The 141st running of the Kentucky Derby is scheduled for Saturday, May 2 at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. While we still have over a week left before the big race, odds have been released on the current field. As of right now there are 18 horses with odds available.
According to the oddsmakers, there’s three horses in this year’s field that have a solid chance to join the long list of previous winners. American Pharoah, Dortmund and Carpe Diem are the only horses with odds better than 12 to 1. While it’s still too early to make your final predictions, it’s never too early to start researching the field. Here’s a quick breakdown of the 3 favorites, along with the odds on the rest of the field.
American Pharoah (+225)
As you can see, American Pharoah is the odds on favorite and it’s unlikely that will change. After watching American Pharoah win the Arkansas Derby by 8 lengths over a couple of other Kentucky Derby contenders in Far Right (33/1) and Mr. Z (50/1), Churchill Downs handicapper Mike Battaglia has came out and said that American Pharoah will be the morning-line favorite (released April 29th).
While that’s a strong statement by Battaglia, a week earlier he said that Dortmund would be the morning-line favorite regardless of what American Pharoah did at the Arkansas Derby. Either Battaglia changes his mind a lot or American Pharoah is that good.
Don’t be surprised if the odds continue to shrink on American Pharoah. Two things that a lot of people like to look at is the trainer and jockey of a horse. American Pharoah is trained by one of the most respected guys in the industry in Bob Baffert (3-time Derby winner) and will be mounted by two-time Kentucky Derby winning jockey Victor Espinoza (War Emblem – 2002 & California Chrome – 2014).
The next strongest contender, as you might have guessed from Dortmund’s statement, is American Pharoah stablemate Dortmund, who is undefeated in six races, including his most recent win at the Santa Anita Derby. Despite bobbling at the start, Dortmund was able to secure a 4 1/4 length win over Our Lucky Dane and Bolo.
While the margin of his victory was almost half that of American Pharoah’s win at the Arkansas Derby, the two ran very similar times on the two equal length tracks (1 1/8 mile). American Pharoah ran the Arkansas Derby in 1:48.52, while Dortmund ran the Santa Anita Derby at 1:48.73 (keep in mind the poor start).
Not only is Dortmund also trained by Bob Baffert, but he comes from a pretty impressive pedigree of Big Brown, who won the 2008 Kentucky Derby by 4 3/4 lengths and did so from the 20th starting gate (1st time since 1929). Big Brown went on to win the Preakness by 5 1/4 lengths and was thought to be the horse that could break the Triple Crown drought, but a quarter crack in his left front hoof ended up preventing him from finishing at the Belmont Stakes.
Carpe Diem (+500)
The last big favorite to cover is Carpe Diem, who has wins at both the Tampa Bay Derby-G2 and Blue Grass Stakes-G1 in his only two races of 2015. Carpe Diem’s win at the Blue Grass Stakes came over two Kentucky Derby contenders in Danzing Moon (40/1) and Ocho Ocho Ocho (50/1). His time on the 1 1/8 mile track was 1:49.77.
While you don’t want to get too carried away with looking at races from 2014, it is worth noting that Carpe Diem finished 2nd to 20-1 longshot Texas Red at the 2014 Breeder’s Cup Juvenile. Why is that important? Texas Red finished 3rd to American Pharoah just over a month prior to the Breeder’s Cup at the FrontRunner-G1.
Carpe Diem is trained by Todd Pletcher, who is also one of the most respected trainers in the industry. Pletcher recently had his first horse win the Kentucky Derby with Super Saver back in 2010. Expected to be on his back at Churchill Downs is jockey John Velazquez, who won the 2011 Kentucky Derby with Animal Kingdom.
The Rest of Field
|Ocho Ocho Ocho||50/1|