The 144th Kentucky Derby takes place on Saturday, May 5 and, as ever, the Run for the Roses promises to be the most exhilarating race on the sporting calendar.
The Derby is the first leg of the Triple Crown and is ran by three-year-old thoroughbreds at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky.
The race might only last around two minutes, but the 20 jockeys are competing for their share of $2 million in a frenzied event that is never without drama.
Here’s a look at the post time, TV schedule and the three favourites.
Post Time: Saturday, May 5 at 6:34 p.m. ET
Live Stream: NBC Sports Live
The favourite for the Kentucky Derby, according to OddsShark, is Justify, thanks to a trio of wins in three career starts. Jockey Mike Smith might have only won the Kentucky Derby once, back in 2005, but he has a superb chance following impressive victories since February.
Winning by nine-and-a-half lengths on his debut race at Santa Anita Park on February 18, Justify went on to win his next two, including a difficult test in the Santa Anita Derby. The son of Scat Daddy and product of trainer Bob Baffert, there is plenty of hype building around this horse.
“He did his thing,” Baffert told reporters after the Santa Anita Derby, per Blood-Horse. “He’s a superior racehorse. He does things easy.”
The second favourite was bought for $3 million at the 2016 Keeneland September yearling sale, the highest fee among the 20 horses racing in Louisville, and it easy to see why. Mendelssohn, the half-brother of champion racer Beholder, won the UAE Derby on March 31 by a phenomenal 18-and-a-half lengths.
Mendelssohn was also victorious in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at Del Mar last November, while his jockey Ryan Moore was Champion Jockey in Great Britain in 2006, 2008 and 2009. All those credentials together make for an exciting horse and a worthy challenger.
Ridden by four-time Eclipse Award winner Javier Castellano, Audible wasn’t expected to do much until a surge of positive results in 2018 that culminated in four consecutive, and emphatic, wins changed all that. Most notably, Audible won two of the three Gulfstream Park’s prep races, ensuring the horse’s place as the third favourite, according to OddsShark.