Expert Picks: Who Will Win the Kentucky Derby


The horses for the 147th operating of the Kentucky Derby are listed so as of put up place, with feedback by Joe Drape and Melissa Hoppert of The New York Times. The morning-line odds have been set by Mike Battaglia of Churchill Downs.

How to look at: Coverage begins Saturday at 12:30 p.m., Eastern time, on NBC Sports Network and can proceed on NBC at 2:30 p.m. It may also be streamed on NBC Sports Live.

Post time: 6:57 p.m.

Purse: $Three million assured

Distance: 1¼ miles

Track document: 1:59⅖ (Secretariat, 1973)

Weight: 126 kilos

Joe Drape’s win-place-show picks: King Fury, Mandaloun, Essential Quality

Melissa Hoppert’s picks: Known Agenda, Essential Quality, Midnight Bourbon

Here’s how we see the area:

Trainer: Todd Pletcher Jockey: Irad Ortiz Jr. Odds: 6-1

Drape: The Florida Derby winner was a serious contender till he drew the No. 1 put up. He’s going to want luck and knowledgeable dealing with to beat it.

Hoppert: He has gained two straight races by a mixed 13¾ lengths since including blinkers, and he’ll have the No. 1 jockey in North America on his again. I’ll take my probabilities on an upset.

Trainer: Wesley Ward Jockey: Drayden Van Dyke Odds: 50-1

Drape: This colt confirmed a late burst to seize the Jeff Ruby Steaks. He is in far deeper right here and in addition pulled a troublesome put up place.

Hoppert: Ward, finest recognized for his success at Royal Ascot, has set his sights on including a Derby victory to his résumé, however this colt’s prime performances have come on an artificial floor.

Trainer: Danny Velazquez Jockey: Umberto Rispoli Odds: 50-1

Drape: This gelding was three of 4 as a 2-year-old, however an sickness delayed his coaching, and his 3-year-old debut was a fifth-place dud in the Wood Memorial.

Hoppert: This late addition to the area is probably not in prime type, however he undoubtedly has one in all the finest story strains: He was bought for less than $5,000, and his coach is recovering from a freakish coaching accident.

Trainer: Robertino Diodoro Jockey: David Cohen Odds: 50-1

Drape: He was crushed by 16 lengths by the morning-line favourite in the Blue Grass. Next.

Hoppert: Another late addition, he has gained solely as soon as in six profession begins and sadly goes backward.

Trainer: Todd Pletcher Jockey: Corey Lanerie Odds: 50-1

Drape: This can be solely the fourth lifetime begin for this proficient colt. He completed second in the Jeff Ruby after an adventurous journey. Look for him to be a power in the summer season.

Hoppert: He’s most likely the least proficient of Pletcher’s 4 Derby starters. Pass.

Trainer: Greg Foley Jockey: Marcelino Pedroza Odds: 20-1

Drape: This late runner acquitted himself nicely in the powerful Louisiana prep races. He may hit the board.

Hoppert: A son of the Derby winner Orb, he has appeared sharp throughout coaching and figures to enhance at this distance, stamping his popularity as a “wiseguy” choose.

Trainer: Brad Cox Jockey: Florent Geroux Odds: 15-1

Drape: If you possibly can overlook a sixth-place clunker in the Louisiana Derby, this colt stacks up with the favorites. He has labored lights-out in the morning right here.

Hoppert: He’s undoubtedly proficient however an excessive amount of of a query mark. I’ll put my cash elsewhere.

Trainer: Bob Baffert Jockey: John Velazquez Odds: 15-1

Drape: The Santa Anita Derby runner-up has completed first or second in all 5 begins and has appeared good doing so.

Hoppert: Never rely Baffert out: He is tied for the most Derby victories with six, and his most up-to-date got here final 12 months with Velazquez aboard.

Trainer: Doug O’Neill Jockey: Flavien Prat Odds: 8-1

Drape: The Louisiana Derby champion isn’t precisely bred for the mile-and-a-quarter distance.

Hoppert: He ran second to Essential Quality in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and had two spectacular Derby preps. His versatile operating type bodes nicely for this race.

