The 144th running of the Kentucky Derby is loaded with fast horses. This may be surprising to many but Derby contenders can usually be narrowed and whittled down by grizzled handicappers to a group of three to four possible winners.
That’s not the case this year as eight horses possess the credentials, pedigree and speed to win the Run for the Roses.
The contender list begins with Justify, an undefeated colt and winner of the Santa Anita Derby. Justify has run three races and did not start as a 2-year-old. The last horse to win the Kentucky Derby without a start as a 2-year-old was Apollo. Don’t remember him, right? That’s because Apollo’s win came in 1882.
Bolt d’Oro chased home Justify in the Santa Anita Derby to stamp himself as a contender.
Mendelssohn is UAE Derby winner who shipped to Kentucky from Ireland. No horse has ever run in the money that attempted the Dubai Derby to Kentucky Derby daily double.
Audible is the best of Florida by virtue of his win in the Florida Derby over Hofburg. Todd Pletcher trains and he leads all trainers with 48 Derby starters with four running today. Hofburg is a contender based on his runner-up finish.
Magnum Moon won the Arkansas Derby to remain undefeated in his four starts but he is also facing the Curse of Apollo.
Good Magic won the Blue Grass Stakes in Kentucky and is the reigning 2-year-old champion, so he is certainly in with a big shot. The final horse with a chance is Vino Rosso, the Wood Memorial winner from New York and yet another Pletcher trainee.
Eight horses have a chance to write their names in horse racing history books during the greatest two minutes in sports — the Kentucky Derby.
Chok’s Choices: 1, Good Magic; 2, Hofburg; 2, Justify
Good Luck and may they all come home safely.