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Your Kentucky Derby picks are most likely flawed. Here’s why every horse can and may’t win ‘wide-open’ race.


Whether you want one of many prime contenders or a protracted shot, Saturday’s Kentucky Derby guarantees to supply loads of strong betting choices.

Blue Grass winner Zandon (3-1 odds) and Louisiana Derby winner Epicenter (7-2 odds) are the highest decisions within the morning line launched Monday. But there actually are a number of different intriguing choices in a race thought of “wide-open” by many.

With that in thoughts, The Courier Journal gives its annual breakdown of why every horse can and may’t win the Kentucky Derby – many severe, just a few tongue in cheek, one destined to be proper and a bunch extra destined to be flawed.

Click on every horse’s identify to be taught extra and watch a video of his final prep race.

Why he can win: Brisnet Speed Figures beloved his Wood Memorial victory, giving it a 111 determine that matches the very best of any horse within the discipline. Closer ought to love the 1 ¼-mile distance.

Why he can’t win: The No. 1 put up hasn’t been sort of late, with Ferdinand in 1986 the final winner from there. A brand new beginning gate that made its debut in 2020 was meant to maintain the No. 1 horse from getting squeezed on the rail, however homeowners and trainers nonetheless would like to keep away from the spot.

Kentucky Derby hopeful Mo Donegal, right, puts in a final workout along with a stable mate at Churchill Downs one week before the race. Mo Donegal is trained by Todd Pletcher. April 30, 2022

Kentucky Derby hopeful Mo Donegal, proper, places in a last exercise together with a steady mate at Churchill Downs one week earlier than the race. Mo Donegal is skilled by Todd Pletcher. April 30, 2022

Why he can win: Trainer Doug O’Neill has received the Kentucky Derby twice, so he is aware of methods to get it executed.

Why he can’t win: Happy Jack – which has misplaced his previous three races by a mixed 49 lengths – just isn’t I’ll Have Another or Nyquist.

Why he can win: He’s improved in his final three races and confirmed some versatility in shedding the tempo after which successful the Louisiana Derby. Many thought he’d be the morning-line favourite. A horse bred in Bowling Green – ravaged by tornadoes final December – looks like a feel-good story.

Why he can’t win: Is Steve Asmussen jinxed? No coach has entered extra horses within the Kentucky Derby (23) with out successful one. Perhaps it’s not meant to be for him.

Why he can win: Because you consider in miracles?

Why he can’t win: He’s by no means received a race longer than 7 furlongs. The front-runner had his probability within the UAE Derby at 1 3/16 miles however couldn’t maintain off Crown Pride down the stretch.

Why he can win: He was tremendous spectacular as a 2-year-old with romps at Keeneland and Churchill. Trainer Kenny McPeek has stored him recent this 12 months with simply two races and is hoping to unleash an enormous one Saturday.

Why he can’t win: He’s 0 for two this 12 months with a pair of runner-up finishes. He had each probability to win the Blue Grass however couldn’t maintain off Zandon down the stretch.

Why he can win: He’s as proficient as anybody and will not have been as match as wanted within the Santa Anita Derby, when he pale to second behind Taiba. It’s laborious to think about he’ll keep as excessive as 8-1 odds, however are you able to move on betting him that top?

Why he can’t win: How are the Derby gods going to guage these horses who beforehand have been skilled by Bob Baffert and now are within the fingers of Tim Yakteen? And will Yakteen have them as ready as Baffert would have? It’s one of the crucial intriguing questions of this Derby.

Kentucky Derby hopeful Messier is bathed on the backside of Churchill Downs following its first trip to the track. The former Bob Baffert trainee is being handled by Tim Yakteen due to Baffert's suspension from the track. May 2, 2022

Kentucky Derby hopeful Messier is bathed on the bottom of Churchill Downs following its first journey to the observe. The former Bob Baffert trainee is being dealt with by Tim Yakteen because of Baffert’s suspension from the observe. May 2, 2022

Why he can win: From final 12 months’s Breeders’ Cup to this 12 months’s Dubai World Cup, Japanese horses have been on hearth on the nationwide stage. Crown Pride’s coaching strategies at Churchill Downs have been distinctive to say the least, however rely him out at your personal threat.

Why he can’t win: Since 2000, the UAE Derby has produced 16 Kentucky Derby starters and none has completed higher than fifth (Master of Hounds in 2011). Thunder Snow would possibly nonetheless be on the market hopping round.

Why he can win: Many consider he would have received the Florida Derby had he not hit the gate and been slowed in the beginning.

Why he can’t win: Didn’t race as a 2-year-old and has solely three races in his profession. Justify bucked numerous these “curses,” however does this one have sufficient expertise to interrupt via?

Why he can win: Throw out the Holy Bull and he’s 5-1-0 in his previous six races. A victory could be enormous for coach Kenny McPeek and the Magdalena Farm he purchased in 2006.

