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Kentucky Derby: Justify cruises to win over Good Magic and Audible

Although Justify was unraced as a 2-year-old, he was up to the task as the favorite in the 2018 Kentucky Derby on Saturday in Louisville, Ky., The Bob Baffert-trained colt moved to the front early in the race and stayed on the lead until pulling away down the stretch. Stay tuned here for analysis and recap of the race. Let the Triple Crown debate begin.

PHOTO GALLERIES: 144th running of the Kentucky Derby | Hats of the Kentucky Derby

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Justify wins the 144th Kentucky Derby over a sloppy track

Justify, with Mike Smith aboard, nears the finish line ahead of Audible (5) and Good Magic (6) during the Kentucky Derby on Saturday.
(Kiichiro Sato / Associated Press)

This time the hype had it right.

In a performance of raw talent and speed, Justify did something that hadn’t been done since 1882 in winning the 144th Kentucky Derby on Saturday at Churchill Downs. No horse who did not race as a 2-year-old had won the Derby since Apollo did it 136 years ago.

Justify ran the perfect race, breaking alertly and then sitting outside Promises Fulfilled on the lead through a blistering first quarter-mile. Things slowed down a little in the second quarter but by then Justify was looking perfect with no mud on his face over a track that was pelted by rain all day and during the race.

By the time he entered the far turn he eased to the lead and looked unbeatable. Good Magic and Audible were giving chase but Justify was not going to be caught this day. He finished 2 1/2 lengths ahead of Good Magic by covering the 1 1/4 miles in 2 minutes 4.20 seconds.

“He’s so good I don’t have the vocabulary to put it in words,” jockey Mike Smith said.

It was trainer Bob Baffert’s fifth Kentucky Derby win and he hinted at higher expectations for Justify.

“Him and [Triple Crown winner] American Pharoah and Arrogate, these horses are cut from a different [cloth],” Baffert said.

“It took a great horse to do what he did today. I’m just glad it’s over. I rank him with my top ones.”

Bolt d’Oro was briefly near the lead on the turn but faded to 11th. Mendelssohn, who won the UAE Derby by 18 1/2 lengths, finished last in the 20-horse field. Magnum Moon, another undefeated but unraced 2-year-old, finished 19th.

Justify, who went off as the 5-2 favorite, paid $7.80, $6.00 and $4.40.

Justify, barring any unforeseen complication, will head to Baltimore next to run in the second leg of the Triple Crown, the Preakness Stakes, in two weeks. If he wins there, three weeks later he will go to New York for the Belmont Stakes to try to become the second Triple Crown winner in four years.

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Kentucky Derby odds with less than an hour to go

The final odds are close to being set barring some monster-sized bet of at least a million. Justify will be the favorite. And Audible, My Boy Jack and Mendelssohn will be close as the second favorites. There some movement on longer shots, but nothing that will change much. This is where they are at 6 p.m. local time (3 p.m. Pacific).

1. Firenze Fire 57-1

2. Free Drop Billy 43-1

3. Promises Fulfilled 47-1

4. Flameaway 41-1

5. Audible 6-1

6. Good Magic 9-1

7. Justify 3-1

8. Lone Sailor 23-1

9. Hofburg 27-1

10. My Boy Jack 6-1

11. Bolt d’Oro 8-1

12. Enticed 53-1

13. Bravazo 69-1

14. Mendelssohn 7-1

15. Instilled Regard 90-1

16. Magnum Moon 13-1

17. Solomini 66-1

18. Vino Rosso 13-1

19. Noble Indy 58-1

20. Combatant 71-1

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Kentucky Derby odds with less than two hours to go

The pool is now closing in on $21 million. The bulletin is that Instilled Regard, who has spent the day at 99-1 (because that’s as high as they will list) has dropped below that mark and is now at 95-1. Other than that, everything is pretty much the same.

Lone Sailor continues to drop. He started the day at 33-1 and is now down to 23-1.

This is where they are at 5 p.m. local time (2 p.m. Pacific).

