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Kentucky Derby recap: Bob Baffert-trained Authentic beats Tiz The Law to win

Authentic finishes ahead of Belmont Stakes winner Tiz The Law to win the 146th running of the Kentucky Derby on Saturday. Here’s the latest from Churchill Downs.

Jockey John Velazquez riding Authentic, second right, leads the field to win the 146th running of the Kentucky Derby.
Jockey John Velazquez rides Authentic, second right, to victory in the 146th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on Saturday.
(Mark Humphrey / Associated Press)
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Bob Baffert-trained Authentic beats Tiz The Law to win the Kentucky Derby

Jockey John Velazquez rides Authentic to victory in the 146th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs.
Jockey John Velazquez rides Authentic to victory in the 146th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on Saturday.
(Darron Cummings / Associated Press)

If there was any question, Bob Baffert knows how to win the Kentucky Derby. After Thousand Words scratched after a paddock accident, the Hall of Fame trainer was left with just Authentic, a colt who everyone thought was too short to win a 1 1/4 mile race. But, in a spirited early stretch duel with heavy favorite Tiz The Law, Authentic hung tough and expanded his lead to win the 146th Kentucky Derby by 1¼ lengths.

It ended the second fairy-tale story of Barclay Tagg, 82, and his ownership group of New York friends at Sackatoga Stable, hoping to make the next step on the road to the Triple Crown with Tiz The Law. It was 17 years ago that this same group won the Kentucky Derby with Funny Cide.

The drama of the race started in the paddock when the Baffert-trained Thousand Words reared up in the paddock and fell on his back and shoulder. That made him an automatic scratch. The horse appeared to be OK but Baffert’s longtime assistant Jimmy Barnes suffered either a broken hand or arm. He left the track in an ambulance.

Baffert was exceptionally emotional after the race.

“Poor guy, he should be here with me,” Baffert said choking back tears. “I’m so emotional. This has been such a roller coaster. I told [jockey] John [Velasquez], and I was yelling ‘Do it for Jimmy’ the whole way. Unbelievable.”

The win was Baffert’s sixth in the Derby, tying him with Ben Jones for the most in history.

Authentic, breaking from the 18, the farthest outside post, was a little slow out of the gate but rallied to go to the lead by the first turn. Tiz The Law had no excuses sitting right off the pace. The pair ran comfortably through the backstretch and entering the stretch Tiz The Law appeared as if he was in a perfect position to win.

But Authentic dug in and easily beat the winner of the Belmont Stakes and Travers Stakes.

Authentic paid $18.80, $6.00 and $5.00. Tiz The Law was second paying $3.40 and $3.20. Mr. Big News paid $16.80 to show. Honor A.P. after getting pinched at the start may have had one of the best performances rallying to fourth from the back of the 15-horse field.

The remainder of the field, in order, were Max Player, Storm The Court, Enforceable, Ny Traffic, Necker Island, Major Fed, Sole Volante, Winning Impression, Money Moves, Attachment Rate, South Bend.

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Bob Baffert-trained Thousand Words a late scratch for Kentucky Derby

Kentucky Derby entry Thousand Words runs during an early morning workout at Churchill Downs on Friday.
(Charlie Riedel / Associated Press)

Thousand Words was scratched from the Kentucky Derby when he reared up in the paddock and fell to the ground. According to veterinarians on site, he hit his head and shoulder, which makes for an automatic scratch.

Thousand Words is trained by Bob Baffert and was the fourth betting choice at 10-1.

He beat Honor A.P. in his last race, the Shared Belief at Del Mar. He had won four-of-seven lifetime races before Saturday. He did not appear seriously hurt but will be examined.

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Final odds for the 2020 Kentucky Derby

A couple watch a race before the 146th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs.
A couple watch a race before the 146th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on Saturday.
(Charlie Riedel / Associated Press)

There is only an hour until the 146th Kentucky Derby and all the horses are pretty much where they will be come post time.

Based on the hype and performance, Tiz the Law should be just a tick lower. But, everyone is trying to beat him. Given the performances of Honor A.P., he is at a nice price of 8-1.

As for the rest, there are a lot good prices, but, realistically, it would take a pretty huge effort to beat the top three.

Here’s what the odds are at 3 p.m. PDT. The morning line is in parentheses.

1. Finnick the Fierce (50-1) Scratched

2. Max Player (30-1) 18-1

3. Enforceable (30-1) 24-1

4. Storm the Court (50-1) 27-1

5. Major Fed (50-1) 38-1

6. King Guillermo (20-1) Scratched

7. Money Moves (30-1) 13-1

8. South Bend (50-1) 35-1

9. Mr. Big News (50-1) 44-1

10. Thousand Words (15-1) 10-1

11. Necker Island (50-1) 45-1

12. Sole Volante (30-1) 36-1

13. Attachment Rate (50-1) 47-1

14. Winning Impression (50-1) 49-1

15. Ny Traffic (20-1) 14-1

16. Honor A.P. (5-1) 8-1

17. Tiz the Law (3-5) 4-5

18. Authentic (8-1) 9-1

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2020 Kentucky Derby horses: Authentic

Kentucky Derby entry Authentic runs during a workout at Churchill Downs on Friday.
(Darron Cummings / Associated Press)

