The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

2018 Kentucky Derby horses, odds and start time

Justify and Mike Smith win the Santa Anita Derby by three lengths. (Benoit Photo via Associated Press)
Placeholder while article actions load

Justify, a son of Scat Daddy, was set as the morning-line favorite at 3-1 odds for the 144th running of the Kentucky Derby Saturday at Churchill Downs. Trained by Bob Baffert, the lightly raced chestnut colt was impressive in winning the Santa Anita Derby by three lengths over highly rated Bolt d’Oro and was the No. 1 horse in the final Kentucky Derby Media Poll released Monday by, receiving seven of the 17 first-place votes from media members who participated.

“Not only has the big, grand-looking colt been poetry in motion while winning all three of his races, he has an excellent chance to be first or second with a furlong to go in the Kentucky Derby,” said Jon White, Santa Anita Park’s oddsmaker and a voter in the aforementioned poll. “That’s significant inasmuch as 52 of the last 55 Kentucky Derby winners have been first or second with a furlong to run.”

More on the Derby draw: Justify is set as favorite in a deep field

Justify, however, ran all three of those races as a 3-year-old, which has spelled doom for Kentucky Derby hopefuls for 136 years. According to Churchill Downs, 61 horses who were unraced as 2-year-olds have entered the Kentucky Derby since 1937, when such records were first kept. Only one horse — Apollo in 1882 — is known to have won the Derby after being unraced as a 2-year-old. Just three of the past 49 Derby winners — Fusaichi Pegasus (2000), Monarchos (2001) and Always Dreaming (2017) — did not win a race during their 2-year-old campaign.

Curses are meant to be broken,” said Sean Tugel, WinStar Farm’s director of bloodstock services and assistant racing manager. “At some point, some horse is going to come along and do it and I really hope it’s Justify. I get it because there is a certain foundation a horse needs to run the mile and a quarter in the spring of his 3-year-old year, but this horse gives me goose bumps like no other 3-year-old has ever done, so maybe he’s the one.”

Post Time: Saturday, 6:46 p.m. Eastern time, NBC

Greenberg’s pick: Bolt d’Oro

Best bets for the trifecta and superfecta

Here’s a look at his chances plus analysis on the 19 other horses who hope to beat him to the winner’s circle:

No. 1 Firenze Fire (50-1)
Trainer: Jason Servis
Jockey: Paco Lopez

Lost by nine lengths in the Gotham and 11 lengths in the Wood. Outmatched here, too.

No. 2 Free Drop Billy (30-1)
Trainer: Dale Romans
Jockey: Robby Albarado

Ran second in the Holy Bull, third in the Gotham and third in the Blue Grass.

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly reported Free Drop Billy’s three most recent finishes.

No. 3 Promises Fulfilled (30-1)
Trainer: Dale Romans
Jockey: Corey Lanerie

The front-loving colt likes to try to go wire to wire, which rarely works in the Derby. Led the Florida Derby through six furlongs before finishing last in the nine-horse field.

No. 4 Flameaway (30-1)
Trainer: Mark Casse
Jockey: Jose Lezcano

Has wins on turf, synthetic, and dirt (both wet and dry) but lost the lead to Good Magic in the Bluegrass Stakes.

No. 5 Audible (8-1)
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Jockey: Javier Castellano

Florida Derby winner trained by Todd Pletcher looks set to peak at Churchill Downs.

No. 6 Good Magic (12-1)
Trainer: Chad Brown
Jockey: Jose Ortiz

The 2017 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner also won the Bluegrass Stakes, whose winner hasn’t won the Derby since 1991.

No. 7 Justify (3-1)
Trainer: Bob Baffert
Jockey: Mike Smith

Undefeated in three starts, all as a 3-year-old, including a win in Santa Anita Derby. Will have to deal with “The Curse of Apollo.”

No. 8 Lone Sailor (50-1)
Trainer: Tom Amoss
Jockey: James Graham

His only win came as a 2-year-old maiden at seven furlongs.

No. 9 Hofburg (20-1)
Trainer: Bill Mott
Jockey: Irad Ortiz Jr.

This lightly raced son of Tapit (three career starts) finished three lengths behind winner Audible in the Florida Derby.

No. 10 My Boy Jack (30-1)
Trainer: Keith Desormeaux
Jockey: Kent Desormeaux

Most experienced in the field with 10 starts, five of those graded stakes. Also finished in the top three eight times.

No. 11 Bolt d’Oro (8-1)
Trainer: Mick Ruis
Jockey: Victor Espinoza

The bay colt won the San Felipe via disqualification but was nonthreatening in Santa Anita Derby. His sire, Medaglia d’Oro, led all stallions in North America by producing seven Grade 1 winners in 2017.

No. 12 Enticed (30-1)
Trainer: Kiaran McLaughlin
Jockey: Junior Alvarado

Got bumped twice in the Wood Memorial and had a chance to win but couldn’t hang on.

No. 13 Bravazo (50-1)
Trainer: D. Wayne Lukas
Jockey: Luis Contreras

Has raced three times over the Churchill Downs main track. Non factor in the Louisiana Derby.

No. 14 Mendelssohn (5-1)
Trainer: Aidan O’Brien
Jockey: Ryan Moore

Won the UAE Derby by 18 1/2 lengths but no Derby horse has finished in the money after winning in Dubai.

No. 15 Instilled Regard (50-1)
Trainer: Jerry Hollendorfer
Jockey: Drayden Van Dyke

Only graded stakes win was the Lecomte Stakes (G3) at Fair Grounds in January.

No. 16 Magnum Moon (6-1)
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Jockey: Luis Saez

The son of Malibu Moon won the Arkansas Derby but never ran as a 2-year-old. Unraced 2-year-olds are 0 for 61 in the Derby since 1882.

No. 17 Solomini (30-1)
Trainer: Bob Baffert
Jockey: Flavien Prat

Got worse in each of past three starts and might have peaked in Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (second place).

No. 18 Vino Rosso (12-1)
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Jockey: John Velazquez

Pulled off the upset in the Wood Memorial and will have two-time Kentucky Derby winner John Velazquez aboard Saturday.

No. 19 Noble Indy (30-1)
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Jockey: Florent Geroux

Another Pletcher horse, he won the Louisiana Derby by a neck and has three wins in four starts heading into the Kentucky Derby. Seattle Slew, a Triple Crown winner in 1977, is his great grandsire.

No. 20 Combatant (50-1)
Trainer: Steve Asmussen
Jockey: Ricardo Santana

Broke his maiden in his second start at Churchill Downs in 2017 but hasn’t won since.