1. Firenze Fire 59-1

2. Free Drop Billy 43-1

3. Promises Fulfilled 47-1

4. Flameaway 44-1

5. Audible 6-1

6. Good Magic 9-1

7. Justify 3-1

8. Lone Sailor 23-1

9. Hofburg 27-1

10. My Boy Jack 5-1

11. Bold d’Oro 8-1

12. Enticed 55-1

13. Bravazo 69-1

14. Mendelssohn 7-1

15. Instilled Regard 95-1

16. Magnum Moon 13-1

17. Solomini 67-1

18. Vino Rosso 14-1

19. Noble Indy 59-1

20. Combatant 75-1

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Weather deteriorating for Kentucky Derby

The rain that was supposed to be light and over by midafternoon has now turned into a flash flood warning until 6:30 p.m.

The race is scheduled to start at 6:46 p.m.

More than 2 inches already have fallen, and the track is a mess. It’s been downgraded to sloppy. The original hope was that the rain would stop, and officials would be able to rehabilitate the track, but that is becoming less likely.

Last year, the track was equally as wet, and it caused a lot of horses to slip and then bang into each other like a demolition derby.

Still, the post-time favorite Always Dreaming won that race. But the effort of several good horses was compromised.

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Kentucky Derby odds with less than three hours to go

The pool is now closing in on $17 million. Justify remains the 3-1 favorite, and Lone Sailor continues to drop. He started the day at 33-1 and is now down to 24-1.

There is still a lot of money out there as bettors wait to see what the track’s conditions will be at race time.

This is where they are at 4 p.m. local time (1 p.m. Pacific).

1. Firenze Fire 61-1

2. Free Drop Billy 43-1

3. Promises Fulfilled 47-1

4. Flameaway 46-1

5. Audible 6-1

6. Good Magic 9-1

7. Justify 3-1

8. Lone Sailor 24-1

9. Hofburg 26-1

10. My Boy Jack 5-1

11. Bold d’Oro 8-1

12. Enticed 55-1

13. Bravazo 68-1

14. Mendelssohn 6-1

15. Instilled Regard 99-1 (actually higher)

16. Magnum Moon 13-1

17. Solomini 67-1

18. Vino Rosso 15-1

19. Noble Indy 59-1

20. Combatant 77-1

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Kentucky Derby Field: No. 20 Combatant

Trainer: Steve Asmussen

Jockey: Ricardo Santana Jr.

Owner: Winchell Thoroughbred and Willis Horton Racing

Morning Line: 50-1

How he got here: Fourth in the Arkansas Derby

Why he’ll win: That’s a tough case to make. His only win was in his second race, a maiden. He qualified because a horse with more points was scratched.

Why he won’t win: He’s got too much to overcome, and he’s just not at the level of the other horses.

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Kentucky Derby Field: No. 19 Noble Indy

Trainer: Todd Pletcher

Jockey: Florent Geroux

Owner: WinStar Farm and Repole Stable

Morning Line: 30-1

How he got here: Won the Louisiana Derby

Why he’ll win: He’s won three of four starts and almost $700,000. He could be among those near the lead and if the fractions are slow enough could pull off a monumental upset.

Why he won’t win: He’s pretty lightly raced with only four trips. He gets a new jockey in Geroux as John Velazquez elected to ride Vino Rosso. He’s got a lot of ground to cover to get to the rail.

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Kentucky Derby Field: No. 18 Vino Rosso

Trainer: Todd Pletcher

Jockey: John Velazquez

Owner: St. Elias Stable and Repole Stable

Morning Line: 12-1:

How he got here: Won the Wood Memorial

Why he’ll win: Last year’s winning Derby jockey Velazquez had his choice of Pletcher horses to ride. He chose Vino Rosso over Audible, which got a lot of people’s attention. An easy win in the Wood Memorial after a lackluster Tampa Bay Derby means the horse is moving in the right direction.

Why he won’t win: The post-position draw didn’t do him any favors, even though four of the last seven winners have broken from the auxiliary gate. He might be a shade below the very top horse in the race.

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Kentucky Derby odds with less than 4 hours to go

Here are the latest Kentucky Derby odds. The pool is now over $13 million and Justify has ticked down to 3-1 from 7-2. The big surprise is My Boy Jack, who has stayed at 5-1 all day after being 30-1 on the morning line. If you try to figure out why Lone Sailor has dropped from 33-1 to 25-1, the biggest change of any horse, you might consider his only win was over a sloppy course by 11 lengths — and it’s been raining at Churchill Downs. This is where they are at 3 p.m. local time (noon Pacific).

