As we mount our saddles for the “Belmont Box” this month, there is no better way to embrace May’s flowers than “The Run for the Roses.” The quintessential Kentucky Derby and its horses kick off the race’s 143rd installment this Saturday May 6 at Louisville’s Churchill Downs.
Preceding the respective Stakes of Preakness and Belmont in the nation’s eye for the coveted Triple Crown, The Guide aims to dress potential bettors and casual spectators alike with fashionable predictions all month long. Las Vegas odds are courtesy of Odds Shark and Bovada through Bleacher Report as of May 2, before drawn positions were announced.
So which horses and jockeys are dressed to impress at this weekend’s Kentucky Derby? Stir your Mint Juleps and dust off those to-the-nines southern sundresses as you’re hand-fed how to look expert at the obnoxious hat party someone better be throwing somewhere.
On to the stabled Top 10 rankings:
10) Gormley (+1600, or 16/1 Odds)
Despite the presence of perennial success jockey Jose Espinoza, expect him to take a hoof-step back as Gormley blends with the middle of the field. Don’t underrate them in the midst of their qualifying momentum, but you shouldn’t place money on that pink and blue either.
9) Gunnevera (+1000)
Gunnevera’s team boasts Venezuelan flair and a war horse’s narrative among entrapping 10/1 odds. Hopefully beginner’s luck shields them from race-day muck.
8) Patch (+5000)
In the case of Patch, you don’t need more than one eye to see how an all-black ensemble can slim even the near-worst of chances (only Fast and Accurate is given worse odds at +6600). The mystery surrounding his eye injury and its subsequent removal illuminates the feel-good story of the Derby fueled by trainer Todd Pletcher’s familiarity with such circumstances. Still, it’ll be too much to overcome.
7) J Boys Echo (+2800)
The teenage-heartthrob band name compliments the combination of May blues seamlessly. First-alternate Luis Saez is hardly an irregular rider come Derby days either, and perhaps beauty truly is born rather than made.
6) Girvin (+2000)
One could argue that Girvin is peaking while remiss of his double-digit odds, though the petal sash against ominous orange renders him presumptuous enough to land outside the Top Five.
5) Classic Empire (+400)
Classic Empire is being branded the indisputable favorite, particularly after landing post No. 14 within the starting grid. Julien Leparoux’ outfit blatantly suggests he knows what he has. That being said, steer clear of horses with even limited injury history (in this case the hip), and front-running isn’t all that fun anyway.
4) Thunder Snow (+1800)
It looks as though Thunder Snow will be making his classy entrance after all, thanks to some much-needed cultural sightseeing from Dubai to England. Will the mini vacation prove to be a retroactive distraction, or is he still just a horse that runs?
3) Always Dreaming (+500)
You’ll be hard-pressed to find anything negative in regards to Always Dreaming’s prospects. Fresh off of two victories with Hall-of-Fame jockey John Velasquez secure in its stirrups…yet there are brazen gems worth digging out from the closet for the home stretch.
2) Irish War Cry (+800)
If the tristate breeding and Rajiv Maragh’s trojan-inspired cardinal n gold don’t win you over, then your gut isn’t prime to digest this full breakfast on signature Irish biscuits. Of course, we’ll be washing down our winning rankings with a cocktail named for champions – or a champion named for cocktails.
1) McCraken (+1000)
Saving the highly anticipated “dark-horse” pun for last, McCraken’s stock is now as high as his namesake’s rum is indeed dark. Pour that into your Mojito Julep and shake it!
Mike L. // The Guide