Post 18: Authentic


Trainer: Bob Baffert

Jockey: John Velazquez

Owner: Spendthrift Farm, MyRaceHorse Stable, Madaket Stable and Starlight Racing

Purchase price: $350,000

Lifetime record: 5-4-1-0 ($1,011,200)

Morning-line odds: 8-1

Jon White’s case for win: The best thing that both Authentic and Thousand Words have going for them is their trainer, who has won the Kentucky Derby five times. If either Authentic or Thousand Words wins Saturday, Baffert will tie Ben Jones for the most Kentucky Derby wins by a trainer. Velazquez also is a plus. He’s won the Kentucky Derby twice, also with horses whose name began with the letter A (Animal Kingdom in 2011 and Always Dreaming in 2017). Velazquez is riding in the Kentucky Derby for the 22nd time. It will help Authentic that there will not be 150,000 or more screaming fans Saturday. During the stretch run of Santa Anita’s one-mile Sham Stakes on Jan. 4, he ducked in and nearly hit the rail, then ducked in again. Nevertheless, he won by 7 3/4 lengths. Because of his behavior in the Sham, he’s raced with earplugs ever since. But even with earplugs, it could have been problematic for him to perform before a Kentucky Derby throng making a Niagara Falls-like noise. It’s clear that Authentic is talented as evidenced by four wins and a second from five career starts. Take him lightly at your own peril, even in a race at 1 1/4 miles.

White’s case against win: The big question is whether Authentic has the necessary stamina to win going farther than 1 1/8 miles. Quite frankly, the Kentucky-bred Into Mischief colt has never given the impression that racing farther than 1 1/8 miles would be right up his alley. He nearly blew it in the 1 1/8-mile Haskell when he turned a 2 1/2-length lead with a furlong to go into only a nose victory. Beginning from the outside post Saturday also is a concern. The last time he did that, it cost him dearly. Starting from the outside post in the Santa Anita Derby, he veered outward in the first few strides. He found himself three wide while vying for the lead into the clubhouse turn. He remained three wide while continuing as a pace factor all the way to the top of the stretch. And then, in the stretch, he was overtaken by Honor A.P. It’s the lone blemish on Authentic’s record. Keep an eye on Authentic at the start of the Kentucky Derby. Will he veer outward again in the first few strides as he did in the Santa Anita Derby?

White’s final ranking: Fourth

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2020 Kentucky Derby horses: Tiz The Law

Kentucky Derby entry Tiz The Law runs during a workout at Churchill Downs on Friday.
(Darron Cummings / Associated Press)

Post 17: Tiz The Law


Trainer: Barclay Tagg

Jockey: Manny Franco

Owner: Sackatoga Stable

Purchase price: $110,000

Lifetime record: 7-6-0-1 ($2,015,300)

Morning-line odds: 3-5

Jon White’s case for win: Why does Tiz The Law look so tough to beat Saturday? Let me count the ways.

  • First, he has won all four of his races this year.
  • Second, all of his victories have been in dominant fashion, each by at least three lengths.
  • Third, he already has proved 1 1/4 miles is no problem for him after winning the Travers at that distance.
  • Fourth, he is the class of the race in that he has four Grade 1 wins to his credit (Champagne Stakes, Florida Derby, Belmont Stakes, Travers Stakes). His 16 Kentucky Derby opponents have just three Grade 1 wins among them: Storm the Court (Breeders’ Cup Juvenile), Honor A.P. (Santa Anita Derby) and Authentic (Haskell Invitational).
  • Fifth, he appears to have trained splendidly up to the race.
  • Sixth, his running style suggests he likely will get a good trip. He typically lurks from about a length to three lengths off the early pace. He’s not a front-runner, reducing the chances that he will go too fast too early. He’s also not a come-from-the clouds type, reducing the chances that he will get into traffic trouble.
  • Seventh, his post position increases the chances that he will be able to stay in the clear and not get boxed in.
  • Eighth, inasmuch as he will be the favorite, recent history bodes well for him. The betting favorite has won the Kentucky Derby in six of the last seven years.
  • Ninth, his trainer knows how to win the Kentucky Derby, having done so in 2003 with Funny Cide. The Kentucky Derby was first run in 1875. If Tiz The Law wins Saturday, Tagg, 82, will become the oldest trainer to have ever won the Kentucky Derby. Art Sherman currently holds that record. Sherman was 77 when he saddled California Chrome to win the 2014 Kentucky Derby.
  • Tenth, Franco seems to fit Tiz The Law like a glove. To use yet another cliche, after Franco has ridden Tiz The Law so many times and so well, the 25-year-old jockey knows the New York-bred Constitution colt like the back of his hand.

In conclusion, it looks like it’s all systems go for Tiz The Law to capture the 2020 Run for the Roses and move on to the Preakness to try to complete a Triple Crown sweep.

White’s case against win: His only defeat in seven lifetime starts came last year at Churchill Downs when he finished third in the 1 1/16-mile Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes. From his post position, a wide trip is a possibility.

White’s final ranking: First

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2020 Kentucky Derby odds two hours before race start

A guest looks out over the paddock before the 146th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs.
A guest looks out over the paddock before the 146th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on Saturday.
(Charlie Riedel / Associated Press)

With just two hours to the Kentucky Derby, some of the longer shots are creeping down on the odds board but not enough to make a difference.

