The Kentucky Derby is the most coveted race in all of thoroughbred horse racing. Betting on the Kentucky Derby exceeds that of any other race. In fact, it is one of the most wagered on events in all of sports. In 2012 a total of $133.1 million went through the windows for the Run for the Roses. The Derby is the first leg of the Triple Crown which also includes the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes.
One of the best ways of finding a winner in the Derby is to start following the contenders closely early on. We will track the top contenders and list our top 10 every week on this page. Be sure to check back often!
Verrazano (More Than Ready x Enchanted Rock by Giant’s Causeway): This is exactly the kind of horse I want in the Kentucky Derby. He has a high cruising speed and waits for the jockey to “push the button” and tell him it’s time to rock and roll. He will enter the Kentucky Derby after a “bounce” race in the Wood Memorial; he won anyway. The term “bounce” refers to a horse that runs a big effort and then regresses next out. So, for Verrazano to bounce and still win says a lot about his talent level. Look for a peak effort in the 2013 Kentucky Derby under the Twin Spires.
Goldencents (Into Mischief x Golden Works by Bankers Gold): This horse was one of my upset choices early in the year. I have $30 to win on him in the second Kentucky Derby Future Pool at around 30-1. I got a bit chilly after his San Felipe Stakes loss, but the way he rebounded in the Santa Anita Derby has me reconsidering. Like Verrazano, he waited for his jockey, Kevin Krigger, to push the button while relaxing in the mean time. That will be very important at Churchill Downs. The way he finished in the Santa Anita Derby quells the doubts I had about his pedigree; this horse can go the distance.
Itsmyluckyday (Lawyer Ron x Viva La Slew by Doneraile Court): This guy has been the fastest horse thus far in 2013, but lost his final prep where he finished second in the Florida Derby. Before that, he was a tremendous winner of the Gulfstream Park Derby and Holy Bull Stakes. If he can put it all together again in the Kentucky Derby he will score at a healthy price that figures to be in the double digit range.
Govenor Charlie (Midnight Lute x Silverbulletway by Storm Cat): Broke the track record when he won the Sunland Derby in his third start and will be the only representative from three-time Kentucky Derby winning trainer Bob Baffert. He has one of the most regal pedigrees in the race as his second dam is Kentucky Oaks winner Silverbulletday. He is largely an unknown and with a big move forward he is right in the mix of the Kentucky Derby. He is a sleeper play.
Normandy Invasion (Tapit x Boston Lady by Boston Harbor): Love how he ran to the wire after chasing a nothing pace in the Wood Memorial. With a clean trip and a healthy pace he could win going away in the Kentucky Derby. Jockey JJ Castellano chose to stay on this horse over Revolutionary.
Vyjack (Into Mischief x Life Happened by Stravinsky): Did not take defeat easily when losing for the first time in the Wood Memorial. He could be rounding right into his best form as he heads to Churchill Downs for top trainer and former jockey Rudy Rodriguez. He picks up Eclipse Award winning jockey Garrett Gomez as his pilot for the Run for the Roses.
Revolutionary (War Pass x Runup The Colors by AP Indy): After wins in the Withers Stakes and Louisiana Derby, he heads to Churchill Downs on a three race winning streak. Jockey JJ Castellano has jumped ship, but backers shouldn’t fear that. Three-time Kentucky Derby winning rider Calvin Borel has picked up the mount. He figures to close from the back after getting a rail skimming ride.
Orb (Malibu Moon x Lady Liberty by Unbridled): Many are high on this colt, but I have my doubts. While he is good, very good even, he just reminds me too much of 2011 Derby favorite Dialed In. Both closed to win the Florida Derby and both came home slow. Maybe Orb can be different, but I’m looking in other directions.
Overanalyze (Dixie Union x Unacloud by Unaccounted For): He came home slow in his Arkansas Derby win, but did so after going wide most of the race and he had something left in the tank. Jockey Rafael Bejarano is among the best in the world and this horse has several indicators that he can be a Kentucky Derby winner. First, he has a solid two-year-old foundation. He won the Futurity and Remsen Stakes last year. Second, he has the pedgiree to stay ten panels. Third, he will be well positioned in terms of the pace. Don’t write him off too soon.
Frac Daddy (Scat Daddy x Skipper’s Mate by Skip Away): Remember that romping maiden breaking win over the Churchill Downs main track last year? We know he likes the track. He’s rounding into form after his second place finish behind Overanalyze as well.