Derby. Still, there’s plenty of immaturity here, and a slow start could be too much to overcome at this distance.
Bet it: If you picked the Lakers and Kobe to win the NBA finals.
The scoop: Three wins in five starts, including Arkansas Derby at 25-1 on April 16. He drew dreaded inside post that smothered last year’s Derby favorite Lookin At Lucky.
Bet it: If you’re from St. Louis or find yourself often repeating yourself often.
2. Brilliant Speed
The scoop: Just turned 3 and got early birthday present with an impressive last-to-first finish at the Blue Grass Stakes. That speed, though, has only shown up on turf, not dirt.
Bet it: If you own a pair of gold track shoes.
3. Twice the Appeal
The scoop: Surprise winner at the Sunland Derby but nothing too appealing about him besides Calvin Borel, who tries to become the first jockey to win three straight Derbys.
Bet it: If you bet Super Saver and sleeper Mine That Bird the last two Derbys.
4. Stay Thirsty
The scoop: Borel has worked him out at Churchill Downs for trainer Todd Pletcher but didn’t feel a strong enough connection to ride him. For good reason: He lost Florida Derby by 17 lengths. Another miserable performance like that will have his backers downing bottles of Dos Equis.
Bet it: If you’re the most interesting man in the world.
5. Decisive Moment
The scoop: Resides at Just for Fun Stables and that’s all this race will be for Moment with a journeyman, 52-year-old jockey on board.
Bet it: If you’re drunk.
6. Comma to the Top
The scoop: His six victories and 13 career starts are the most of any horse, but he hasn’t won since December. Speed out of the gate, but distance should overwhelm him.
Bet it: If you love punctuation. BUT … dnt if u <3 txting like this.
7. Pants on Fire
The scoop: Will be fresh after last racing and winning the Louisiana Derby on March 26. Jersey girl Rosie Napravnik, 23, will try to become first female jockey to win the Derby.
Bet it: If you’re a dirty liar.
9. Derby Kitten
The scoop: As stubborn as he is unprepared. A last-minute entry after Toby’s Corner pulled out, Mike Maker’s Kitten was housed by 27 lengths in his only dirt race.
Bet it: If you are the jockey. He still doesn’t have one.
The scoop: Maker’s other horse hasn’t fared much better on dirt, placing eighth in his only race, but lost by only a nose to Brilliant Speed at the Blue Grass. Unlike other Polytrack veterans, distance shouldn’t be a problem.
Bet it: If you’re high on Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen.
11. Master of Hounds
The scoop: Irish import has raced all over the world but has just one start this year, finishing second at the UAE Derby overseas. He’s never raced on dirt but has responded well in practice runs at Churchill.
Bet it: If you want to pick the winner.
The scoop: With more prep he might have higher odds. Santiva took two months off before getting trapped on the rail as the favorite in a ninth-place finish at the Blue Grass but did win a Grade 2 stakes at Churchill last year.
Bet it: If you’re watching the race with your son. Owner Tom Walters lets his son pick out the horses he buys each year.
13. Mucho Macho Man
The scoop: Raced top-tier talent such as Dialed In and has finished fourth or better in five straight, including a win in the Risen Star Stakes. Trainer Kathy Ritvo tries to become Derby’s first female winner.
Bet it: If you’re looking for the best value pick.
The scoop: Thee straight starts at 11/8 miles and won at Churchill Downs last year. He was second in Florida Derby, behind Dialed In, but lacks elite closing speed.
Bet it: If you believe in Jesus … Castanon. The jockey.
15. Midnight Interlude
The scoop: Surprise for three-time Derby winner Bob Baffert, who saw his top horse, The Factor, falter after a brilliant season as a 2-year-old. Despite win at Santa Anita, Saturday’s pace might sink him.
Bet it: If you trust a horse with just three starts.
16. Animal Kingdom
The scoop: Impressive in four starts, but beneficiary of good luck, light traffic. Pedigree screams turf, but his workouts have been promising.
Bet it: If you’ve seen the Academy Award-nominated Australian film of same name.
The scoop: His easy win at Gulfstream Park was more than misleading considering the stable of slow horses there. Finished fifth in the Florida Derby and hasn’t shown ability to break free from the pack, particularly on dirt.
Bet it: If you’re a salesman.
18. Uncle Mo
The scoop: Pletcher’s top prospect won all three of his races as a 2-year-old but took a setback in the Wood Memorial, which he should have dominated. Still, he owns the long strides that have defined many Derby winners.
Bet it: If you list Uncle Jesse or Uncle Joey as role models.
The scoop: From zero to near hero, Nehro is the hot horse after finishing second by a neck at both the Louisiana and Arkansas Derbys. He’ll enjoy the probable quick pace at Churchill Downs and gains more momentum with each horse he picks off down the stretch.
Bet it: If you want to hit on one of the favorites.
20. Watch Me Go
The scoop: Won the Grade 2 Tampa Derby at 43-1 but figures to be completely overmatched and depressed after watching Nehro bolt out early on Saturday. He has a weak pedigree and faded to sixth in the Illinois Derby.
Bet it: DON’T.