Kentucky Derby 2018: Odds and Our Experts’ Predictions
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The horses for the 144th running of the Kentucky Derby are listed in order of post position, with comments by Joe Drape and Melissa Hoppert of The New York Times. The morning-line odds were set by Mike Battaglia of Churchill Downs.
Purse: $2 million guaranteed
Distance: 1¼ miles
Track record: 1:59 2/5 (Secretariat, 1973)
Weight: 126 pounds
Post time: 6:46 p.m. Eastern
How to watch: NBC, beginning at 2:30 p.m. NBC Sports Network coverage runs from noon to 2:30.
Coverage will also be streamed on NBC Sports Live.
Joe Drape’s win-place-show picks: Bolt d’Oro, My Boy Jack, Noble Indy
Melissa Hoppert’s picks: Good Magic, Justify, Hofburg
Here’s how we see the field:
1. Firenze Fire
Trainer: Jason Servis Jockey: Paco Lopez Odds: 50-1
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Drape: An awful post for a horse that has been overmatched all year.
Hoppert: Sure, he beat Good Magic in 2017, but his last victory came at Aqueduct in January. Plus, that post. Pass.
2. Free Drop Billy
Trainer: Dale Romans Jockey: Robby Albarado Odds: 30-1
Drape: This late runner looked promising as a 2-year-old, but he has failed to move forward.
Hoppert: His last victory came in 2017. He’s going the wrong way.
3. Promises Fulfilled
Trainer: Dale Romans Jockey: Corey Lanerie Odds: 30-1
Drape: You will see him in front early and nowhere late.
Hoppert: He pulled an upset in the Fountain of Youth but then finished ninth in the Florida Derby.
Trainer: Mark Casse Jockey: Jose Lezcano Odds: 30-1
Drape: A gritty colt who has won on dirt, grass and synthetic surfaces. He’s going to win a lot of races, but not this one.
Hoppert: He’s hit the board in seven of nine starts. But this field is deep.
Trainer: Todd Pletcher Jockey: Javier Castellano Odds: 8-1
Drape: His Florida Derby victory was eye-catching, and he has worked well in Kentucky. Don’t leave out.
Hoppert: Post 5 has produced the most Derby winners, with an 11.4 win percentage. The last? Pletcher’s Always Dreaming. Hard to bet against that, but work done on his front hooves makes me pause.
6. Good Magic
Trainer: Chad Brown Jockey: Jose Ortiz Odds: 12-1
Drape: There’s too much chatter about how good last year’s 2-year-old champion is looking. Those juicy odds may drop precipitously.
Hoppert: The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner has been working lights out here, which has his normally stoic trainer smiling from ear to ear. Hopefully at a nice price, that’s good enough magic for me.
Trainer: Bob Baffert Jockey: Mike Smith Odds: 3-1
Drape: This talented colt is trying to do what Bodemeister, Curlin and others have not been able to do since 1882: Win the Derby without racing at 2. I’ll take history.
Hoppert: The favorite has won the past five Derbys, but the Santa Anita Derby winner has Apollo’s curse looming over him. Then again, as has been overheard many times this week, he could just be a freak.
8. Lone Sailor
Trainer: Tom Amoss Jockey: James Graham Odds: 50-1
Drape: This closer might just clunk up for third or fourth place.
Hoppert: The Louisiana Derby runner-up is light on wins (one in eight starts), but he has been drawing some buzz in the mornings.
Trainer: Bill Mott Jockey: Irad Ortiz Jr. Odds: 20-1
Drape: Neither owner nor trainer are the kind to push a lightly raced colt like this one into this deep of water unless he was talented.