Published: Fri, May 04, 2018
Sport | By Patty Hardy

Kentucky Derby Draw 2018

Kentucky Derby Draw 2018

He knows he has Justify, and if he breaks well, he said, he will breathe easier. It felt great to get my first victory in a Triple Crown race.

He is not alone.

The Derby has essentially the same set of characters every year, which makes it fun and easy to handicap the victor. For that matter, even Mendelssohn had more to say than Keating. "If (Justify) had had a race at 2, it wouldn't have made any difference at all to me".

Why can't I agree?

Justify, a son of Scat Daddy, will not only have to face the Curse of Apollo, he will also have to confront the Curse of Storm Cat on Saturday.

While he's won nearly every major race, he still needs to win the Kentucky Derby. Justify's three victories have been in 2018. I would also love to see jockey Javier Castellano win his first Kentucky Derby, which is really the only blemish on his career. He could lose for other reasons, however.

A quartet of colts round out the top of the odds ahead of this year's Kentucky Derby, with Audible listed at +550, ahead of Magnum Moon at +700, while Good Magic joins Bolt d'Oro at +900.

Then there's this: Saturday will be Justify's first race not at his home track of Santa Anita. That rarely happens in the Derby. I really can't ask for more than the position I am in.

Mendelssohn is my selection.

New to horse racing? No horse has prepared in Europe and won the Derby. Or with jockey Ryan Moore, who is 0-for-14 on US dirt, will he add to the 13 Middle East disappointments that have never done better than fifth at Churchill Downs? The ownership group - Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith, and Susan Magnier - is one of the leading partnerships in the world.

However, none of those starts came as a two-year-old, and that means trainer Bob Baffert is trying to overcome a 136-year-old trend that has kept any Derby entrant out of the winner's circle that didn't race as a two-year-old. They're sending me horses. There's not that many races. He has already traveled to the States and been victorious, having won last year's BC Juvenile Turf at Del Mar.

And what a race that has turned out to be.

This year, a similar rule has been created for European horses.

■ Sands of Mali won the Prix Sigy at Chantilly in France in his first start of 2018. Only two, Bodeimeister in 2012 and Air Forbes One in 1982, entered the gate as favorites.

One question is whether he will be able to stay clear of a face full of dirt if he does not get clean air from the start of what will be only his second dirt race. He should be in a good position early. "We're not making no excuses, but it'll be different, I think, in the Derby here". We've rounded up the best springy frocks, festive hats and fun fascinators that'll have you rolling in Kentucky Derby style. He's not good enough to beat Mendelssohn, but he is good enough to finish second. "He won the Breeders' Cup a year ago off of a really, really good breeze". These horses, especially the ones that run hard, are, for better or worse, transformed for carrying that burden. The biggest thing will be to get him relaxed off what I think will be a hot pace. You have to let them regroup a little bit after their first race or two. "The big guys are sending me horses". "We've been very happy with everything, and we're all looking forward to the race".

Pletcher has the four, following his 24 entries over the previous eight years with winners in 2017 and 2010.

Magnum Moon is the 6-1 third choice.

Vino Rosso is the most risky, but he'll need a fast pace because he'll be racing from behind.

He's trained four Kentucky Derby winners.

Magnum Moon is a son of Malibu Moon, the sire of 2013 Kentucky Derby victor Orb, which may give him an edge over Justify in their respective quests to break the Curse of Apollo. Noble Indy was a gutsy victor of the Louisiana Derby but he was beating a suspect field.

This year he will take Combatant, a horse trained in Laredo, who sits with 50 to one odds heading into the race on Saturday. His trainer, Mick Ruis, still believes in him. "That's how confident we are".

With a field this talented, there are a number of runners that could likely hit the board.

And one last bet.

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