Justify is the name on many lips heading into this year's Kentucky Derby, having been bred in Kentucky and trained by four-time victor of this race, Bob Baffert. An old jinx could be disproved, and history would be written if Mendelssohn wears the garland of red roses.
This will be his toughest test yet, not only because he will be asked to run a mile and a quarter for the first time, but also because of the supposed "Curse of Apollo", which relates to the fact not a single horse has won the Kentucky Derby without having raced at least once as a 2-year-old since Apollo, in 1882.
The Kentucky Derby has exhibited a tendency to listen to its favorites in recent years, with American Pharoah, Nyquist and Always Dreaming each tipped among or as outright favorites prior to their wins in recent years. "You're going to have to have some luck". Since 1937, the 61 who have entered the Derby without a race under their belts by the age of 2 have all lost and only eight of the 61 finished in the money, The Wall Street Journal reports.
The mile and a quarter distance is also new territory for numerous horses in the race, so projecting how they'll fare could come down to their breeding and a little guesswork. Audible is the third favorite at 7-1, followed by Magnum Moon at 9-1. Justify is one of two horses that have raced only three times. Whether it's the travel or some trouble with their internal clock, many horses have shown signs of dominance on the other side of the world, only to disappoint at Churchill Downs. The Ireland-based colt made his first appearance Thursday - drawing attention with his screeching - after spending the first part of the week in quarantine for Aidan O'Brien.
If you're thinking of sticking with a low-priced streaming television service after the Kentucky Derby final results are announced, the odds are that Sling TV will be a victor for you. "I should know it took me a while to win my first one", Pletcher said.
Baffert, a four-time Derby victor, came close to overcoming the so-called Apollo curse, finishing second with Bodemeister in 2012. He has thus won his last three races on three different kinds of surfaces.
Getting the ideal trip in the Derby is critical, especially with the traffic from 20 horses making a chaotic charge into the first turn.
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High school dropout Mick Ruis will try to become just the third owner-trainer to win.
Why he can win: Bolt d'Oro gave chase to Justify at the Santa Anita Derby earlier this year, before just falling off the pace.
Jerry Hollendorfer (Instilled Regard), Lukas (Bravazo) and Bill Mott (Hofburg). Baffert has sent out 27 horses in the Derby.
In the 24 hours leading up to the Kentucky Derby, gamblers have started betting heavily on My Boy Jack and his odds have fallen from a 20/1 longshot all the way to 5/1.
"This may be as good a chance as I've ever had", Mott said. Eight of the 20 horses Saturday have raced fewer than five times.