- On Saturday, 20 horses will step into the gates at Churchill Downs for the 145th running of the Kentucky Derby.
- Omaha Beach entered as the early favorite to win but was forced to scratch from the race due to injury.
- Below we go post by post to break down the chances of the seven favorites to win the roses now that Omaha Beach is out.
- Follow all of our Kentucky Derby coverage here.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
On Saturday, 20 horses will step into the gates at Churchill Downs, with one winning the “Run for the Roses” and taking the first step toward Triple Crown immortality.
After the official draw determined the post positions for the 20 horses in the field this year, the morning line was set, and bettors began to consider where they’d put their money down before the starting gun sounds on Saturday.
Read more:Kentucky Derby 2019: A beginner’s guide to betting the biggest horse race of the year
On Wednesday, early favorite Omaha Beach was forced to scratch due to injury. The news came as a shock to racing fans ready to support him, and his absence makes this year’s run at Churchill Downs as open a race as we’ve seen in years.
Read more:The favorite to win the Kentucky Derby was forced to scratch due to injury, completely reshaping the biggest race of the year
While any horse could win on Saturday, seven horses stand above the rest as having the potential to take home the roses and possibly make a run at the Triple Crown.
Below we break down the seven favorites of the 2019 Kentucky Derby.
Post position: No. 16
Opening odds: 5/1
Why he can win: Just two horses have ever crossed the finish line before Game Winner, and one of them was Omaha Beach, who had to scratch due to injury. The other was stablemate Roadster, who barely edged out Game Winner at the Santa Anita Derby. If Game Winner runs his best race on Saturday, there’s no reason he shouldn’t leave with the roses.
Reasons to be wary: Roadster closed strong on Game Winner at the Santa Anita Derby. If Game Winner is forced to keep pace near the front of the pack again, Roadster or another strong closer could take advantage of the extra length of Churchill Downs and catch him at the last moment once again.
Post position: No. 17
Opening odds: 6/1
Why he can win: Roadster had already beaten one of the best horses in this field when he outran Game Winner at the Santa Anita Derby and proved in the same race that closing at the Kentucky Derby shouldn’t be a problem, even if he has some ground to catch up heading into the final turn.
Reasons to be wary: Roadster’s strong finish at the Santa Anita Derby was impressive but came in a race that featured just six horses. Even if he has all the closing speed in the world, if Roadster is too far back when he wants to make his move, finding an open lane in a 20-horse field might prove difficult.
Post position: No. 5
Opening odds: 6/1
Why he can win: Like Game Winner, Improbable has only lost to two horses in his career, one of which was Omaha Beach. The other was Long Range Toddy, who beat Improbable by a nose with the help of a brilliant ride from jockey Jon Court. In three separate races, Improbable is undefeated, and if he can find a favorable path on Saturday, he’s got the stuff to win.
Reasons to be wary: While some horses are coming into the Kentucky Derby in their best form, Improbable has lost his past two races. Of course, it only takes one great race to flip that script, but there are other horses in the field that are already trending in the right direction.
Post position: No. 8
Opening odds: 10/1
Why he can win: Tacitus has won his two biggest races taking advantage of a blistering pace set by the leaders. Biding his time in the middle of the pack, Tacitus has proven extraordinarily adept and picking his spot and shooting for the lead. If the race gets off to a similarly hot start, no horse is better suited to take advantage with a late run.
Reasons to be wary: The horses at Churchill Downs will likely be a bit more disciplined than in some of Tacitus’ previous races, and he’s not the only strong closer in the bunch. If the moment to break comes and another horse is in a better position, Tacitus’ chance to win could close in a single stride.
Post position: No. 7
Opening odds: 10/1
Why he can win: Maximum Security is undefeated with a knack for taking an early lead and never letting up. He’s shown impressive speed when the open ground is ahead of him and could surprise the field with a quick start.
Reasons to be wary: As a front-runner, Maximum Security could struggle to find his spot near the front of the pack in the early-goings of the 20-horse race. It’s unclear how he’ll react when he has to respond to another horse’s pace rather than setting one himself.
Code of Honor
Post position: No. 13
Opening odds: 15/1
Why he can win: Code of Honor is one of the lightest horses in the field, which could play to his advantage if breaking free from the group comes down to moving through a narrow gap. He’s fast enough to hold off some late charges.
Reasons to be wary: The most significant test Code of Honor has faced so far in his racing career came at the Florida Derby, where he finished well behind Maximum Security and Bodexpress. If he couldn’t beat those horses then, he’ll need quite a race to take them, and 17 other contenders, down on Saturday.
Win Win Win
Post position: No. 14
Opening odds: 15/1
Why he can win: It’s in his name, right? Win Win Win has the speed necessary to take home the roses on Saturday and should be comfortable starting near the middle of the pack. If he can find the right line through both turns of the race, he could contend.
Reasons to be wary: Win Win Win has had to recover after tough starts out of the gate in numerous races. While he’s proven capable of doing so, it’s tough to do at the Kentucky Derby, where the winning horse will likely need its best race. Further, the longer wait time in the gates could wind up leaving Win Win Win ever more anxious to start than in previous races.
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