Credit Churchill Downs website

The 150th running of the “Run for the Roses” was drawn Saturday just prior to Churchill Downs’ opening race card. The Grandest of all races is set to be run next Saturday, May 4th with a post time of 3:45pm Pacific time. A full field of 20 were drawn with 2 alternates in case there are any late scratches. NBC will once again be covering the Derby and will also stream it on Peacock. Mage with Javier Castellano won the 149th Derby last year. 

The morning line favorite Fierceness is 5-2 with jockey John Velasquez aboard for trainer Todd Pletcher. Fierceness comes in with his biggest win being the Grade 1 Florida Derby. Velasquez has won the Derby 3 times out of 25 mounts. The Hall-of-Famer will shoot for #4 but will break from the far outside in gate 17. Pletcher has won the Roses twice but owner Mike Repole is 0-7 looking to get his first trip to the Derby Winnewr’s Circle.

Trained by Chad Brown with Tyler Gaffalione aboard you’ll find 3-1 2nd choice Sierra Leone.  The son of Gun Runner took the Bluegrass Stakes to earn his spot in the big race. Sierra Leone is owned by a group of owners with 2 of them having tasted victory on the 1st Saturday of May. Michael Tabor had Thunder Gulch in 1995 and Peter Brant had a piece of Swale back in 1984.

Brown and Gaffalione are both looking for their 1st win in the Derby. Brown is 0-7 with his best finish 2nd in 2018 with Good Magic. Gaffalione is 0-6 and also 0-6 in just hitting the board with his best finish being 7th.

Fierceness and Sierra Leone are well favored over the rest of the field. The only other horse less than 10-1 is Catching Freedom at 8-1 in the 4 gate. Catching Freedom qualifed after taking the Louisiana Derby at the Fairgrounds. The Kentucky bred is owned by Albaugh Family Stables who are 0-6 in the Derby.

Trainer Brad Cox and jockey Flavien Prat have both won the Derby once and both by disqualification, but not in the same race. The 1st ever DQ came in 2019 when longshot Country House was put up after it was ruled for the 1st time in the 144 years that the winner was disqualified. Maximum Security was taken down after interfering with several horsees turning for home. This promoted 65-1 Country House and Prat to the Winner’s Circle.

Just 2 years later and several rulings and court time later Medina’s Spirit who won the race was disqualified for a failed drug test. This promoted Mandaloun as the winner far after all the tickets had been paid out and the ceremonies completed. Trainer Brad Cox has his name on the winner’s list but has never had the chance to experience the Winner’s Circle or the rush of winning the biggest horse race in the world in real time. Cox and Prat hope they can go straight to the photographer this year.

You can watch and wager on the Kentucky Derby this Saturday at Emerald Downs. This is also opening day for the 2024 live racing season at the Auburn track. The draw for Saturday’s card will be drawn on Monday, April 29. The track will also host their annual Derby Hat contest. For more information on coming to Emerald Downs and on the contest go to their website at www.emeralddowns.com

Here are the Post positions for the 150th Kentucky Derby:

1. Dornoch, 20-1, Trainer Danny Gargan, Jockey Luis Saez

2. Sierra Leone, 3-1, Trainer Chad Brown, Jockey Tyler Gaffalione

3. Mystik Dan, 20-1, Trainer Kenny McPeek, Jockey Brian Hernandez Jr.

4. Catching Freedom, 8-1, Trainer Brad Cox, Jockey Flavien Prat

5. Catalytic, 30-1, Trainer Saffie Joseph Jr., Jockey Jose Ortiz

6. Just Steel, 20-1, Trainer D. Wayne Lukas, Jockey Keith Asmussen

7. Honor Marie, 20-1, Trainer Whit Beckman, Jockey Ben Curtis

8. Just a Touch, 10-1, Trainer Brad Cox, Jockey Florent Geroux

9. Encino, 20-1, Trainer Brad Cox, Jockey Axel Concepcion

10. T O Password, 30-1, Trainer Daisuke Takayanagi, Trainer Kazushi Kimura

11. Forever Young, 10-1, Trainer Yoshito Yahagi, Jockey Ryusei Sakai

12. Track Phantom, 20-1, Trainer Steve Asmussen, Jockey Joel Rosario

13. West Saratoga, 50-1, Trainer Larry Demeritte, Jockey Jesus Castanon

14. Endlessly, 30-1, Trainer Michael McCarthy, Jockey Umberto Rispoli

15. Domestic Product, 30-1, Trainer Chad Brown, Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr.

16. Grand Mo the First, 50-1, Trainer Victor Barboza Jr., Jockey Emisael Jaramillo

17. Fierceness, 5-2, Trainer Todd Pletcher, Jockey John Velazquez

18. Stronghold, 20-1, Trainer Phil D’Amato, Jockey Antonio Fresu

19. Resilience, 20-1, Trainer Bill Mott, Jockey Junior Alvarado

20. Society Man, 50-1, Trainer Danny Gargan, Jockey Frankie Dettori

Epic Ride and Mugatu are also eligible if another competitor scratches.




By paulb

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