Post time: approx. 6:04 PM EST.
So who are you guys looking at to win? Who's going to be watching it tonight?? I'm so excited!!! For those of you who may not know the contenders, I wrote up a little blurb about each horse:
Breaking from the number 1 gate is West Side Bernie, trained by Kelly Breen and ridden by Stewart Elliot. West Side Bernie has hit the board 5 out of his 7 starts. He's predicted to be able to stay the distance if he breaks cleanly on the rail and doesn't get boxed in.
From the number 2 gate is Musket Man, trained by Derek Ryan and ridden by Eibar Coa. Out of 6 starts, Musket Man has gone nearly undefeated, with 5 wins and 1 3rd place. Musket Man has an iffy pedigree but should place in the top half.
The number 3 horse is Mr. Hot Stuff, trained by Eoin Harty and ridden by John Velazquez. His track record is disappointing, with only 1 win out of 7 starts, but dam and sire were both impressive runners for the 1 and a quarter mile race. Mr. Hot Stuff is a full brother to Colonel John, who raced in last year's Kentucky Derby.
Breaking from gate number 4 is Advice, one of Todd Pletcher's three entries, ridden by Rene Douglas. Advice has been on the board 4 out of 6 starts. Advice has been looking good in his workouts, but didn't finish well in his first start on dirt.
In the number 5 gate is Hold Me Back, trained by Bill Mott and ridden by Kent Desormeaux. Hold Me Back has gotten 3 wins out of 5 starts and has an impressive pedigree. Desormeaux rode Big Brown to victory last year in the first two Jewels of the Triple Crown, and hopes to win the Derby again despite Hold Me Back's inexperience on dirt tracks.
The number 6 horse is Friesan Fire, trained by Larry Jones and ridden by Gabriel Saez. Friesan Fire has an incredible record of 7-4-1-1. Friesan Fire has never run longer than 1 1/16 miles, but he looks well prepared about the distance.
Breaking from the number 7 gate is Papa Clem, trained by Gary Stute and ridden by Rafael Bejarano. He has only won 2 out of 6 times. Papa Clem is definitely a fast early leader and may have trouble staying the distance.
From the number 8 gate is Mine That Bird, trained by Bennie Woolley Jr. And ridden by Calvin Borel. Mine That Bird has placed 1st four times out of 8 starts. Mine That Bird is said to be the underdog in this race, facing steep competition.
Horse number 9 is Join in the Dance, Todd Pletcher's other entry, ridden by Chris DeCarlo. He's only won 1 race out of 8 starts. Join in the Dance has shown excellent early speed, but he's more built and trained for 1 mile races and might have trouble staying the distance.
In the number 10 gate is Royal Ransom, trained by Saeed bin Suroor and ridden by Alan Garcia. He has a 5-2-2-0 race record, pretty good. Much like Join in the Dance, Royal Ransom is predicted to display early speed, but the distance will be challenging for him.
Breaking from the number 11 gate is Chocolate Candy, trained by Jerry Hollendorfer and ridden by Mike Smith. He has an incredible race record of 9-4-2-1. Chocolate Candy has never raced on dirt before, but he's got a great closing kick that could prove beneficial when the early pace-setters begin to tire.
Horse number 12 is General Quarters, trained by Thomas R. McCarthy and ridden by Julien Leparoux. Out of 11 starts, he has only won 3 times and may struggle with the distance at Churchill.
Horse number 13 is I Want Revenge, trained by Jeff Mullins and ridden by Joe Talamo. I Want Revenge has never finished worse than 3rd out of 8 starts. He is an impressive racer likely to be a major threat for the other horses tomorrow. Joe Talamo has never ridden in the Derby before.
In the number 14 position is Atomic Rain, another horse trained by Kelly Breen, to be ridden by Joe Bravo. His track record leaves little to be desired, with only 1 win out of 7 starts. Atomic Rain is known to start slow, but can definitely stay the distance and work his way up through the field to a win.
Breaking from the number 15 gate is the only gray horse in the field, Dunkirk, trained by todd Pletcher and ridden by Barbaro's jockey, Edgar Prado. Dunkirk has only raced 3 times, and placed 1st, 1st, and 2nd. Dunkirk has done extremely well in his workouts at the Churchill track, and with an experienced jockey he is predicted to have a late closing kick.
In the 16th gate is Pioneer of the Nile, trained by Bob Baffert, ridden by Garrett Gomez. He has won 5 out of 8 starts, an impressive record. Pioneer of the Nile has never raced on dirt before but has a threatening closing kick.
Horse number 17 is Summer Bird, trained by Tim Ice and ridden by Chris Rosier. He has also only raced 3 times and has finished 1st, 3rd, and 4th. Summer Bird will be able to stay the distance but is not predicted to offer anything very impressive.
Nowhere to Hide, trained by Nick Zito and ridden by Shaun Bridgmohan, drew the 18th post position. Nowhere to Hide has a not-so-good track record of 8-1-2-1. He is the long shot of the field.
Number 19 is Desert Party, trained by Saeed bin Suroor and ridden by Ramon Dominguez. He has won 4 out of his 6 total starts. He will look to be held back in the middle of the field before making his move.
On the far outside is the number 20 horse, Flying Private, trained by D. Wayne Lukas and ridden by Robby Albarado. He has a record of 10-1-4-0. He'll really need something special to place well.
Here are my top 5!
Hold Me Back
Pioneer of the Nile