Published: Fri, May 04, 2018
Money | By Hannah Jacobs

All signs point to epic Kentucky Derby

All signs point to epic Kentucky Derby

Horse racing is still called the sport of kings, but it has been decades since it stood on top of the American sporting pedestal along with boxing and baseball. Is it loaded with great 3-year-olds?

Lukas is also motivated to give Calumet Farm its record ninth Derby victor and first since Forward Pass was awarded the win 50 years ago after Dancer's Image was disqualified for a failed postrace drug test.

Interestingly, past year the organizers of the Kentucky Derby instituted the "Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby" rule, which allowed for horses from that respective country to be able to compete in the race. The Washington Post's Neil Greenberg gave a mike-dropping breakdown of who he thinks will win the race and take the first of horse racing's Infinity Stones (Spoiler Alert: It's Bolt d'Oro), but we'll get to him and others soon enough.

That brings us to the favorites - Justify and Mendelssohn.

A curse hangs over this year's Kentucky Derby, and I'm not just talking about the new Churchill Downs parking plan.


By its very nature, the Kentucky Derby is an intensely competitive race for a bouquet of reasons: the random nature of the post draw, the field size, the horses' questionable stamina, the weather, and the fact that about half the horses in any given year can win the race.

All the guesses and handicapping using various angles can be ignored as the gates open on Saturday, when more than 150,000 fans are in full throat and 20 horses barrel down the front straightaway at Churchill Downs just hoping to survive the crush that heads into that first turn.

Even in the Kentucky Derby, a race that many believe is about as kind to frontrunners as Taylor Swift is to ex-boyfriends, this universal bias has been present. Start with the so-called Apollo Curse. This may be the year a bettor can capitalize on a qualified runner that may be overlooked among other bettors.

Like all Kentucky Derbys, with 20 horses in the field, it is a good wagering opportunity for whomever draws your favor.

The 144th running of the Kentucky Derby on Saturday appears on paper to have one of the most talent-laden fields ever assembled for a Run for the Roses.


The first of Todd Pletcher's four horses; he has now surpassed D. Wayne Lukas as the trainer with the most Derby starters (52).

The Eclipse Champion Two-Year-Old, Good Magic, is at a 12-1 morning line. No victor of the UAE Derby has continued on to win in the Kentucky Derby, with the best result in nine tries a sixth-place finish. "He won the Breeders' Cup past year off of a really, really good breeze". While he had a dip in the Fountain of Youth Stakes (third place) in March, he came back to win the Blue Grass Stakes in April. I think his pedigree and running style suit the distance, and he should find his way into the exotics. Unraced at age 2, the striking colt has just three career starts, all victories. Apollo was the last Kentucky Derby victor to not race at 2.

Despite Cox's optimistic outlook for those horses, most of the attention in the Oaks will likely focus on Monomoy Girl and Midnight Bisou, the race's only entrants with single-digit odds.

Magnum Moon will try to press the pace and will finish in the show position.


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