Why he can’t win: Nearly all of his success has come on all-weather surfaces or turf. He did win a one-mile maiden race on dust at Ellis Park final July however completed seventh in his different two begins on dust.

Why he can win: No horse has appeared higher because the jet-black Zandon arrived right here in late April. His four-furlong breeze April 29 had coach Chad Brown beaming, and he garnered standing because the morning-line favourite for a cause.

Zandon, with Flavien Prat up, wins the Blue Grass Stakes on Saturday, April 9, 2022, at Keeneland race course.

Zandon, with Flavien Prat up, wins the Blue Grass Stakes on Saturday, April 9, 2022, at Keeneland race course.

Why he can’t win: It’s laborious to discover a strike towards him, however he did end 3 ¼ lengths behind Epicenter of their lone matchup Feb. 19 within the Risen Star at Fair Grounds.

Why he can win: He hasn’t been capable of match Epicenter in his previous two races, however he hasn’t been far again, both. If he can take a step ahead, he has an opportunity to be within the combine on the finish.

Why he can’t win: The pace figures simply don’t match up with the very best, and several other different closers within the discipline appear a bit higher.

Why he can win: A $1.7 million buy, he’s the costliest horse within the discipline and would be the most proficient. He took an enormous step ahead in successful the Santa Anita Derby.

Why he can’t win: Only one horse has ever received the Derby with simply two profession begins – Leonatus in 1883. It’s laborious to disregard that historical past.

Kentucky Derby hopeful Taida is bathed following a gallop around the Churchill Downs track. The former Bob Baffert trainee is now being handled by Tim Yakteen. May 2, 2022

Kentucky Derby hopeful Taida is bathed following a gallop across the Churchill Downs observe. The former Bob Baffert trainee is now being dealt with by Tim Yakteen. May 2, 2022

Why he can win: He’s due a victory after ending third within the Florida Derby. Showed some early pace there however couldn’t grasp on down the stretch.

Why he can’t win: He’s had two probabilities towards White Abarrio at Gulfstream Park and hasn’t been capable of get the job executed. He’s spent his complete profession at Gulfstream, so there are main query marks about his means on a brand new floor.

Kentucky Derby hopeful Simplification takes to the track at  Churchill Downs for the first time for a morning jog. May 2, 2022

Kentucky Derby hopeful Simplification takes to the observe at Churchill Downs for the primary time for a morning jog. May 2, 2022

Why he can win: Maybe he lastly places all of it collectively after a bunch of shut calls at Oaklawn Park. Trainer John Ortiz is likely one of the good guys within the sport and will get his first shot within the Derby.

Why he can’t win: He all the time tries laborious, however he’s winless in his previous 5 begins. His pace figures lag behind the very best on this discipline.

Why he can win: Feels like he’s being missed after successful 4 of 5 profession begins, together with the Florida Derby. Trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. was thrilled after his last exercise Saturday in Florida.

Why he can’t win: The solely lack of his profession got here at Churchill Downs. Perhaps he’s merely a “horse for the course” at Gulfstream. No grey horse has received the Derby since Giacomo in 2005.

Why he can win: Looks to be the very best of the three for Louisville coach Brad Cox, who obtained the Derby win final 12 months with Mandaloun by way of disqualification. Throw out the Lecomte, and his 4-1-0 report in 5 different begins is tough to disregard.

Why he can’t win: There are massive questions on who he beat within the Arkansas Derby and whether or not he’s able to taking the following step ahead he’ll must compete with the very best within the Run for the Roses.

Why he can win: Really just one means – go War Emblem and take them gate to wire.

Why he can’t win: No horse ever has received the Kentucky Derby from the No. 17 put up. Are you able to belief a horse that completed eleventh in his final race?

Why he can win: This will probably be his third race in 36 days. Maybe he’ll be in higher form than everybody else? He lastly confirmed the flexibility to win on dust along with his victory within the Grade 3 Lexington at Keeneland.

Why he can’t win: The solely time he confronted horses of Kentucky Derby-caliber, he completed fifth within the Risen Star at Fair Grounds.

Why he can win: Showed some early pace within the Louisiana Derby, and maybe some higher conditioning since then will permit him to steal it.

Why he can’t win: Didn’t race as a 2-year-old and solely three profession begins. Can’t ignore the historical past.

Why he can win: Trainer D. Wayne Lukas stated the horse will probably be coming late. What a narrative a victory could be for the 86-year-old Lukas.

Why he can’t win: Finishing seventh and fourth in your final two races earlier than the Derby doesn’t encourage confidence.

Jason Frakes: 502-582-4046; jfrakes@courier-journal.com; Twitter: @KentuckyDerbyCJ.

This article initially appeared on Louisville Courier Journal: Kentucky Derby: Why every horse can and may’t win



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