2018KENTUCKYDERBYLIVE Churchill Downs has opened its doors again for the 2018 Kentucky Derby on Saturday, when a field of 20 will look to take victory in the first of three Triple Crown legs.
The 144th edition of the Derby sees Bob Baffert-trained Justify enter as the favourite, per OddsShark, but Magnum Moon is lurking as one of four contenders trained by two-time winner Todd Pletcher.
Two of the top trainers in the United States are again poised for a grand head-to-head, with Pletcher—who won with Always Dreaming in 2017—hoping to become the first trainer to clinch successive wins since Baffert in 1997-98.
Although the Louisville race’s post time is scheduled for 6:34 p.m. ET, the race isn’t set to get underway until 6:46 p.m. ET, per Kenan Goyette of Sporting News.
Read on for a preview of the race’s contenders, complete with live-stream information to ensure you don’t miss Saturday’s showdown.
Date: Saturday, May 5
Post Time: 6:34 p.m. ET/11:34 p.m. BST
Live Stream: NBC Sports Live Extra (U.S.)
TV Info: NBCSN (U.S.)
Justify hopes to end Baffert’s three-year wait on a victory in this race, having won the most recent of his four crowns with American Pharoah in 2015.
Pharoah would later go on to clinch that year’s Triple Crown, but to stand a shot of doing that, leading favourites Magnum Moon and Justify would need to break the 135-year-old Apollo’s Curse, via the Kentucky Derby Twitter account.
Not since 1882, when Apollo was the victor, has a horse won the Run for the Roses after not making a start as a two-year-old.
What’s more, there’s a sibling rivalry in the field after equestrian editor Claudia Lorena said Justify has a family connection with Mendelssohn, one of two qualifiers from the inaugural European Road to the Kentucky Derby.
The dominance of Justify and Magnum Moon in the buildup to this race, however, means a horse like Audible could offer better value as a winning pick at Churchill Downs.
The second-most fancied of Pletcher’s quartet of entrants was third in his debut and has won his four races since then, including a triumph in his Grade 1 debut at the Florida Derby at the end of March.
That was also Audible’s first race at a mile-and-an-eighth, requiring just that extra test in stamina to prove he can do it over the Derby’s mile-and-a-quarter.
Keith Desormeaux, who trains distant underdog My Boy Jack, called this field “exceptional” and added it could restrict the top group of challengers down to “three or four standouts,” per Ed McNamara of Newsday.
The neutrals can only hope that means a more open and exciting race on Saturday, where Apollo’s Curse stands between the favourites and a leading leap in the hunt for this year’s Triple Crown.
The 144th Run for the Roses is finally here. The Kentucky Derby is just a few hours away and all 20 horses are in the paddock getting ready for the biggest event in all of horse racing. And it all goes down at Churchill Downs on Saturday in Louisville, Kentucky. Justify has been the betting favorite all week with wins in his only three races, including the Santa Anita Derby in April.
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Post time is set for 6:50 p.m. ET from the race track with favorites Justify, Mendelssohn, Good Magic and the rest of the field set to hit what is expected to be a muddy track. Here’s the full field with odds from KentuckyDerby.com: 1. Firenze Fire (66-1), 2. Free Drop Billy (35-1), 3. Promises Fulfilled (50-1), 4. Flameaway (45-1), 5. Audible (13-2), 6. Good Magic (8-1), 7. Justify (7-2), 8. Lone Sailor (50-1), 9. Hofburg (15-1), 10. My Boy Jack (18-1), 11. Bolt d’Oro (17-2), 12. Enticed (25-1), 13. Bravazo (60-1), 14. Mendelssohn (7-2), 15. Instilled Regard (60-1), 16. Magnum Moon (15-2), 17. Solomini (22-1), 18. Vino Rosso (12-1), 19. Noble Indy (30-1), 20. Combatant (66-1).