Max Player, Storm the Court, Money Moves, Mr. Big News, Thousand Words, Necker Island, Attachment Rate and Winning Impression all dropped but not significantly. The big three on the outside stayed the same.

Here’s what the odds are at 2 p.m. PDT. The morning line is in parentheses.

1. Finnick the Fierce (50-1) Scratched

2. Max Player (30-1) 18-1

3. Enforceable (30-1) 25-1

4. Storm the Court (50-1) 28-1

5. Major Fed (50-1) 39-1

6. King Guillermo (20-1) Scratched

7. Money Moves (30-1) 14-1

8. South Bend (50-1) 36-1

9. Mr. Big News (50-1) 45-1

10. Thousand Words (15-1) 10-1

11. Necker Island (50-1) 48-1

12. Sole Volante (30-1) 36-1

13. Attachment Rate (50-1) 50-1

14. Winning Impression (50-1) 51-1

15. Ny Traffic (20-1) 15-1

16. Honor A.P. (5-1) 8-1

17. Tiz the Law (3-5) 4-5

18. Authentic (8-1) 9-1

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2020 Kentucky Derby horses: Honor A.P.

Kentucky Derby entry Honor A.P. runs during a workout at Churchill Downs on Friday.
(Darron Cummings / Associated Press)

Post 16: Honor A.P.


Trainer: John Shirreffs

Jockey: Mike Smith

Owner: C R K Stable

Purchase price: $850,000

Lifetime record: 5-2-3-0 ($382,200)

Morning-line odds: 5-1

Jon White’s case for win: The Kentucky Derby seems to have been the target for him ever since he closed with a rush from far back to finish second in a six-furlong maiden race when kicking off his racing career in 2019 at the Del Mar summer meet. The way he won the 1 1/8-mile Santa Anita Derby going away by 2 3/4 lengths on June 6 indicates the Kentucky-bred Honor Code ridgling might relish the longer 1 1/4-mile trip. In 2005, Smith and Shirreffs collaborated to win the Kentucky Derby with 50-1 longshot Giacomo. Honor A.P. gives every indication that he is better — perhaps much better — than Giacomo. Shirreffs, who masterfully trained the great Zenyatta, is in the mold of the late, great Charlie Whittingham in terms of being a trainer adept at having a horse peak for an important event.

White’s case against win: Even if Honor A.P. runs his best, will it be enough to beat Tiz the Law? He has never raced at Churchill before. A wide journey is possible from his post position. While it appears that Honor A.P. will love going farther than 1 1/8 miles, one never knows until they do it.

White’s final rankings: Second

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2020 Kentucky Derby horses: Ny Traffic

Kentucky Derby entry Ny Traffic runs during a morning workout at Churchill Downs on Friday.
(Charlie Riedel / Associated Press)

Post 15: Ny Traffic


Trainer: Safie Joseph Jr.

Jockey: Paco Lopez

Owners: John Fanelli, Cash Is King Racing, Paul Braverman and Team Hanley

Purchase price: $27,000

Lifetime record: 9-2-3-2 ($565,470)

Morning-line odds: 20-1

Jon White’s case for win: Since Joseph took over training, the New York-bred Cross Traffic colt has finished third or better in five straight starts. Ny Traffic was the runner-up in the Haskell when he lost by a scant nose after being 2 1/2 lengths behind a furlong out. Ny Traffic acquitted himself well the only time he’s raced at Churchill. He finished second in the 1 1/16-mile Matt Winn Stakes on May 23, a race won by the marvelous Maxfield.

White’s case against for loss: Did Ny Traffic almost win the Haskell because Authentic had lost focus in the lane? With just a single win in his last seven starts, perhaps Ny Traffic needs to somehow improve in the will-to-win department. Lopez has ridden in just one Kentucky Derby, finishing 11th on Firenze Fire in 2018. This will be Joseph’s first Kentucky Derby starter.

White’s final rankings: Sixth

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Southern California horse trainers well represented on Kentucky Derby undercard

Horses finish the ninth race before the 146th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on Saturday.
(Charlie Riedel / Associated Press)

All the attention is on the Kentucky Derby, but there are 13 other races on Saturday’s card at Churchill Downs. And Southern California trainers like to send their horses to the stakes-aplenty undercard.

So far, Mike McCarthy is the only California-based trainer to win a race as Rushie won the Grade 2 $500,000 Pat Day Mile. In fact, there were four Santa Anita/Del Mar based horses scheduled to run in the Pat Day Mile.

McCarthy had considered Rushie for the Kentucky Derby, but clearly made the right decision to run him in the shorter race. Rushie was third in the Santa Anita Derby and third in the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland. He paid $7.80, $4.40 and $3.00 in the Pat Day.

Also, in the race were Shashashakemeup (Keith Desormeaux) who finished fourth and Vertical Threat (Richard Baltas) was sixth. Cezanne (Bob Baffert) was entered but scratched on Saturday.

Other local trainers (and horses) include:

  • Idol finishing second in a maiden race for Baltas.
  • Santa Cruiser finishing third in a maiden race for Desormeaux.
  • Street Class finishing eighth in an allowance for McCarthy. Verb (Desormeaux) was also entered in the race but was a stewards’ scratch.
  • Taishan finishing second in the Grade 2 $500,000 American Turf for Baltas.
  • Smooth Like Strait finishing fourth in the Grade 2 $500,000 American Turf for McCarthy.

