The 136th running of the Kentucky Derby starts tonight at 6:14PM ET. Let’s preview the big race at Churchill Downs.
2010 Kentucky Derby Contenders (Best Odds):
1. Lookin at Lucky (7/1)
The Derby favorite is coming off a great week of workouts at Churchill Downs and seems poised for victory on Saturday. Two problems: Sidney’s Candy (the horse with the second best odds) already beat him once this year and Lookin at Lucky is starting in the rail position, which hasn’t produced a winner since 1937. Yikes.
2. Ice Box (8/1)
Ice Box won March 20 at the Florida Derby after sitting in 11th place with a half-mile to run. He likes to close on the leaders and with it being a potentially sloppy track, Ice Box could be a nice value today.
3. Noble’s Promise (25/1)
Noble’s Promise only lost to Lookin at Lucky by a head at the February 13 Rebel Stakes at Oakland Park in Arkansas, but he’s better suited for shorter distances. He’ll likely settle into the middle of the pack and be a non-factor.
4. Super Saver (7/1)
Super Saver trainer Todd Pletcher is 0-for-24 in nine Kentucky Derby races, but with jockey Calvin Borel riding him, anything can happen. Borel has won two of the last three Derby races and seems to have the magic touch at Churchill Downs.
5. Line of David (20/1)
Line of David surprised at the Arkansas Derby and wound up beating Super Saver to win by a neck. He won’t be able to win wire to wire so he needs to show some endurance, but this might be the sleeper of the Derby.
6. Stately Victor (20/1)
The nice thing about Stately Victor is that he’s won on both turf and synthetic surfaces. The problem is that his win at the Blue Grass Stakes was over Polytrack and he’s never won on dirt. History has shown that contenders who make the Derby field by winning the last possible prep as longshots do not perform well at Churchill Downs and we don’t think Stately Victor will be any different. Despite having the same odds as American Lion, we feel don’t feel as though Stately Victor has the same value in terms of betting.
7. American Lion (22/1)
American Lion represents good value because he’s proven that he can race on dirt and has shown the ability to stalk the pace. Trainer Eoin Hartly has never won a Kentucky Derby, but his victory at the Illinois Derby is encouraging and he’s not a typical speedhorse. While he likes running out front, American Lion has shown signs that he can be held back for a late push. At 22/1, American Lion is a true sleeper.
8. Dean’s Kitten (23/1)
The big knock on Dean’s Kitten is that he only has one career dirt start and thus, is unproven against higher-class contenders. That said, with 11 lifetime starts, Dean’s Kitten is the most-raced horse in the 2010 Derby field and is coming off a win. Still, he finished 33 lengths behind Eskendereya in his only dirt track race and more than likely will be overmatched in this year’s Kentucky Derby.
9. Make Music For Me (28/1)
Make Music For Me’s claim to fame is running second behind Lookin at Lucky twice as a juvenile, which is noteworthy considering that Lookin at Lucky is the favorite on Saturday. It’s clear that Make Music For Me can hang with the big names, but will the dirt track present a problem for the 3-year-old colt? He’s won just one of eight lifetime starts and has never run on a dirt surface.
10. Paddy O’prado (10/1)
Most of Paddy O’prado’s experience has come on turf and his only dirt race ended in a seventh place finish (albeit in slop). That said, he has a couple of intangibles working in his favor, including his post position (as previously noted, the No. 10 position has produced 10 winners in the Derby) and his jockey, Kent Desormeaux, who has already won three titles. But despite these key trends, Paddy O’prado just doesn’t have enough experience on dirt to compete with some of the other contenders. Still, given his efforts in long-distance races this season, he's an intriguing contender.
11. Devil May Care (9/1)
The only filly in this year’s race, Devil May Care gets her chance to run against the top competition after winning the G2 Bonnie Miss. History isn’t on her side, however, as only three fillies have won the Kentucky Derby in the history of the race (the last coming in 1988 when Winning Colors was victorious). While she is a legitimate threat to finish in the top 3, she usually races close to the pace and is coming off a long layoff. Buyer beware on this filly, but again, she’s a sleeper.
12. Conveyance (30/1)
This is an extremely fast horse that may wind up setting the pace. The problem is that contenders rarely win wire to wire at the Kentucky Derby, which Conveyance may have to do if he hopes to emerge victorious on Saturday. He just doesn’t have the experience on longer tracks and suffered his first loss at the Sunland Derby, which was 1 1/8 miles. His speed is very intriguing and he’ll likely be leading at some point, but there’s a good possibility that he’ll tire in the end.
