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Orb, Verrazano Vie for Favoritism
Stuart Janney III and Phipps Stable’s Orb and the undefeated Verrazano, owned by Let’s Go Stable, Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith, headline a stellar field of 20 3-year-olds entered today for Saturday’s 139th running of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (Grade I) at Churchill Downs.
With 20 starters that feature five Grade I winners, the purse for the Kentucky Derby will be $2,199,800 with $1,439,800 going to the winner. The Kentucky Derby will be carried by NBC Sports with a three-hour telecast from 4-7 p.m. (all times Eastern).
The Kentucky Derby will go as the 11th race on Saturday’s 13-race program with a 6:24 p.m. post time. First post time Saturday is 10:30 a.m.
The long-range forecast for Saturday calls with temperatures in the mid-60s and a 40 percent chance of showers.
Trained by Shug McGaughey, Orb comes to Churchill Downs riding a four-race winning streak and is the 7-2 morning-line favorite. His past two scores came in the Fountain of Youth (GII) and the Florida Derby (GI).
Joel Rosario, the runaway leading rider at the just-concluded Keeneland meet, has the mount on Orb as he seeks his first Kentucky Derby victory. Orb will break from post position 16.
The 4-1 second choice is Verrazano, one of five colts trained by Todd Pletcher that will be in the starting gate, won his initial two starts by a combined 24 lengths. He then won the Tampa Bay Derby (GII) and the Wood Memorial (GI) under jockey John Velazquez.
Velazquez is seeking a second Derby victory to go with his triumph aboard Animal Kingdom in 2011. Verrazano will break from post position 14.
Pletcher, who saddled Super Saver to win the 2010 Kentucky Derby, also will send out Repole Stable’s Overanalyze, WinStar Farm’s Revolutionary, Dogwood Stable’s Palace Malice and Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Charming Kitten.
Overanalyze, who will be ridden by Rafael Bejarano and break from post position nine, was a 4 ¼-length winner of the Arkansas Derby (GI) in his most recent start.
Revolutionary will bring the same ownership/trainer/jockey combination to the starting gate from Super Saver’s victory three years ago as Calvin Borel jumps aboard for the first time. Revolutionary won the Louisiana Derby (GII) in his most recent start and will break from post position three.
In addition to Super Saver, Borel also won the Kentucky Derby on Street Sense in 2007 and Mine That Bird in 2009.
Mike Smith, winner of the 2005 Kentucky Derby on Giacomo, will be aboard Palace Malice. Runner-up in the Blue Grass Stakes (GI) in his most recent start, Palace Malice will break from post position 10.
Edgar Prado will ride Charming Kitten, who will be making his first start on dirt, finished a fast-closing third in the Blue Grass in his most recent start. Prado, who won the 2006 Kentucky Derby on Barbaro, will exit post position 15 on Charming Kitten.
Trainer Doug O’Neill will send out Goldencents in hopes of becoming the first conditioner since Bob Baffert in 1997 and 1998 with Silver Charm and Real Quiet to win the Kentucky Derby in consecutive year. O’Neill won last year with I’ll Have Another
A three-time graded-stakes winner including the Santa Anita Derby (GI), Goldencents is owned by the partnership of W.C. Racing, Dave Kenney and RAP Racing, the latter of which is the stable of University of Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino. Goldencents is the third choice on the morning line at 5-1.
Kevin Krigger, who has ridden Goldencents in his six starts, has the call Saturday and will break from post position eight.
In addition to Pletcher and O’Neill, one other trainer will be seeking to add to his multiple victories in the Run for the Roses: D. Wayne Lukas.
Lukas, who has won the Derby four times (Winning Colors in 1988, Thunder Gulch in 1995, Grindstone in 1996 and Charismatic in 1999), will send out Willis Horton’s Will Take Charge and Calumet Farm’s Oxbow.
Winner of the Rebel (GII) in his most recent start, Will Take Charge will break from post position 17 and be ridden by Jon Court.
Three-time Derby winner Gary Stevens has the call on Oxbow, who drew post position two. Stevens teamed with Lukas to win the Derby on Winning Colors and Thunder Gulch and took the 1997 Derby on Silver Charm for Baffert.
The fifth Grade I winner in the field is Charles Fipke’s Java’s War. Trained by Ken McPeek, Java’s War won the Blue Grass at Keeneland on April 13 and will be ridden by Julien Leparoux. Java’s War will break from post position 19.
The field for the 139th Kentucky Derby, from the rail out with morning line odds, is as follows: Black Onyx (Joe Bravo, 50-1), Oxbow (Stevens, 30-1), Revolutionary (Borel, 10-1), Golden Soul (Robby Albarado, 50-1), Normandy Invasion (Javier Castellano, 12-1), Mylute (Rosie Napravnik, 15-1), Giant Finish (Jose Espinoza, 50-1), Goldencents (Krigger, 5-1), Overanalyze (Rafael Bejarano, 15-1), Palace Malice (Smith, 20-1), Lines of Battle (Ryan Moore, 30-1), Itsmyluckyday (Elvis Trujillo, 15-1), Falling Sky (Luis Saez, 50-1), Verrazano (Velazquez, 4-1), Charming Kitten (Prado, 20-1), Orb (Rosario, 7-2), Will Take Charge (Court, 20-1), Frac Daddy (Victor Lebron, 50-1), Java’s War (Leparoux, 15-1) and Vyjack (Garrett Gomez, 15-1). Also-eligible: Fear the Kitten (Alan Garcia, 50-1). All starters will carry 126 pounds.
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