Multiple Southern California horses were scheduled to run later in the card.

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2020 Kentucky Derby horses: Winning Impression

Guests watch a race before the 146th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on Saturday.
(Charlie Riedel / Associated Press)

Post 14: Winning Impression


Trainer: Dallas Stewart

Jockey: Joe Rocco Jr.

Owners: West Point Thoroughbreds and Pearl Racing

Purchase price: $77,000

Lifetime record: 9-1-1-2 ($98,552)

Morning-line odds: 50-1

Jon White’s case for winning: Stewart has a reputation for doing well with an outsider in a big race. He’s had two longshots finish second in the Kentucky Derby (Golden Soul at 34-1 in 2013 and Commanding Curve at 37-1 in 2014), plus a longshot run second in the Preakness (Tale of the Verve at 28-1 in 2015).

White’s case against winning: It looks like Stewart will have to really work his magic to get Winning Impression into the superfecta off his recent dismal form. Winning Impression’s latest two performances left much to be desired. The Kentucky-bred Paynter gelding finished seventh in both the Indiana Derby and Ellis Park Derby.

White’s final ranking: 16th

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2020 Kentucky Derby odds at 1 p.m.

Horses run in the ninth race before the 146th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs.
Horses run in the ninth race before the 146th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on Saturday.
(Charlie Riedel / Associated Press)

With three hours to the Kentucky Derby, the win betting odds seems to have stabilized to where they are likely to be at post time.

In the previous hour, only three horses (South Bend, Mr. Big News and Necker Island) lowered their odds, by one, while everyone else stayed the same. The power remains in the outer post positions with Tiz the Law (4-5), Honor A.P. (8-1) and Authentic (9-1).

Here’s what the odds are at 1 p.m. PDT. The morning line is in parentheses.

1. Finnick the Fierce (50-1) Scratched

2. Max Player (30-1) 19-1

3. Enforceable (30-1) 25-1

4. Storm the Court (50-1) 29-1

5. Major Fed (50-1) 39-1

6. King Guillermo (20-1) Scratched

7. Money Moves (30-1) 15-1

8. South Bend (50-1) 36-1

9. Mr. Big News (50-1) 47-1

10. Thousand Words (15-1) 11-1

11. Necker Island (50-1) 49-1

12. Sole Volante (30-1) 35-1

13. Attachment Rate (50-1) 51-1

14. Winning Impression (50-1) 53-1

15. Ny Traffic (20-1) 15-1

16. Honor A.P. (5-1) 8-1

17. Tiz the Law (3-5) 4-5

18. Authentic (8-1) 9-1

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2020 Kentucky Derby horses: Sole Volante

Kentucky Derby entry Sole Volante runs during a workout at Churchill Downs on Friday.
(Darron Cummings / Associated Press)

Post 12: Sole Volante


Trainer: Patrick Biancone

Jockey: Luca Panici

Owners: Reeves Thoroughbred Racing and Andie Biancone

Purchase price: $20,000

Lifetime record: 7-4-1-1 ($323,310)

Morning-line odds: 30-1

Jon White’s case for win: If the pace is fast, it could set up a win for Sole Volante, who on occasion has an explosive late kick. The Kentucky-bred Karakontie colt ran a clunker in the Belmont, finishing sixth and losing by 15 3/4 lengths. But perhaps that race can be tossed out because he was running back in just 10 days and shipped from Florida to New York after winning an allowance/optional claiming race at Gulfstream Park. Biancone would have won the 2004 Kentucky Derby with Lion Hart if not for an exceptional colt named Smarty Jones. Lion Heart ran well enough to win the Derby in some years, but had to settle for second.

White’s case against win: Like Enforceable, Sole Volante’s come-from-way-out-of-it running style means there is an increased chance of a traffic jam. Panici has no Kentucky Derby experience.

White’s final ranking: 10th

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2020 Kentucky Derby horses: Thousand Words

Kentucky Derby entry Thousand Words runs during an early morning workout at Churchill Downs on Friday.
(Charlie Riedel / Associated Press)

Post 10: Thousand Words

Trainer: Bob Baffert

Jockey: Florent Geroux

Owners: Albaugh Family Stables and Spendthrift Farm

Purchase price: $1,000,000

Lifetime record: 7-4-1-0 ($327,000)

Morning-line odds: 15-1

Jon White’s case for win: This $1-million yearling purchase was considered one of the leading Kentucky Derby candidates after winning both 2019 races, highlighted by a victory in the 1 1/16-mile Los Alamitos Futurity. Following his triumph in Santa Anita’s 1 1/16-mile Robert B. Lewis Stakes on Feb. 1 in his 3-year-old debut, he was No. 2 in my Kentucky Derby rankings, behind only Tiz the Law. But Thousand Words then went into a funk. Baffert said the Florida-bred Pioneerof the Nile colt “got sour” after the Sham. Thousand Words lost by 11 1/4 lengths when he finished fourth in Santa Anita’s 1 1/16-mile San Felipe Stakes on March 7. Next, he lost by nearly 30 lengths on a sloppy track when he stumbled at the start and finished 11th in the Oaklawn Stakes on April 11.