Trainer: Steven Asmussen Jockey: Mike Smith Odds: 20-1

Drape: This is a battled-tested colt who can be there in the stretch and at an honest value.

Hoppert: He has hit the board in all seven of his races, and he picks up a Hall a Fame rider. Plus, this horse has spunk: He was the discuss of the bottom when he broke free attempting to keep away from taking a shower.

Trainer: Todd Pletcher Jockey: Jose Ortiz Odds: 20-1

Drape: The runner-up in the Wood has a single victory on his résumé. He is not going to get his second right here.

Hoppert: He’s making progress, however he’s in over his head right here.

Trainer: Mark Casse Jockey: Julien Leparoux Odds: 50-1

Drape: The Tampa Bay Derby winner is undefeated in three begins, and he runs higher each time he begins. Not loads to go on, however price a $2 flier.

Hoppert: Two of these wins got here on an artificial floor. I’ll move.

Trainer: Vicki Oliver Jockey: Rafael Bejarano Odds: 50-1

Drape: Another who appears to be like out of his league after ending a well-beaten fourth in the Blue Grass.

Hoppert: He has gained on this observe, however he’s a step slower than the prime contenders, and sadly we’ll have to attend a bit longer to see a feminine coach win the Derby.

Trainer: Brad Cox Jockey: Luis Saez Odds: 2-1

Drape: The Blue Grass victor and 2-year-old champion is a deserving favourite after successful all 5 of his races. The solely query is, how a lot did the Blue Grass take out of him?

Hoppert: He gained his first race on the rescheduled Derby day in September and has not stopped since, incomes victories at three racetracks, on quick and sloppy surfaces, whereas using quite a lot of operating kinds. Certainly the one to beat.

Trainer: John Sadler Jockey: Joel Rosario Odds: 5-1

Drape: He appeared like a worldbeater successful the Santa Anita Derby to go three for 3. The first two, nonetheless, have been on grass, the place he could also be higher.

Hoppert: This late bloomer went wire to wire in the Santa Anita, and having beforehand raced on turf, he’s definitely not ready for the dust kickback from a 20-horse area. But Rosario is one in all the hottest jockeys in the recreation, and if anybody can put him in place, it’s him.

Trainer: Ken McPeek Jockey: Brian Hernandez Jr. Odds: 20-1

Drape: He gained right here as a 2-year-old and appeared terrific successful the Lexington Stakes, his debut as a 3-year-old. His coach and jockey are underrated. My choose.

Hoppert: His Lexington Stakes rating got here on a moist observe, and the climate in Louisville on Saturday is predicted to be image excellent. I don’t see it.

Trainer: Chad Brown Jockey: Javier Castellano Odds: 10-1

Drape: This colt gave Essential Quality all he might deal with in the Blue Grass earlier than shedding by a neck. Does he have the gasoline to show the tables?

Hoppert: He has hit the board in all 5 begins and can try to present Brown his first Derby victory in six tries. The added distance, nonetheless, might show an element.

Trainer: Asmussen Jockey: Ricardo Santana Jr. Odds: 30-1

Drape: The Arkansas Derby winner took benefit of a pace duel in entrance of him. Here, there’s plenty of site visitors to navigate.

Hoppert: Asmussen’s father is a component proprietor, and his son rode him to his first victory, however the feel-good story ends there.

Trainer: Casse Jockey: Tyler Gaffalione Odds: 30-1

Drape: Great title. Look for this Florida Derby runner-up to steer into the first flip. His solely likelihood is a gate-to-wire rating, and that can be exhausting to do.

Hoppert: Owned by the granddaughter of Campbell Soup’s founder, this speedy however evenly raced colt is almost definitely in scorching water right here.

Trainer: Pletcher Jockey: Kendrick Carmouche Odds: 30-1

Drape: This colt is a deep, deep nearer. He gained the Wood at odds of 72-1 with a last-to-first burst. He will attempt to make one once more.

Hoppert: He has steadily improved with blinkers, and what a narrative if Carmouche, in his first begin in the race, turns into the first Black jockey to win the Derby since 1902.



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