The qualification process means that trainers can’t really afford to leave much to the imagination in preparation for this race, training their contenders to pretty much peak condition earlier in the year in order to win a qualifying race at Grade One level.
Trainers, jockeys and owners are fighting for their share of a $2,000,000 purse here so you can guarantee they are trying their very best and that their horses will run right up to expectations.
Studying the form lines from both the 2017 season when they were two-year-olds and from the various trial races in April will be crucial in deciding who has a leading shot at the prize. At this stage though, their early form and reputation has given the below horses some credence and are thought of by pros as major Kentucky Derby contenders:
Trained by Mick Ruis, he is bred for this ten furlong trip and was a fine winner of the Frontrunner Stakes at Santa Anita back in late September (Grade 1)
He was a beaten favorite in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile but lost very little in defeat that day and may keep his place as favorite here right up to post time on May 5th.
A very athletically built horse who blitzed home in the Ellis Park Juvenile and earned himself a huge reputation. He actually won at Churchill Downs on his debut and so a return to the Kentucky track for the big one is definitely on the cards.
Like Dak Attack he is trained by Dale Romans and cruised home in the Grade One Futurity at Keeneland in October. He was well beaten at the Breeders’ Cup but his form from the Futurity alone is enough to make him a contender here.
A definite improver, something which worked for him when unexpectedly landing the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Del Mar ahead of some other main Triple Crown contenders. He is definitely the type to keep getting better so we have gotten nowhere near the bottom of him yet.
Hasn’t really won a big one as yet but was 4th behind Free Drop Billy in the Futurity and definitely has a chance to become a Grade One winning 3yo.
Well, given that on race day itself your horse’s price may change from 2/1 to 6/4 in the blink of an eye we shouldn’t read too much into the current lists for the 2018 Kentucky Derby.
How the form lines are read in one territory can sometimes differ to how they are read in another. Also, away from the States bookies and customers are not swayed by the reputation a certain horse or its trainer may have in the media and so the odds can look very different.
That said, we have seen most of the contenders on the track now and sat through another very informative Breeders’ Cup meeting so at least the betting market is taking shape for Louisville. Here’s a rough idea of how they stack up so far:
|Free Drop Billy||16/1|
|Conquistador (and others)||25/1|
Breeders’ Cup form then is right to the fore as you would imagine, and if Bolt D’Oro should come out in the spring and win his opening race of the year then these odds will surely shrink some more.
One or two European contenders may yet emerge; in fact there is now a race at Newcastle which is to be the climax of the European road to the Kentucky Derby offering more points than other trials.
We will have all the latest Kentucky Derby odds and analysis right here, be sure to check back close to the big day for all the info you need.