To Baffert’s credit, he somehow managed to get Thousand Words out of his slump. The first sign of rejuvenation came July 4 in the 1 1/8-mile Los Alamitos Derby when he finished second to the highly regarded Baffert-trained Uncle Chuck. Thousand Words then led all the way in the 1 1/16-mile Shared Belief Stakes at odds of 9-1 when he defeated 1-5 favorite Honor A.P. by three-quarters of a length. If Thousand Words wins Saturday, he will be the second Baffert-trained Pioneerof the Nile colt to win the Kentucky Derby, American Pharoah being the first in 2015.

White’s case against win: The only time Thousand Words has raced outside California, he got beat by a block in Arkansas. In the races he’s won, the losers have not been anything to write home about, other than Honor A.P.

White’s final ranking: Fifth

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2020 Kentucky Derby odds at noon

A guest watches as horses walk through the paddock before the 146th running of the Kentucky Derby.
A guest watches as horses walk through the paddock before the 146th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on Saturday.
(Charlie Riedel / Associated Press)

The odds are shifting around a little but it’s unlikely there will be any big swings between now and post time.

Since the last update, 13 of the horses have lower odds, and one that went up was Tiz the Law from 3-5 to 4-5. Still, very low.

Here’s what the odds are with four hours until post. The morning line is in parentheses.

1. Finnick the Fierce (50-1) Scratched

2. Max Player (30-1) 19-1

3. Enforceable (30-1) 25-1

4. Storm the Court (50-1) 29-1

5. Major Fed (50-1) 39-1

6. King Guillermo (20-1) Scratched

7. Money Moves (30-1) 15-1

8. South Bend (50-1) 37-1

9. Mr. Big News (50-1) 48-1

10. Thousand Words (15-1) 11-1

11. Necker Island (50-1) 50-1

12. Sole Volante (30-1) 35-1

13. Attachment Rate (50-1) 51-1

14. Winning Impression (50-1) 53-1

15. Ny Traffic (20-1) 15-1

16. Honor A.P. (5-1) 8-1

17. Tiz the Law (3-5) 4-5

18. Authentic (8-1) 9-1

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2020 Kentucky Derby horses: Necker Island

Kentucky Derby entry Necker Island runs during a workout at Churchill Downs on Thursday.
(Darron Cummings / Associated Press)

Post 11: Necker Island


Trainer: Chris Hartman

Jockey: Miguel Mena

Owners: Raymond Daniels, Wayne Scherr and Will Harbut Racing

Purchase price: $250,000

Lifetime record: 10-2-0-3 ($199,730)

Morning-line odds: 50-1

Jon White’s case for win: Perhaps (though probably not) he can hit the board after finishing third in both the Indiana Derby and Ellis Park Derby in his first couple of starts for Hartman since being claimed for $100,000 at Churchill on June 13. Necker Island won twice on the Churchill main track last year, once on a fast track and the other time on a sloppy strip. I consider Mena to be a plus for Necker Island, even though the rider finished way back in his only Kentucky Derby mount (20th on Backtalk in 2010).

White’s case against win: Necker Island is 0 for 7 in 2020, plus the Kentucky-bred Hard Spun colt is having blinkers removed Saturday. If a horse is good enough to win the Kentucky Derby, it’s doubtful that a trainer would be experimenting with the horse’s equipment at this point by adding or removing blinkers. Would the trainer not have already figured out that the horse runs better either with or without blinkers?

White’s final rankings: 17th

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2020 Kentucky Derby horses: Mr. Big News

Post 9: Mr. Big News


Trainer: Bret Calhoun

Jockey: Gabriel Saez

Owner: Allied Racing Stable

Purchase price: $95,000

Lifetime record: 7-2-1-0 ($168,553)

Morning-line odds: 50-1

Jon White’s case for win: If Mr. Big News wins the Kentucky Derby it will be big news because he will have done so at very big odds. His connections probably are doing a rain dance. Mr. Big News’ most notable win came April 11 in the 1 1/8-mile Oaklawn Stakes when he rallied from 11th to win by a half-length on a sloppy track at odds of 46-1. When he finished sixth in the Blue Grass Stakes at odds of 34-1, his performance might not have been as bad as it seemed. He stumbled badly at the start and then had a nightmarish trip. Saez did well in the 2008 Kentucky Derby. He rode the ill-fated filly Eight Belles when the filly ran second to Big Brown.

White’s case against win: The two times that Mr. Big News has competed in a stakes race on a fast track, the Kentucky-bred Giant’s Causeway colt has finished fifth (in a division of the Risen Star Stakes) and sixth (in the Blue Grass Stakes). Calhoun’s lone Kentucky Derby starter did not run well when By My Standards finished 11th in 2019.

White’s final rankings: 15th

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Kentucky Derby 2020 horses: South Bend

Kentucky Derby entry South Bend runs during a workout session at Churchill Downs on Friday.
(Darron Cummings / Associated Press)

Post 8: South Bend


Trainer: Bill Mott

Jockey: Tyler Gaffalione

Owners: Gary Barber, Wachtel Stable, Peter Deutsch and Pantofel Stable

Purchase price: $70,000

Lifetime record: 12-3-2-2 ($390,114)

Morning-line odds: 50-1

Jon White’s case for win: He won the Street Sense Stakes at Churchill last year on Oct. 27. Gaffalione is a rising star on the national stage. He won last year’s Preakness aboard War of Will. Mott, one of the all-time great trainers, is trying to win the 2020 Kentucky Derby with a big longshot after winning the 2019 race with longshot Country House (who finished second and was moved up to first via the DQ of Maximum Security). Country House had won just one race going into last year’s Kentucky Derby. South Bend is better than Country House in that regard. South Bend has won three races.