13. Jackson Bend (22/1)
We’re not entirely sure why Jackson Bend’s odds are relatively low compared to other horses with more experience against top competition. He’s only one race and that was on turf, so we’re surprised he’s not a bigger long shot to win the Kentucky Derby. That said, he went unbeaten in 2009 and will finally get his opportunity to show what he can do against the top names this Saturday. He also has a trainer in Nick Zito and a jockey in Mike Smith who have Kentucky Derby victories under their belts. Obviously they see a ton of potential in Jackson Bend, who could turn out to be a boom or bust bet on Saturday.
14. Mission Impazible (20/1)
The key to Mission Impazible finishing in the money is for him to get a good stalking trip. He usually runs a stalking trip of about three lengths off the pace, which probably won’t cut it on Saturday. He’s also coming off a five week layoff, has run three consecutive Beyer tops and his best is only a 94. He somewhat represents a sleeper because he has the talent, but chances are he’ll finish out of the top 3 at Churchill Downs.
15. Discreetly Mine (40/1)
If this were the Preakness Stakes, we’d probably like Discreetly Mine’s odds a little better than we do for the Kentucky Derby. He likes to lead or press rather than rally, is a true sprinter and his top Beyer is just a 92. That said, his finish at the Risen Star is encouraging and despite his fourth place finish at the Louisiana Derby, he finished within two lengths of the winner.
16. Awesome Act (11/1)
Awesome Act is one of the few contenders that suited to run in the long-distance Kentucky Derby. He has shown the ability to rally and has experience running on dirt tracks after largely being a turf runner earlier in his career. What’s impressive about his third place finish at Gotham behind Eskendereya is that he stumbled out of the starting gate and yet still finished in the money. He likes to rally from off the pace, which is perfect for racing in the Kentucky Derby, although he must overcome the fact that he’s only raced twice this season.
17. Dublin (18/1)
Dublin hasn’t won in five races, but has shown enough potential for some bettors to believe he’s a sleeper. He has shown the ability to make up ground and has been in the money in every single one of his 2010 races, but he hasn’t been able to produce a win. What’s most troubling is that he’s already lost to Line of David, Lookin at Lucky and Conveyance this year, so what makes anyone think he’ll overcome the odds on Saturday?
18. Backtalk (24/1)
Backtalk essentially slipped into the Derby field when other horses departed in the final week before the race. But he’s one of the more accomplished contenders, winning the Sportsman’s Paradise Stakes in come-from-behind fashion. The distance shouldn’t bother this 3-year-old colt, who is the son of former Kentucky Derby winner Smarty Jones. Believe it or not, Backtalk offers some value at 50/1 and if Mine That Bird taught us anything last year, it’s that heavy long shots shouldn’t be counted out.
19. Homeboykris (26/1)
Homeboykris is coming off a nine-week layoff and the distance of the race could become a factor, as three of his last four races were just one mile. Trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. has experience training horses coming off a long layoff, but Homeboykris’ best Beyer is an 89 and he only has two starts this year without a stakes win. Throw in his unlucky post position draw and we think Backtalk at 50/1 is a better value than Homeboykris at 45/1.
20. Sidney’s Candy (9/1)
We think Sidney’s Candy is a great value at 6/1 and has a legitimate shot at overtaking Lookin at Lucky on Saturday. The only problem is that this will be his first time on dirt, which is an issue. Still, he has beaten Lookin at Lucky this season and is coming off of three straight wins. He has also looked comfortable so far at Churchill Downs, which is a good sign given his unfamiliarity with dirt tracks. The bottom line is that we love his chances, although we know a lot of bettors will be scared off by his inexperience on dirt.
Date: May 1, 2010
Location: Louisville, Kentucky
Race Type: Thoroughbred
Race Track: Churchill Downs
Distance: 1 ¼ miles (10 furlongs)
Track: Dirt, Left-handed
Purse: US $2 million
Post Time: Approx. 6:14PM ET
TV: Coverage starts at 5:00PM ET on NBC
2009: Mine That Bird 2:02.66
2008: Big Brown 2:01.82
2007: Street Sense 2:02.17
2006: Barbaro 2:01.36
2005: Giacomo 2:02.75
2004: Smarty Jones 2:04.06
2003: Funny Cide 2:01.19
2002: War Emblem 2:01.13
2001: Monarchos 1:59.97
2000: Fusaichi Pegasus 2:01.00
Posted: 5/1/10 4:30PM ET