1. Firenze Fire 61-1

2. Free Drop Billy 42-1

3. Promises Fulfilled 48-1

4. Flameaway 48-1

5. Audible 6-1

6. Good Magic 9-1

7. Justify 3-1

8. Lone Sailor 25-1

9. Hofburg 25-1

10. My Boy Jack 5-1

11. Bold d’Oro 8-1

12. Enticed 55-1

13. Bravazo 68-1

14. Mendelssohn 6-1

15. Instilled Regard 99-1 (actually higher)

16. Magnum Moon 13-1

17. Solomini 66-1

18. Vino Rosso 15-1

19. Noble Indy 58-1

20. Combatant 77-1

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Kentucky Derby Field: No. 17 Solomini

Trainer: Bob Baffert

Jockey: Flavien Prat

Owner: Zayat Stables, Mrs. John Magnier, Michael B. Tabor and Derrick Smith

Morning Line: 30-1

How he got here: Third in the Arkansas Derby

Why he’ll win: He has shown flashes of brilliance but not at a steady rate. He has been racing at a high level with four of his last five races being Grade 1s. He has a great trainer and one of the best young jockeys, and he’s also won more than $700,000.

Why he won’t win: Even Baffert thinks he’s a long shot. The horse needs a lot of encouragement when racing, and isn’t a good morning worker. If he didn’t have enough going against him, the outside post will do him in.

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Kentucky Derby Field: No. 16 Magnum Moon

Trainer: Todd Pletcher

Jockey: Luis Saez

Owner: Robert and Lawana Low

Morning Line: 6-1

How he got here: Won the Arkansas Derby

Why he’ll win: He seems just a shade below the buzz factor, which could be a good thing. He’s won all four of his races and really never has been tested, meaning we have no idea how good he might really be. He’s done everything that’s been asked of him.

Why he won’t win: His tendency to drift in the stretch can be a cause for concern, especially in a 20-horse field. It could easily land him in trouble. He also hasn’t faced the toughest fields and is coming off the short three-week Arkansas turnaround.

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Track conditions worsen for Kentucky Derby

A light but steady rain continued to fall at Churchill Downs on Saturday as the track superintendent made the decision to seal the track.

Sealing is a process in which the ground is packed down with the goal of making the water drain off the top rather than seep deeper into the dirt, creating mud.

What that leaves is a wet track with water pooling in certain areas. If the rain stops after 3 p.m., as is expected, the track eventually will be unsealed, allowing for a more deeper cushion, which the horses are used to running on.

The condition of the course was downgraded from fast to muddy. Races are remaining on the turf course. The Kentucky Derby is scheduled to go off shortly before 7 p.m. local time.

Of the horses considered to be better, Justify, Bolt d’Oro and My Boy Jack have won over an off track. Technically, Bolt d’Oro’s win in the San Felipe was on a fast track, but it also was a very wet track.

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Kentucky Derby Field: No. 15 Instilled Regard

Trainer: Jerry Hollendorfer

Jockey: Drayden Van Dyke

Owner: OXO Equine

Morning Line: 50-1

How he got here: Fourth place in the Santa Anita Derby

Why he’ll win: He seemed to be on a roll when he ran great in the Los Alamitos Futurity, almost winning except for interference by Solomini, then followed that up with an easy win in the Lecomte at Fair Grounds. Then he had a couple of fourth-place finishes that Hollendorfer said he had excuses for, so maybe.

Why he won’t win: He hasn’t shown that he can compete at the highest level in his last two races. He has been beaten by Justify, Bolt d’Oro and even Bravazo.

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Kentucky Derby Field: No. 14 Mendelssohn

Trainer: Aidan O’Brien

Jockey: Ryan Moore

Owner: Derrick Smith, Mrs. John Magnier, Michael B. Tabor

Morning Line: 5-1

How he got here: Won the UAE Derby

Why he’ll win: His smashing 18 1/2-length win in the UAE Derby turned a lot of heads. Can he really be that good? He also has arguably the best trainer in the world in O’Brien, who has never won a Kentucky Derby and wants to add it to his list of accomplishments. The colt also won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf.

Why he won’t win: No horse from Dubai has ever finished better than fifth. It’s a tough haul to fly across the globe, clear quarantine on Wednesday, do a light workout on Thursday, do a full workout on Friday and win the Kentucky Derby on Saturday.