White’s case against win: Since South Bend’s victory in the Street Sense last year, the Kentucky-bred Algorithms colt has lost nine in a row. He was a surprise last-minute entry in the Kentucky Derby. That his connections had not been planning to run South Bend does not inspire confidence.

White final rankings: 14th

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Kentucky Derby 2020 horses: Money Moves

Kentucky Derby entry Money Moves works out at Churchill Downs on Friday.
(Darron Cummings / Associated Press)

Post 7: Money Moves


Trainer: Todd Pletcher

Jockey: Javier Castellano

Owners: Robert V. Lapenta and Bortolazzo Stable

Purchase price: $975,000

Lifetime record: 3-2-1-0 ($67,400)

Morning-line odds: 30-1

Jon White’s case for win: It looks like Money Moves does have ability and is improving. Castellano, a four-time Eclipse Award winner, is one of the best riders in the country (though he is 0 for 14 in the Kentucky Derby). Pletcher has two Kentucky Derby victories (Super Saver in 2010 and Always Dreaming in 2017). Though Pletcher is remaining in New York, Money Moves is being looked after in Kentucky by none other than D. Wayne Lukas, who is back on his feet after the coronavirus. Lukas has won the Kentucky Derby four times. Before Pletcher went on his own, he was an assistant to Lukas.

White’s case against win: Not only is Money Moves light in experience with only three lifetime starts, this will be his stakes debut. Pletcher kept saying that it was doubtful he would be running Money Moves in the Kentucky Derby, but then the Kentucky-bred Candy Ride colt was entered after all. Such a lack of commitment is rather troubling. Also, Pletcher staying at Saratoga rather than being at Churchill for the Kentucky Derby is not an encouraging sign.

White’s final ranking: 13th

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2020 Kentucky Derby odds: 11 a.m. update

Horse racing fan Sandy Dompkosky, wearing a Tiz the Law themed hat, stands in the paddock.
Horse racing fan and special guest Sandy Dompkosky wears a Tiz the Law-themed hat in the paddock before the 146th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on Saturday.
(Charlie Riedel / Associated Press)

Since our last update the odds have been starting to move, and most of the money is going to Tiz the Law.

In fact, 15 of the 16 horses have higher odds and only one, you guessed it, is lower. He’s down to 3-5. It would not surprise if he comes up a tick before post as some of the sharp money starts to come in.

Here’s what the odds are with five hours until post. The morning line in parentheses.

1. Finnick the Fierce (50-1) Scratched

2. Max Player (30-1) 20-1

3. Enforceable (30-1) 26-1

4. Storm the Court (50-1) 30-1

5. Major Fed (50-1) 39-1

6. King Guillermo (20-1) Scratched

7. Money Moves (30-1) 16-1

8. South Bend (50-1) 39-1

9. Mr. Big News (50-1) 51-1

10. Thousand Words (15-1) 12-1

11. Necker Island (50-1) 52-1

12. Sole Volante (30-1) 35-1

13. Attachment Rate (50-1) 54-1

14. Winning Impression (50-1) 55-1

15. Ny Traffic (20-1) 16-1

16. Honor A.P. (5-1) 9-1

17. Tiz the Law (3-5) 3-5

18. Authentic (8-1) 10-1

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Kentucky Derby 2020 horses: Major Fed

Kentucky Derby entry Major Fed runs during a workout at Churchill Downs on Friday.
(Darron Cummings / Associated Press)

Post 5: Major Fed

Trainer: Greg Foley

Jockey: James Graham

Owner: Lloyd Madison Farms

Purchase price: Homebred

Lifetime record: 6-1-2-1 ($215,600)

Morning-line odds: 50-1

Jon White’s case for win: Some thought of him as a Kentucky Derby possibility after he ran third at first asking in a maiden sprint in the slop at Churchill last year, followed by a sparkling 4 1/4-length maiden win on dry land at Fair Grounds on New Year’s Day. But the Kentucky-bred Ghostzapper colt has lost four straight since his maiden win. At least he ran well enough to finish second last time out in the 1 1/8-mile Indiana Derby on July 8. Maybe he’s finally about to live up to those early expectations.

White’s case against: Major Fed would have to run considerably faster than ever before in order to win Saturday. Graham has ridden in only one Kentucky Derby (finishing eighth on Lone Sailor in 2018), while this will be Foley’s first attempt to win the Run for the Roses.

White’s final ranking: 11th

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Kentucky Derby 2020 horses: Storm the Court

Kentucky Derby entry Storm the Court trots during a workout run at Churchill Downs on Thursday.
(Darron Cummings / Associated Press)

Post 4: Storm the Court


Trainer: Peter Eurton

Jockey: Julien Leparoux

Owners: David A. Bernsen, Ex-line Border Racing, Susanna Wilson and Dan Huddock

Purchase price: $60,000

Lifetime record: 9-2-1-3 ($1,310,451)

Morning-line odds: 50-1

Jon White’s case for win: He was the Eclipse Award-winning 2-year-old male of 2019 after his 45-1 upset victory in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita. As the champ, he was No. 1 in my first 2020 Kentucky Derby rankings Jan. 10. He eventually dropped off the Top 10, but deserves credit for making it back into the Top 10. Storm the Court is winless in five starts this year. But at least he is in the Kentucky Derby, unlike the other seven Breeders’ Cup Juvenile starters (Anneau d’Or, Wrecking Crew, Scabbard, Full Flat, Eight Rings, Shoplifted, Dennis’ Moment).

