LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The undefeated chestnut colt Justify, who will break from Post 7, was made the morning-line favorite at 3-1 for the 144th running of the Kentucky Derby on Saturday.
Trained by the Triple-Crown winning Bob Baffert, Justify defeated the successful colt Bolt d’Oro by three lengths in the Santa Anita Derby on April 7, fueling the hype. And despite being at Churchill Downs less than 24 hours, he has already attracted a robust crowd at Baffert’s talent-laden Barn 33.
But all three of Justify’s three starts came in 2018, and no horse has won the mile-and-a-quarter Derby after not starting as a 2 year old since Apollo in 1882, leading to the dubious distinction, the Curse of Apollo.
“A lot of people have told me, ‘Please get a start in my horse before so we can get that thing out of the way,’” Baffert said of owners pushing to race their 2-year-old horses.
If ever there were horses who could reverse the curse, however, Justify or Magnum Moon, who went wire-to-wire in the Arkansas Derby, could be the one. “I think when the right horse comes along, it will happen,” said Magnum Moon’s trainer, Todd Pletcher, who is set to saddle four horses in the race.
Mendelssohn, breaking from Post 14, was made the second choice at 5-1, and Magnum Moon breaking from Post 16, was third at 6-1.
Solomini drew the dreaded 17 hole, from which no horse has ever won.
Blended Citizen was placed on the also-eligible list and can draw into the field should a horse be scratched before Friday at 9 a.m. Eastern.
Here’s the full field:
1. Firenze Fire
Trainer: Jason Servis Jockey: Paco Lopez Odds: 50-1
2. Free Drop Billy
Trainer: Dale Romans Jockey: Robby Albarado Odds: 30-1
3. Promises Fulfilled
Trainer: Dale Romans Jockey: Corey Lanerie Odds: 30-1
Trainer: Mark Casse Jockey: Jose Lezcano Odds: 30-1
Trainer: Todd Pletcher Jockey: Javier Castellano Odds: 8-1
6. Good Magic
Trainer: Chad Brown Jockey: Jose Ortiz Odds: 12-1
Trainer: Bob Baffert Jockey: Mike Smith Odds: 3-1
8. Lone Sailor
Trainer: Tom Amoss Jockey: James Graham Odds: 50-1
Trainer: Bill Mott Jockey: Irad Ortiz Jr. Odds: 20-1
10. My Boy Jack
Trainer: Keith Desormeaux Jockey: Kent Desormeaux Odds: 20-1
11. Bolt d’Oro
Trainer: Mick Ruiz Jockey: Victor Espinoza Odds: 8-1
Trainer: Kieran McLaughlin Jockey: Junior Alvarado Odds: 30-1
Trainer: D. Wayne Lukas Jockey: Luis Contreras Odds: 50-1
Trainer: Aidan O’Brien Jockey: Ryan Moore Odds: 5-1
15. Instilled Regard
Trainer: Jerry Hollendorfer Jockey: Drayden Van Dyke Odds: 50-1
16. Magnum Moon
Trainer: Todd Pletcher Jockey: Luis Saez Odds: 6-1
Trainer: Bob Baffert Jockey: Flavien Prat Odds: 30-1
18. Vino Rosso
Trainer: Todd Pletcher Jockey: John Velazquez Odds: 12-1
19. Noble Indy
Trainer: Todd Pletcher Jockey: Florent Geroux Odds: 30-1
Trainer: Steve Asmussen Jockey: Ricardo Santana Jr. Odds: 50-1
Also Eligible: Blended Citizen
Trainer: Doug O’Neill Jockey: Kyle Frey Odds: 50-1