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Kentucky Derby odds with less than five hours to go

Here are the latest Kentucky Derby odds. Not a lot has changed in the last hour as the betting pool approached $11 million. The higher the pool goes, the less likely the odds will change much. Justify will likely go off as the favorite. He’s currently 7-2, with Audible and Mendelssohn at 6-1. This is where they are at 2 p.m. local time at Churchill Downs (11 a.m. Pacific).

1. Firenze Fire 61-1

2. Free Drop Billy 41-1

3. Promises Fulfilled 47-1

4. Flameaway 49-1

5. Audible 6-1

6. Good Magic 9-1

7. Justify 7-2

8. Lone Sailor 26-1

9. Hofburg 25-1

10. My Boy Jack 5-1

11. Bold d’Oro 8-1

12. Enticed 55-1

13. Bravazo 68-1

14. Mendelssohn 6-1

15. Instilled Regard 99-1 (actually higher)

16. Magnum Moon 13-1

17. Solomini 66-1

18. Vino Rosso 14-1

19. Noble Indy 56-1

20. Combatant 77-1

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Kentucky Derby Field: No. 13 Bravazo

Trainer: Wayne Lukas

Jockey: Luis Contreras

Owner: Calumet Farm

Morning Line: 50-1

How he got here: Won the Risen Star

Why he’ll win: He broke his maiden at Churchill Downs, so the track suits him. He’s got a hall of fame trainer who knows what the Derby is all about. He’ll need a meltdown of speed to come charging at the end.

Why he won’t win: It’s difficult to construct a scenario where he can win this race. He’s had eight lifetime starts but only three at a high level.

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Kentucky Derby Field: No. 12 Enticed

Trainer: Kiaran McLaughlin

Jockey: Junior Alvarado

Owner: Godolphin Racing

Morning Line: 30-1

How he got here: Second in the Wood Memorial

Why he’ll win: He’s won three of six races, including a nice victory in the Gotham. He also handles shipping well, having raced at five tracks. His one race at Churchill Downs was won by a head in the Kentucky Juvenile, so he likes the surface.

Why he won’t win: He’s done well in some of the lower preps but has lost to both Vino Rosso in the Wood and Audible in the Holy Bull. He hasn’t consistently faced the best of the competition.

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Kentucky Derby Field: No. 11 Bolt d’Oro

Trainer: Mick Ruis

Jockey: Victor Espinoza

Owner: Ruis Racing

Morning Line: 8-1

How he got here: Second in the Santa Anita Derby

Why he’ll win: He checks all the boxes and has been training great. When he finished second in the Santa Anita Derby, he might have still been a bit weary from a very hard-fought San Felipe. Justify was fresher in that race. He has a big shot, especially if he can return to the form he had winning the Frontrunner Stakes.

Why he won’t win: He hasn’t been first across the finish line since September when he won the Frontrunner. He has lost to both Good Magic and Justify. Even Solomini beat him once.

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Kentucky Derby Field: No. 10 My Boy Jack

Trainer: Keith Desormeaux

Jockey: Kent Desormeaux

Owner: Don’t Tell My Wife Stables, Monomoy Stables and West Point Thoroughbreds

Morning Line: 30-1

How he got here: Won the Lexington Stakes

Why he’ll win: Morning line maker Mike Battaglia really missed on this one. Keith Desormeaux, one of the country’s best horsemen, worked really hard to get this colt in this race. My Boy Jack has a Hall of Fame jockey who has won this race three times. He’s getting a lot of attention from the wiseguys.

Why he won’t win: If there is any kind of trouble, or he gets jammed up behind a wall of horses, he may be out of luck for a late charge. He’s going to start slow, which can only mean your chance of getting stuck are higher. The race has to go near perfect for him to win.

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Kentucky Derby odds with less than 6 hours to go

Here are the latest Kentucky Derby odds. Interestingly, the biggest move since this morning is Lone Sailor, who started at 33-1 and is now down to 28-1. Those are still long odds, though. Justify remain the favorite at 7-2 with Audible and Mendelssohn at 6-1. This is where they are at 1 p.m. local time at Churchill Downs (10 a.m. Pacific).

