The Talent Runs Deep in This Year’s Field for the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs

Wednesday, May 1, 2019 1:58 PM UTC

Wednesday, May. 1, 2019 1:58 PM UTC

This Saturday afternoon at Churchill Downs in Louisville marks the 145th running of the Kentucky Derby for the top three-year old thoroughbred’s in this year’s class.

<p><strong>[Editor's Update 5/2/2019]</strong></p><p><em id="x_yui_3_16_0_ym19_1_1556803079697_7245">In breaking news from Churchill Downs concerning Saturday's Kentucky Derby, Omaha Beach has been scratched from the field due to complications with his breathing patterns. Trained by Richard Mandella, the recent Arkansas Derby winner opened as a 4/1 favorite on the morning line for the annual "Run For The Roses". His condition is expected to require minor surgery to his throat which could sideline the Kentucky-bred three-year old for two to three weeks.</em></p><p><em id="x_yui_3_16_0_ym19_1_1556803079697_7169">Mike Battaglia is the official oddsmaker for Churchill Downs. In light of the scratch, he has elevated trainer Bob Baffert's Game Winner to the new favorite at 9/2 odds after opening as a 5/1 second-favorite. Also trained by Baffert, Roadster and Improbable are now 5/1 second-favorites for Saturday's featured race at Churchill. This gives the Hall of Fame trainer the top three contenders in the 20-horse field.</em></p><p style="text-align:right"><em>-David Schwab</em></p><p>The field for the 145<sup>th</sup> running of the Kentucky Derby has been set with post positions and morning line odds for the 21 entries on the list. Unlike the past few years when one champion three-year old dominated the field, the 2019 ‘Run For The Roses’ is four-deep with top contenders to win along with another four or five entries that have a legitimate shot at crossing the finish line first.</p><p>As the crown jewel of the Triple Crown racing series, the Kentucky Derby is contested on the dirt track at Churchill over a distance of 1 ¼ miles. The total prize purse for Saturday’s main event has been set at $3 million.</p><p></p><h2><strong>Betting the Top Contenders</strong></h2><p></p><p>Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert has a major stake in this year’s Kentucky Derby with three of the top four colts in the field when it comes to the morning line odds. He is the same trainer that led American Pharoah (2015) and Justify (2018) to <a href="" target="_blank">Triple Crown</a> glory that started with a victory in this race.</p><p>If I had to pick the outright winner for this year’s Kentucky Derby, it would be Baffert’s <strong>Game Winner</strong> as a 5/1 second-favorite. Breaking from the No. 16 post with veteran jockey Joel Rosario on board, he has yet to live up to expectations as a three-year old after earning champion honors as a juvenile. The biggest victory in his early racing career was in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Churchill Downs.</p><p>In two major preps this season, the son of Candy Ride finished second to Omaha Beach in one division of the Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn in March ahead of another second-place run behind Roadster in April’s Santa Anita Derby. This time around, I think he finally breaks through by getting past both of those top contenders to once again make his way to the Winner’s Circle at Churchill.</p><p>While you cannot go wrong with Baffert’s other two entries, Roadster and Improbable at 6/1 odds on the morning line, my second-place pick would be trainer Richard Mandella’s <strong>Omaha Beach* (Editor's Note: see above update)</strong> as the 4/1 favorite to win. This Kentucky-bred colt will break from an ideal position at No. 12 with jockey Mike Smith getting the ride.</p><p>He made much less of an impact as a two-year old with a pair of money finishes in two Maiden Special Weight races at Del Mar and Santa Anita. The sire of War Front first made his presence known as a legitimate Kentucky Derby contender with that impressive win against Game Winner in the Rebel. He cemented his rightful place at the top of that list with another huge victory at Oaklawn Park in the Arkansas Derby on April 13. He covered the 1 1/8 miles on dirt in 1:49.91 past Improbable and Country House.</p><p></p><h2><strong>One to Watch</strong></h2><p></p><p>If you are trying to fill out a trifecta bet with a show horse at longer odds, my top choice would be <strong>Win Win Win</strong> at 15/1 odds. Trained by Mike Trombetta and ridden by jockey Julian Pimental, this Florida-bred three-year old is set to break from the favorable No. 14 post in the middle of the pack.</p><p>Staying true to his name, this pedigree of Hat Trick won the ungraded Pasco Stakes at Tampa bay Downs to kick off his three-year old campaign. After finishing third in the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby at 1 1/16 miles on March 9, he looked much stronger in a second-place run in the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland on April 6. He finished second in the 1 1/8-mile run on dirt behind Vekoma, who will start from the No. 6 post on Saturday at 20/1 odds.</p><p>[/]{"component": "embedHTML", "code": "&lt;blockquote class=\"twitter-tweet\" data-lang=\"en\"&gt;&lt;p lang=\"en\" dir=\"ltr\"&gt;Post Positions for the 145th &lt;a href=\";amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw\"&gt;#KyDerby&lt;/a&gt; &lt;a href=\"\"&gt;;/a&gt;&lt;/p&gt;— Kentucky Derby (@KentuckyDerby) &lt;a href=\"\"&gt;April 30, 2019&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/blockquote&gt;\n&lt;script async src=\"\" charset=\"utf-8\"&gt;&lt;/script&gt;\n"}[/]</p><p style="text-align:center"><a href="" target="_blank"><strong>Click Here for SBR's Exclusive Triple Crown Coverage, brought to you by BOVADA!</strong></a></p>
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