On Tuesday morning, final entries were taken and post positions drawn for the 145th Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1). As expected a full field of 20 three-year-olds (with 1 also-eligible) was drawn for this 1 1/4 mile main track classic to be run at Churchill Downs on Saturday, with the guaranteed purse increased to a record $3 million this year.
Omaha Beach is the 4-1 favorite on handicapper Mike Battaglia's morning line and will break from post 12. He comes to the Spires off a three race win streak including the Rebel Stakes (G2) second division, and the Arkansas Derby (G1). Regular rider Mike Smith will be in the irons for trainer Richard Mandella. In to challenge him include 5-1 second choice Game Winner, winner of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1) but second in both starts this year, the Rebel Stakes (G2) second division, and the Santa Anita Derby (G1). Joel Rosario rides again for trainer Bob Baffert. Two horses, also trained by Baffert, are listed at 6-1 third choice: Improbable off second place finishes in the Rebel Stakes (G2) first division and the Arkansas Derby (G1) after winning the Los Alamitos Futurity (G1), with Irad Ortiz Jr. out of post 5. Santa Anita Derby (G1) winner Roadster drew the 17 hole (which has never won the Derby!), with Florent Geroux aboard.
Update as of 6:30pm Wednesday - Kentucky Derby favorite Omaha Beach will be scratched due to an entrapped epiglottis, according to Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella. "After training this morning we noticed him cough a few times," Mandella said. "It caused us to scope him and we found an entrapped epiglottis. We can't fix it this week so we'll have to have a procedure done in a few days and probably be out of training for three weeks. We'll have to figure out a whole new game plan."
The epiglottis is a triangular-shaped cartilage that lies at the base of the airway just in front of the arytenoid cartilages which cover the airway during swallowing. When an abnormality occurs in this area it can hinder the performance of horses.
With the scratch of Omaha Beach, Bodexpress draws into the field and break from post position 20. All horses outside of Omaha Beach (post positions 13-20) will move over one position in the starting gate.
Update Friday morning: Haikal has been scratched due to a foot abcess. Since he was post 11, all horses inside him will shift out one space, leaving an empty starting gate stall on the rail.
Also this morning, it was announced that Mike Smith will replace Corie Lanerie aboard Cutting Humor.
The Kentucky Derby is carded as race 12 on Saturday with a post time of 6:46pm EDT. NBCSN will broadcast the undercard stakes races from noon to 2:30pm ET and then the show switches over to the main NBC network from 2:30-7:30pm.
Thursday Kentucky Derby Photos - Thursday morning at Churchill Downs wasn't as crowded, perhaps because of the rain overnight. Not all the Derby horses and Oaks fillies were out this morning, with Haikal being treated for a foot abcess. Check out photos for 18 Derby horses and 12 Oaks fillies with comments.
Wednesday Kentucky Derby Photos - Wednesday morning at Churchill Downs was even more crowded on the backside with Derby fans now that all the Derby and Oaks horses are on the grounds. All 21 Derby horses and 15 Oaks fillies were out this morning, including the new arrivals. Update: As of 6:30pm, Omaha Beach will be scratched due to an entrapped epiglottis! Check out photos for each with comments.
Tuesday Kentucky Derby Photos - Tuesday was my first morning at Churchill Downs and the backside was more crowded than usual with Derby fans to see the horses at 7:30am. 14 Derby horses and 14 Oaks fillies were out this morning, including Derby favorite Omaha Beach and Oaks favorite Bellafina. Check out photos for each with comments.
2019 Kentucky Oaks Entries - A full field of 14 with 2 also-eligibles was drawn for the 145th Longines Kentucky Oaks (G1) to be run on Friday at Churchill Downs. Santa Anita Oaks (G1) winner Bellafina is the 2-1 morning line favorite from post 4. Get all the horses, posts, and free past performances here.
2019 Kentucky Derby Analysis - Our annual analysis of the top contenders to try and select a winner by matching each to the profile of a Kentucky Derby winner using many of the more popular angles and statistical trends. This year it is a pretty wide open field and the order shows that.
Kentucky Derby Notes for 4/29 - Monday morning was still cold but not as gloomy at Churchill Downs and only one Derby horse, Long Range Toddy, and one Oaks filly, Restless Rider, had timed works. Shortly after noon, Bellafina arrived from California. Check out comments and photos for the Derby and Oaks horses, free past performances, probable starters for the rest of the Derby weekend stakes, and more. Previous: 04/20, 04/21, 04/22, 04/23, 04/24, 04/25, 04/26, 04/27, 04/28
2019 Kentucky Derby And Oaks Security - New enhanced stricter rules with no onsite parking were enforced in 2018, and are in effect again this year. Be sure to read the rules if you are attending. There will still be magnetic wand searches of all patrons and many things are no longer allowed. Check here to make sure you don't bring anything they will confiscate.
Kentucky Derby Prep Races - What races should a horse prep in to win the Kentucky Derby? Some races may seem obvious, but have not produced a Derby winner in many years. Find out which races are the best preps here.
Kentucky Derby Winners and Auction Prices - Bigger may seem better, but in the case of Kentucky Derby horses who sold at auction, less is more. Here is a look at how (badly) high priced auction purchases have done in the Kentucky Derby and the auction prices for this year's top Derby contenders.
Review: Triple Crown Handicapper 2019 - by Jim Mazur. Includes lots of stats for all 3 races and explains how to use a system of statistically derived negative angles to eliminate the "bad" picks. Revamped for 2019 with updated info.
Kentucky Derby Traditions - Find out all about the big Derby Traditions: the rose garland, the trophy, the Twin Spires, mint juleps, singing "My Old Kentucy Home", fancy hats, celebrities and the annual Derby glasses.
Fillies in the Kentucky Derby - a look at the 39 fillies who have contested the Run for the Roses and how they did. So far there have been 3 wins, 2 seconds, and 5 thirds.
Review: Kentucky Derby Greatest Moments - Commemorative DVD from Churchill Downs with video from 27 different runnings along with interviews, photos, and historical info. Definitely recommended for any racing fan!
Review: Churchill Downs - America's Most Historic Racetrack by Kimberly Gatto. An entertaining and informative account of the history of the track and it's most famous race, the Kentucky Derby, with lots of photos. Definitely recommended.
Get a head start on handicapping the Kentucky Derby here:
Review: Betting the Kentucky Derby - How to Wager and Win on America's Biggest Horse Race by Dean Keppler. Breaks the task of handicapping the Derby into easy to understand strategies that any bettor at any level of play can implement and gives strategies for wagering as well.