1. Firenze Fire 62-1

2. Free Drop Billy 41-1

3. Promises Fulfilled 47-1

4. Flameaway 50-1

5. Audible 6-1

6. Good Magic 9-1

7. Justify 7-2

8. Lone Sailor 28-1

9. Hofburg 24-1

10. My Boy Jack 5-1

11. Bold d’Oro 8-1

12. Enticed 55-1

13. Bravazo 68-1

14. Mendelssohn 6-1

15. Instilled Regard 99-1 (actually higher)

16. Magnum Moon 13-1

17. Solomini 66-1

18. Vino Rosso 14-1

19. Noble Indy 55-1

20. Combatant 76-1

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Kentucky Derby Field: No 9. Hofburg

Trainer: Bill Mott

Jockey: Irad Ortiz Jr.

Owner: Juddmonte Farms

Morning Line: 20-1

How he got here: Second in the Florida Derby

Why he’ll win: His second to Audible in the Florida Derby was both surprising and impressive. He’s getting some backstretch buzz as a horse that we just haven’t seen the best of. It’s understandable because the Derby will be only his fourth race. Mott knows how to train, so he can’t be discounted.

Why he won’t win: Again, it’s only his fourth race and only his second graded stakes. That kind of inexperience could be a problem.

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Kentucky Derby Field: No. 8 Lone Sailor

Trainer: Tom Amoss

Jockey: James Graham

Owner: G.M.B. Racing

Morning Line: 50-1

How did he get here: Second in the Louisiana Derby

Why he’ll win: It’s a tough case to make since the only race he’s won in eight starts was a maiden special weight. But, as a karma play, he’s running for Gail Benson, the widow of Tom Benson, who owned the New Orleans Saints and Pelicans. The Pelicans swept their first-round series. A sign?

Why he won’t win: He’s just not good enough. He’s never beaten one of the elite horses and gave away the lead to Noble Indy in the stretch of the Louisiana Derby.

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Kentucky Derby Field: No. 7 Justify

Trainer: Bob Baffert

Jockey: Mike Smith

Owner: WinStar Farm, China Horse Club, Starlight Racing and Head of Plains Partners

Morning Line: 3-1

How he got here: Won the Santa Anita Derby

Why he’ll win: He’s the best horse in the race. His power, athleticism and smarts make him a cut above a very talented group of runners, but he’ll still need luck. Bolt d’Oro, a horse who checks all the boxes, couldn’t gain on Justify in the Santa Anita Derby. He’s the real deal.

Why he won’t win: He’s only had three races, so the experience isn’t there. And there is the Apollo Curse, where an unraced 2-year-old hasn’t won the Derby since 1882. It’s a big stage for such a late-developing colt.

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Kentucky Derby Field: No. 6 Good Magic

Trainer: Chad Brown

Jockey: Jose Ortiz

Owner: Five Racing Thoroughbreds and Stonestreet Stables

Morning Line: 12-1

How did he get here: Won the Blue Grass Stakes

Why he’ll win: Brown has been raving about how well his colt is looking. He also set forth a schedule that would have the horse peaking in his third race of the year, and that’s the Derby. His performance in winning the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile was impressive where he beat Bolt d’Oro.

Why he won’t win: He has never won two races in a row, although he only has five lifetime starts. His third in the Fountain of Youth shows he can have an off day, although that was his first race of the year after a layoff.

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Kentucky Derby odds with 7 hours to go

Here are the latest Kentucky Derby odds. Things are remaining pretty steady, with Justify the favorite at 7-2. Among the top horses in the last hour, Good Magic has gone from 8-1 to 9-1 and Bolt d’Oro has dropped from 9-1 to 8-1. The only horse to move more than one point is Lone Sailor, who went from 32-1 to 30-1. This is where they are at noon local time at Churchill Downs (9 a.m. Pacific).

1. Firenze Fire 63-1

2. Free Drop Billy 41-1

3. Promises Fulfilled 47-1

4. Flameaway 50-1

5. Audible 6-1

6. Good Magic 9-1

7. Justify 7-2

8. Lone Sailor 30-1

9. Hofburg 24-1

10. My Boy Jack 5-1

11. Bold d’Oro 8-1

12. Enticed 55-1

13. Bravazo 68-1

14. Mendelssohn 6-1

15. Instilled Regard 99-1 (actually higher)

16. Magnum Moon 13-1

17. Solomini 65-1

18. Vino Rosso 14-1

19. Noble Indy 55-1

20. Combatant 76-1

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Kentucky Derby Field: No. 5 Audible

Trainer: Todd Pletcher

Jockey: Javier Castellano

Owner: WinStar Farm, China Horse Club, Starlight Racing and Head of Plains Partners

Morning Line: 8-1

How he got here: Won the Florida Derby

Why he’ll win: He has a real shot. The winner of his last four races, he won the Florida Derby by an easy three lengths. With Hall of Fame jockey Castellano, he should get a nice stalking trip with the big speed inside of him.

