LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The horses for the 145th running of the Kentucky Derby are listed in order of post position, with comments by Joe Drape and Melissa Hoppert of The New York Times. The morning-line odds were set by Mike Battaglia of Churchill Downs.
How to watch: Coverage on Saturday begins on NBC Sports Network at noon, Eastern time, and continues on NBC at 2:30 p.m. The race is set to go off around 6:50 p.m.
Coverage will also be streamed on NBC Sports Live.
Post time: Saturday at 6:50 p.m.
Purse: $3 million guaranteed
Distance: 1¼ miles
Track record: 1:59 2/5 (Secretariat, 1973)
Weight: 126 pounds
(While these picks were published Thursday, they were updated Friday to show Haikal has also been scratched and Mike Smith picked up the mount on Cutting Humor.)
Joe Drape’s win-place-show picks: Tacitus, Roadster, Improbable
Melissa Hoppert’s picks: Improbable, Game Winner, Tacitus
Here’s how we see the field:
War of Will during a workout on Monday.CreditCharlie Riedel/Associated Press
1. War of Will
Trainer: Mark Casse Jockey: Tyler Gaffalione Odds: 15-1
Drape: This colt’s only chance is to gun it from this awful post and take the field gate to wire. Good luck!
Hoppert: A misstep in the Louisiana Derby resulted in a ninth-place finish, and the No. 1 post here will do him no favors.
Trainer: Danny Gargan Jockey: Junior Alvarado Odds: 20-1
Drape: One of the few in here who has never run a bad race. But is his best good enough? Nice odds if you believe so.
Hoppert: The second-place Wood Memorial finisher was claimed by new owners after his second race and has steadily improved. But the Derby is a tough task.
3. By My Standards
Trainer: Bret Calhoun Jockey: Gabriel Saez Odds: 15-1
Drape: This one is going to be bet down because of backstretch buzz. A reminder: He was a 22-1 shot when he won the Louisiana Derby. I’m looking elsewhere.
Hoppert: He has wowed while training at Churchill Downs, earning him the “wiseguy pick” distinction, and is a good choice for exotic bets.
4. Gray Magician
Trainer: Peter Miller Jockey: Drayden Van Dyke Odds: 50-1
Drape: My mother always bet gray horses. This guy will be in my all-gray exacta, trifecta and super boxes along with Tacitus and Roadster.
Hoppert: He flew all the way to Dubai for Derby points, finishing second in the U.A.E. Derby. No thanks.
Trainer: Bob Baffert Jockey: Irad Ortiz Jr. Odds: 5-1
Drape: With Omaha Beach out, this colt may end up the favorite. There is a lot to like here, except the fact that he has not won a race since last year.
Hoppert: He finished second in the Arkansas Derby on a sloppy track. He also has the same connections as the Triple Crown winner Justify, and lately all they do is win, win, win.
Trainer: George Weaver Jockey: Javier Castellano Odds: 15-1
Drape: The Blue Grass winner is lightly raced and has won three of his four starts. He is worth a look.
Hoppert: He has talent, but his awkward running style could compromise him in a crowded field.
7. Maximum Security
Trainer: Jason Servis Jockey: Luis Saez Odds: 8-1
Drape: The Florida Derby champ is the only undefeated horse in the field and will go to the front and try to hold on.
Hoppert: This speedy colt’s victory in Florida did little to shake his wild-card status.
Trainer: Bill Mott Jockey: Jose Ortiz Odds: 8-1
Drape: The Wood Memorial winner is regally bred and has made winning look easy. He is gray. He is your winner.
Hoppert: This striking colt has looked imposing during training, and a win would give his storied trainer his Derby victory at last.
9. Plus Que Parfait
Trainer: Brendan Walsh Jockey: Ricardo Santana Jr. Odds: 30-1
Drape: The name rolls off the tongue and will be a favorite among Francophiles. Not me.
Hoppert: He bested a weak field in the U.A.E. Derby, a race that has never produced a Derby winner.
10. Cutting Humor
Trainer: Todd Pletcher Jockey: Mike Smith Odds: 30-1
Drape: His Sunland Park Derby victory was a big move forward. He will be there late. He’s definitely worth betting across the board.
Hoppert: The late addition of the Hall of Famer Smith won’t make enough of a difference.
11. Haikal (Scratched on Friday)
Horses in Posts 13 to 20 will move over two positions in the starting gate; program numbers do not change.
12. Omaha Beach (Scratched on Wednesday)
13. Code of Honor
Trainer: Shug McGaughey Jockey: John Velazquez Odds: 12-1
Drape: He closed to win the Fountain of Youth but followed that with a so-so third-place finish in the Florida Derby. His trainer won the 2013 Derby with Orb.
Hoppert: Would love to see the longtime trainer McGaughey return to the Derby winner’s circle, but I’m not sold that this is the horse to deliver him there.
14. Win Win Win
Trainer: Mike Trombetta Jockey: Julian Pimentel Odds: 12-1
Drape: Great name and solid closer. But it is hard to make a case for the second-place Blue Grass finisher to pass all of these.
Hoppert: Love the hockey connection in that his sire is Hat Trick and his name borrows from the Nashville Predators’ anthem. But that’s not enough to bet him.
15. Master Fencer
Trainer: Koichi Tsunoda Jockey: Julien Leparoux Odds: 50-1
Drape: This Japanese invader has won twice and finished second in his last two stakes attempts. Your guess is as good as mine.
Hoppert: Hopefully he’s better behaved than the last Derby horse from Japan, Lani. If this horse finishes higher than 20th it’s a victory.
16. Game Winner
Trainer: Bob Baffert Jockey: Joel Rosario Odds: 9-2
Drape: The 2-year-old champion will vie for favoritism after two narrow losses in the Santa Anita Derby and the Rebel. He just might be sitting on a big one.
Hoppert: Some think Baffert likes this horse best. Others say Roadster. But who cares? Play them all.
Trainer: Bob Baffert Jockey: Florent Geroux Odds: 5-1
Drape: This one beat Game Winner in the Santa Anita Derby and is getting better. He is gray. If Tacitus doesn’t win, this colt will.
Hoppert: I went back and forth between him, Game Winner and Improbable, and either way Drape will give me grief for picking “chalk.” But take this to the bank: A Baffert horse will win.
18. Long Range Toddy
Trainer: Steve Asmussen Jockey: Jon Court Odds: 30-1
Drape: He beat Game Winner in the Rebel before finishing a well-beaten sixth in the Arkansas Derby on a sloppy track. With rain in the forecast, look elsewhere.
Hoppert: He has talent, but he clearly doesn’t like the slop. Pass.
Trainer: Todd Pletcher Jockey: Manny Franco Odds: 30-1
Drape: The Louisiana Derby runner-up might have been better off waiting for the Ohio Derby.
Hoppert: This late-developing colt needs to take a big step up, and he has the trainer to do so, but it’s likely too much to ask.
20. Country House
Trainer: Bill Mott Jockey: Flavien Prat Odds: 30-1
Drape: This will be his third start in six weeks for a Hall of Fame trainer who doesn’t show up to this race unless he thinks he has a chance. Lousy outside post, though.
Hoppert: The third-place Arkansas Derby finisher seems to like the slop. But Drape’s right: His spot in the starting gate will do him no favors.
Trainer: Gustavo Delgado Jockey: Chris Landeros Odds: 30-1
Drape: This colt drew into the field with the scratch of Omaha Beach. He has yet to win in five starts, and it is highly unlikely that streak will be broken here.
Hoppert: The second-place Florida Derby finisher is in way over his head here.