Betting odds makers have listed Verrazano (9/2) and Orb (5/1) as the contest’s early favorites, ‘chalked’ up following victories in the Wood Memorial and Florida Derby, respectively.
Verrazano is 4-for-4 in this year’s starts, topping Derby foes Normandy Invasion and Java’s War at Aqueduct and Tampa Bay Downs. Trainer Todd Pletcher last won the “Run For The Roses” with Super Saver, in 2010, while rider John Velazquez captured the following year’s crown aboard Animal Kingdom.
Orb broke his maiden at Aqueduct, this past November, and has been unbeaten in three starts since. Claude McGaughey’s colt switches riders back to Joel Rosario, who rode the challenger prior to Velazquez taking over the mount.
Normandy Invasion (9/1) and Java’s War (18/1) look for revenge against Verrazano, listed at higher prices. Horse bettors should note that Normandy Invasion has been idle since the Wood Memorial, while Java’s War went on to win Keeneland’s Blue Grass by a neck at 9/2 odds.
Revolutionary (7/1) and Goldencents (8/1) held on for victories in the Louisiana Derby and Santa Anita Derby, respectively. Revolutionary’s triumph capped off two straight wins under Javier Castellano’s drive, but three-time Kentucky Derby winner Calvin Borel is now expected to take the reins for this affair. Goldencents heads east with rider Kevin Krigger staying mounted for trainer Doug O’Neill, who won last year’s “Run For The Roses” with I’ll Have Another.
Overanalyze (18/1) captured the Arkansas Derby, giving Todd Pletcher another key challenger in this battle. Itsmyluckyday (12/1) placed second to Orb in the Florida Derby, while Vyjack (14/1) saw his four-race winning streak end with a third-place finish in the Wood Memorial.
Take a look back at our Gearing Up for the Triple Crown article.
Lukas, Baffert bring long shots to Louisville
Trainer D. Wayne Lukas expects to have a pair of contenders, giving the 77-year-old legend a chance at his fifth Kentucky Derby victory. Will Take Charge (20/1) has been idle since winning Oaklawn’s Rebel Stakes on March 16, while Oxbow (25/1) closed for a fifth-place finish in the Arkansas Derby.
Lukas’ rival Bob Baffert brings in Governor Charlie (30/1), who captured the Sunland Derby by five lengths. Baffert has won the Kentucky Derby on three prior occasions, including with Governor Charlie’s grandfather Real Quiet (1998).
Lukas and Baffert may see Todd Pletcher enter some additional long shots, Palice Malice (20/1) and Charming Kitten (65/1). Palice Malice switches jockeys to Mike Smith, who won 2005’s Kentucky Derby aboard long shot Giacomo. Charming Kitten would have to try dirt for the first time if entered, hitting the board in 6-of-7 starts on synthetic and turf.
Black Onyx (40/1) and Falling Sky (50/1) make up another pair of long shots worth tracking, with trainers Kelly Breen and John Terranova looking for their first Kentucky Derby triumph. Black Onyx switches to dirt after winning Turfway Park’s Spiral Stakes, keeping rider Joe Bravo aboard here. Falling Sky has seen his odds rise after falling short in the Arkansas Derby and Tampa Bay Derby.