Why he’ll lose: Jockey John Velazquez had his choice of Pletcher horses, and he picked Vino Rosso over Audible, so you have to wonder why. Even though he won easily in the Florida Derby, Velazquez was not letting up in the stretch.

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Kentucky Derby Field: No. 4 Flameaway

Trainer: Mark Casse

Jockey: Jose Lezcano

Owner: John C. Oxley

Morning Line: 30-1

How he got here: Second in the Blue Grass Stakes

Why he’ll win: He has finished first twice and second twice in his four races this year, so he knows how to be competitive. Casse is owed some luck after Classic Empire got beat up at the start of last year’s Derby.

Why he’ll lose: He tries his heart out, but he just may not be long enough. He’s never beaten any of the elite horses in this race, and he finished eighth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf to Mendelssohn.

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Kentucky Derby Field: No. 3 Promises Fulfilled

Trainer: Dale Romans

Jockey: Corey Lanerie

Owner: Robert J. Baron

Morning Line: 30-1

How he got here: Winner of the Fountain of Youth

Why he’ll win: He will certainly dictate the pace and be in front at the first call. If he can sneak slow fractions through most of the race, he might have plenty left in the tank to hold off the closers, like he did in the Fountain of Youth.

Why he’ll lose: In the Florida Derby, he tried to steal the race by going to the front, but when faced with the likes of a pressing Audible, he melted down and finished a poor ninth. Justify will stalk and put him away.

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Kentucky Derby Field: 2. Free Drop Billy

Trainer: Dale Romans

Jockey: Robby Albarado

Owner: Albaugh Family Stables

Morning Line: 30-1

How he got here: Third in the Blue Grass Stakes

Why he’ll win: The Holy Bull Stakes, where he was second to Audible, has been his best race this year. He has been running nothing but graded stakes, so he’s used to good company. He needs the front of the race to fall apart, and maybe he can sneak in.

Why he’ll lose: He hasn’t won since October and has never beaten the elite horses in this race. He’s won only once as the favorite, which he certainly won’t be on Saturday. He’s likely to spend the race midpack.

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Kentucky Derby Field: No. 1. Firenze Fire

Trainer: Jason Servis

Jockey: Paco Lopez

Owner: Mr. Amore Stables

Morning Line: 50-1

How he got here: Fourth in the Wood Memorial

Why he’ll win: Showed his best form as a 2-year-old, winning the Champagne Stakes at Belmont. At nine races, he is the second most experienced. A meltdown of speed could leave a spot for a closer like this.

Why he’ll lose: He is just not good enough. There is nothing he has shown as a 3-year-old indicating he can handle a field this good. Plus, he’s got a terrible post position and a jockey who has never ridden him.

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Kentucky Derby odds with 8 hours to go

Here are the latest Kentucky Derby odds. Not a lot has changed in the last hour. My Boy Jack remains the surprise at 5-1. Justify is the 7-2 favorite, followed by Audible and Mendelssohn at 6-1. No horse has moved more than a point in the last hour. This is where they are at 11 a.m. local time at Churchill Downs (8 a.m. Pacific).

1. Firenze Fire 63-1

2. Free Drop Billy 41-1

3. Promises Fulfilled 47-1

4. Flameaway 51-1

5. Audible 6-1

6. Good Magic 8-1

7. Justify 7-2

8. Lone Sailor 32-1

9. Hofburg 25-1

10. My Boy Jack 5-1

11. Bold d’Oro 9-1

12. Enticed 54-1

13. Bravazo 68-1

14. Mendelssohn 6-1

15. Instilled Regard 99-1 (actually higher)

16. Magnum Moon 13-1

17. Solomini 64-1

18. Vino Rosso 15-1

19. Noble Indy 54-1

20. Combatant 77-1

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Weather update for Kentucky Derby

The sun came up at Churchill Downs on Saturday as a gentle rain peppered the backstretch workers getting earlier-than-usual works for their horses.

Saturday’s skies were originally forecast to be mostly clear, with Friday’s Kentucky Oaks getting the rain. But the low-pressure system expected Friday took its time and showed up Saturday morning.

