By Jerry Bossert @jerrybossert for @TheDailyPayoff
The Kentucky Derby, the most exciting two minutes in sports, will be run this Saturday for the 141st time before an estimated crowd of 160,000 people at Churchill Downs and another 16 million watching on television. Nearly $130 million will be bet on the race and here’s a look at my top 10 contenders for the “Run for the Roses.”
Upstart – Born in New York, this colt has quickly risen up the Derby trail as he’s never finished off the board from seven starts, winning three times. His ability to lay close to pace and still have plenty left to kick home makes him dangerous. ODDS: 18-1.
Materiality – Has tons of ability winning all three of his career starts but has to overcome the curse of Apollo (1882), who remains the last horse never to start as a 2-year-old and win the Derby. ODDS: 12-1
Dortmund – He’s probably going to be the second-choice in the wagering, having not lost from six starts and he already owns a win at Churchill Downs. His trainer Bob Baffert has won the race three times and his father, Big Brown, won the Derby in 2008. ODDS: 6-1.
American Pharoah – Worked super at Churchill on Sunday and will likely go off as the favorite having won his last four starts going away, giving Baffert the top two betting choices in the field. Last year, he was voted the champion 2-year-old colt and this year he’s won both of his starts easily but was facing overmatched opponents. ODDS: 5-1.
Frosted – Closed at 40-1 in the final Derby future bet but will be a much shorter price in the Derby after winning the Wood Memorial, snapping a three-race losing streak. Prior to the Wood, the colt underwent a minor operation to correct a breathing problem and now with a clear throat he may be heard loudly on Saturday. ODDS: 40-1.
Firing Line – If you like Dortmund, you have to like this speedy colt as he finished second beaten only a head the two times they’ve met. Away from Dortmund, Firing Line rolled, scoring by over 14 lengths in the Sunland Derby. ODDS: 13-1.
Mubtaahij – If it’s hay, oats and water you want for your Derby winner, this is your colt as he will be the lone starter not to race with Lasix, the anti-bleeding medication that has flooded American racing. This will be his first start in America after racing in the desert in Dubai. ODDS: 8-1.
Carpe Diem – Maybe money can buy your way into the Derby as this horse cost $1.6 million to purchase. He’s earned $1.5 million so far on the racetrack and will try to seize the day in a big way on Saturday. ODDS: 10-1.
International Star – Will become an international star if he prevails in America’s most famous horse race on Saturday. Has won his last three starts but is stepping up in company, which may put out his flame. ODDS: 17-1
Tencendur – Was listed at 11-1 in the final Derby future pool as part of the mutuel field but will be a much bigger price on Saturday being on his own. He still has an outside chance to light up Broadway for owner Philip Birsh, the CEO of Playbill, after finishing a much improved second in the Wood Memorial. ODDS: 11-1.