While Storm the Court has not won this year, at least the Kentucky-bred Court Vision colt has run some decent races. He finished third in Santa Anita’s San Felipe, third in Thistledown’s Ohio Derby and second in Del Mar’s recent La Jolla Handicap on turf. The La Jolla winner, Smooth Like Strait, is the 8-5 morning-line favorite in Saturdays $500,000 American Turf Stakes at Churchill. Storm the Court has had some snazzy workouts at Del Mar since his last race, most notably five furlongs in :59.00 on Aug. 22, fastest of 74 at the distance that morning. Eurton is a fine trainer, one who bears a measure of respect when running a long shot in a big race. Not only did Storm the Court pay $93.80 for a $2 win wager in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, the Eurton-trained Champagne Room took the 2016 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies and returned $69.20 for each $2 win ticket. In what has been a crazy year, wouldn’t it be something if, after all is said and done, the shocking Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner also proves to be a shocking winner of the Kentucky Derby?

White’s case against win: As time has gone on, the group that Storm the Court defeated in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile has looked weaker and weaker. And Storm the Court has not exactly distinguished himself since that race, losing five starts. Leparoux has had much success at Churchill over the years, but not in the Kentucky Derby (0 for 11).

White’s final ranking: Ninth

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Kentucky Derby 2020 horses: Enforceable

Enforceable takes part in a workout run at Churchill Downs on Friday.
(Darron Cummings / Associated Press)

Post 3: Enforceable


Trainer: Mark Casse

Jockey: Adam Beschizza

Owner: John C. Oxley

Purchase price: $775,000

Lifetime record: 10-2-2-2 ($397,150)

Morning-line odds: 30-1

Jon White’s case for: If there is a fast pace, the long-fused Kentucky-bred Tapit colt could come charging late to finish fourth or maybe even better. His trainer has won two of the last three Triple Crown races (2019 Preakness with War of Will, 2019 Belmont with Sir Winston).

White’s case against: Enforceable’s come-from-way-back running style makes him eligible to get into traffic trouble, plus his jockey is a Kentucky Derby rookie.

White’s final ranking: Eighth

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2020 Kentucky Derby odds at 9 a.m.

A woman watches a race in the nearly empty stands at Churchill Downs on Friday.
(Charlie Riedel / Associated Press)

Betting is still slow at Churchill Downs with horses’ odds not changing much in the hour before 9 a.m. PDT.

Necker Island and South Bend dropped by one and Storm the Court, Major Fed, Mr. Big News and Sole Volante went up a point. So, all in all, no change.

The big three on the outside stayed the same. Here’s what the odds are seven hours until post. The morning line is in parentheses.

1. Finnick the Fierce (50-1) Scratched

2. Max Player (30-1) 18-1

3. Enforceable (30-1) 23-1

4. Storm the Court (50-1) 26-1

5. Major Fed (50-1) 34-1

6. King Guillermo (20-1) Scratched

7. Money Moves (30-1) 15-1

8. South Bend (50-1) 34-1

9. Mr. Big News (50-1) 47-1

10. Thousand Words (15-1) 10-1

11. Necker Island (50-1) 49-1

12. Sole Volante (30-1) 30-1

13. Attachment Rate (50-1) 49-1

14. Winning Impression (50-1) 51-1

15. Ny Traffic (20-1) 15-1

16. Honor A.P. (5-1) 8-1

17. Tiz the Law (3-5) 4-5

18. Authentic (8-1) 9-1

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Kentucky Derby 2020 horses: Max Player

Kentucky Derby entry Max Player runs during a workout at Churchill Downs on Friday.
(Darron Cummings / Associated Press)

Post 2: Max Player


Trainer: Steve Asmussen

Jockey: Ricardo Santana Jr.

Owner: George E. Hall

Purchase price: $150,000

Lifetime record: 5-2-1-2 ($373,500)

Morning-line odds: 30-1

Jon White’s case for win: It’s certainly not out of the question for a finish of third or better after he took third in both the Belmont and Travers. Winner of Aqueduct’s 1 1/8-mile Withers Stakes on Feb. 1, the Kentucky-bred Honor Code colt has yet to finish worse than third in five lifetime starts. It looks like he’s steadily improved ever since finishing second when unveiled at Parx Racing in Pennsylvania last November. If he improves any off his third in the Travers, he could make a lot of noise Saturday. Max Player underwent a trainer change from Linda Rice to Asmussen after the Travers. Asmussen is one of the most successful horseman in the history of the sport. According to Equibase statistics through Wednesday, Asmussen has won 8,981 races, second (behind only Dale Baird) on the all-time list. With $336,725,181 in purse earnings, Asmussen also ranks second (behind Todd Pletcher) on that list.