The rain was not significant and, at the moment, there doesn’t seem to be any reason for the track not to be fast.

The steadiest rain is expected between noon and 3 p.m. By Derby post time (7 p.m. CDT) the chance of rain, according to weather.com, will be 35%.

Last year’s Kentucky Derby was run in near swamp-like conditions from heavy rains throughout the day. It should not approach that for this race.

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Latest Kentucky Derby Odds

Here are the latest Kentucky Derby odds. The big shock at this hour: My Boy Jack, who was 30-1 on the morning line, is down to 5-1. The odds will change but not drastically during the day. This is where they are at 10 a.m. local time at Churchill Downs. (7 a.m. PDT)

1. Firenze Fire 64-1

2. Free Drop Billy 41-1

3. Promises Fulfilled 46-1

4. Flameaway 51-1

5. Audible 6-1

6. Good Magic 8-1

7. Justify 7-2

8. Lone Sailor 33-1

9. Hofburg 24-1

10. My Boy Jack 5-1

11. Bold d’Oro 9-1

12. Enticed 54-1

13. Bravazo 69-1

14. Mendelssohn 6-1

15. Instilled Regard 99-1 (actually higher)

16. Magnum Moon 13-1

17. Solomini 64-1

18. Vino Rosso 15-1

19. Noble Indy 54-1

20. Combatant 78-1

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My Boy Jack could sneak into the Kentucky Derby winner’s circle

My Boy Jack trains for the Derby
(Associated Press)

Barn 25, tucked away in the far corner of Churchill Downs’ backstretch near a road, can be a pretty lonely place. Tuesday morning was no different. A lone security guard stood protecting the horses from nobody. Trainer Keith Desormeaux held the reins as a groom washed one horse off.

Three young women watched, asking if it was Kentucky Derby runner My Boy Jack.

“Nope, he’s done for the day, he’s sleeping,” Desormeaux said.

They scurried off, the security guard disappeared, the groom left, and Desormeaux was left to walk the horse around the shedrow before returning outside and doubling the population to two.

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Trainers say more horses in the Kentucky Derby doesn’t equal a strategic advantage

The four Kentucky Derby entries of trainer Todd Pletcher are washed in the barn area.
(Getty Images)

Trainer Todd Pletcher has a familiar problem in Saturday’s running of the Kentucky Derby. Which horse does he watch in the race?

Everyone should have such problems.

This will be the sixth time that Pletcher has started at least four horses in the Derby. Intuitively, you would think that would give him — and Bob Baffert and Dale Romans, who each have two horses — a tactical advantage with more than one game plan.

But the trainers insist that doesn’t matter.

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Favorites get good post positions in Kentucky Derby draw

Bob Baffert doesn’t like to attend the Kentucky Derby draw, but when you’re the sport’s most successful trainer, you really don’t have a choice.

However, on this day-early Tuesday selection of the starting post positions, Baffert couldn’t be found — and it wasn’t by design.

He was still in the parking lot trying to figure out the newly configured way to get to the Aristides Room at Churchill Downs.

“I couldn’t find out how to get in,” Baffert said. “It’s completely changed.”

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What time does the Kentucky Derby start?

A horse rests on the track during a morning workout at Churchill Downs on Friday.
(Kiichiro Sato / Associated Press)

Trying to plan your day? Figuring out when you should have your first mint julep and still be able to function by race time?

Things are pretty as usual for the start time of Saturday’s Kentucky Derby. The official post is 6:46 p.m. in Louisville, which is 3:46 p.m. in L.A. The 46 part is pretty fluid — you can expect the race to really start about 6:52 to 6:55 p.m. EDT.

NBC is on the air until 7:30 p.m., which is the only real deadline Churchill has to worry about, and the race will be long over by then.

If you just want to see the race, 6 or 6:30 p.m. (3 or 3:30 p.m.) is a good time to start watching.

The television coverage starts with the undercard on NBCSN at noon (9 a.m. PDT) and goes for 2 1/2 hours before the big-boy network takes over. Mike Tirico and Bob Costas will anchor the coverage. Laffit Pincay III, Randy Moss and Jerry Bailey also will take roles on the broadcast. Making her debut on NBC will be Britney Eurton of TVG.

If you want tips on handicapping the race, here are some suggestions from the experts (click here).