This Saturday at fabled Churchill Downs in Louisville, marks the 138th running of thoroughbred horse racing’s most prestigious event, the Kentucky Derby. The field of 20 of the top three-year olds in the country has been set, the post positions have been assigned, and the early morning odds have been released.
The following is a look at our top favorite, contender, and longshot for Saturday’s race along with their current odds to win this year’s Crown Jewel of the Triple Crown racing season.
Favorite- Union Rags
Bodemeister is the early odds-on- favorite at 4/1 to win the Derby, but we are going with Union Rags at 9/2 as our favorite to win this race. Trained by Michael Matz and ridden by Julien Leparoux, this colt will start from the fourth post in this race. He had a very productive juvenile campaign with victories in the grade II Saratoga Special and grade I Champagne Stakes, but could only manage a second-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile after going off as the favorite.
Union Rags won his first graded stakes race as a three-year old in the grade II Fountain of Youth in late February and finished third in the grade I Florida Derby on March 31.
This colt was being considered a legitimate Derby contender well before he even turned three with three victories in three races in 2011 including his win in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. He went on to garner top honors as ‘Juvenile Champion of the Year’.
He started his three-year old campaign with a somewhat disappointing second-place finish in the grade III Holy Bull Stakes on January 29 but rebounded with a victory in the grade III Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct on March 3. His last time out, in the grade I Bluegrass Stakes at Keeneland, Hansen ran first for most of the way, but gave ground to Dullahan to finish second. Trained by Mike Maker and ridden out of the 14th post in Saturday’s race by Ramon Dominguez, he has been opened as a 10/1 favorite on the morning line.
Longshot- I’ll Have Another
Given the fact that the favorite has only won this race seven times since 1975, there is tremendous value to be found in this field with horses that would be considered mild longshots with odds of 12/1 or higher. Our pick for horses that fall into this category is easily I’ll Have Another, who was opened at 12/1 on the morning line.
He is trained by Doug O’Neill and will be ridden by Mario Gutierrez out of the 19th post for the Derby. What makes this colt so attractive at these odds is his performance in a couple of major prep races earlier in the year. I’ll Have Another started his three-year old season with a stirring victory in the grade II Robert B. Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita on Feb.4 and then cemented himself as a legitimate Derby contender with a win in the grade I Santa Anita Derby on April 7 by a nose over Creative Cause.
Win: I’ll Have Another
Place: Union Rags