White’s case against: Tiz the Law outran Max Player by 5 1/4 lengths in the Belmont and by 7 1/2 lengths in the Travers. Post 2 could be an issue in that Max Player almost certainly will not be able to avoid having dirt kicked back at him, something he especially dislikes. While Asmussen has nearly 9,000 victories, he’s yet to win a Kentucky Derby (0 for 20). Santana has not finished better than eighth in the Kentucky Derby in five tries.

White’s final ranking: Seventh

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In a neglected cemetery lie Black jockeys who helped create the Kentucky Derby

Dozens of Black jockeys, trainers and groomsmen are laid to rest at African Cemetery No. 2 in Lexington, Ky. 
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Editor’s note: With the 146th running of the Kentucky Derby hours away, take a look back at the contributions Black horse racing pioneers made in the sport. In May 2019, Times staff writer Kurtis Lee revealed the story of the Black jockeys who were instrumental in establishing horse racing’s biggest event.

The headstones — cracked, chipped, crumbled — rise sporadically across eight acres of dried grass. Mold and wind have eaten away at the slabs of stone, but if you kneel close enough, maybe wipe a palm across the faded inscriptions, family names emerge.

Lewis

Perkins

Murphy

Tucked off a quiet two-lane road lined by towering oak trees in Lexington, you’ll find African Cemetery No. 2, the burial site of many of Kentucky’s first — yet often least remembered — jockeys and horse trainers.

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Latest Kentucky Derby odds ahead of Saturday’s race

Guests are reflected in a window as they wait for Kentucky Oaks race to start at Churchill Downs.
Guests are reflected in a window as they wait for Kentucky Oaks race to start at Churchill Downs on Friday.
(Charlie Riedel / Associated Press)

Here are the latest posted Kentucky Derby odds. Betting is now starting at Churchill Downs and after a few hours the odds should start to even out. Here’s what the odds are eight hours until post. The morning line is in parentheses.

1. Finnick the Fierce (50-1) Scratched

2. Max Player (30-1) 18-1

3. Enforceable (30-1) 23-1

4. Storm the Court (50-1) 25-1

5. Major Fed (50-1) 33-1

6. King Guillermo (20-1) Scratched

7. Money Moves (30-1) 15-1

8. South Bend (50-1) 35-1

9. Mr. Big News (50-1) 46-1

10. Thousand Words (15-1) 10-1

11. Necker Island (50-1) 50-1

12. Sole Volante (30-1) 29-1

13. Attachment Rate (50-1) 49-1

14. Winning Impression (50-1) 51-1

15. Ny Traffic (20-1) 15-1

16. Honor A.P. (5-1) 8-1

17. Tiz the Law (3-5) 4-5

18. Authentic (8-1) 9-1

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Belmont winner Tiz The Law is favorite at a most unusual Kentucky Derby

Kentucky Derby entry Tiz The Law runs during a workout at Churchill Downs on Friday.
(Darron Cummings / Associated Press)

Jack Knowlton and bunch of his school buddies decided to have some fun and buy a race horse. There were two rules — it had to be a New York bred, and it had to be affordable. So, in 2001, they plunked down $22,000 and bought a yearling at the Fasig-Tipton New York sale.

Two years later they won the Kentucky Derby and then the Preakness with a gelding named Funny Cide.

It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Until it happened again.

Knowlton and his now 35 partners in Sackatoga Stable put down $110,000 and bought another yearling at the same sale in 2018. There was only one other person left from the original partnership, and no one in the current group paid more than $7,500, with some buying partial shares.

This colt’s name is Tiz The Law, and he’s the 3-5 favorite in Saturday’s 146th Kentucky Derby.

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What time does the Kentucky Derby start? What TV channel is it on?

Trainer Bob Baffert watches at horses work out at Churchill Downs on Friday.
(Darron Cummings / Associated Press)

Somehow the relevance of what time is the Kentucky Derby on the first Saturday in September doesn’t seem as important as on the first Saturday in May.

But that’s what we got.

The quick answer is 7:01 p.m. in Louisville, 6:01 p.m. in Chicago, 5:01 p.m. in the Rockies and 4:01 p.m. in the Golden State and up and down the West Coast.

This is about 10 minutes later than the usual start time, but certainly within that window.

Will there be Derby parties with suburbanites wearing crazy hats? Maybe, but probably not as many.

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Kentucky Derby has a different feel, but Bob Baffert and Wayne Lukas are constants

Trainer Bob Baffert talks with jockey Florent Geroux at Churchill Downs on Thursday.
(Darron Cummings / Associated Press)

Hall of Fame trainers Bob Baffert and Wayne Lukas have saddled 81 horses between them in the Kentucky Derby. Baffert has won the race five times, Lukas four. They’ve known each other for almost four decades, starting when they were quarter-horse trainers.

So, it was no surprise that as soon as Baffert had watched his two entrants in this year’s race — Authentic and Thousand Words — plod over the wet Churchill Downs track Wednesday that he sought out Lukas at his nearby barn.

The pair, with Baffert’s face-covering bandanna resting around his neck and Lukas constantly pulling the omnipresent light-blue mask over his nose, played a game of who was the better trainer, each claiming the other was the best. Lukas, 85, stayed seated, having just recovered from COVID-19, something he cautions people from taking lightly.

Lukas won’t be running a horse in Saturday’s Kentucky Derby; instead he is playing assistant trainer for Todd Pletcher’s Money Moves. Pletcher chose to stay the week in New York, where he has his main stable.

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