(Full field post positions and morning-line odds are located at the bottom).
Robert LaPenta’s Dialed In, the winner of three of four career starts including the $1 million Florida Derby (GI) in his most recent start, was made the 4-1 morning line favorite Wednesday night for Saturday’s 137th running of the $2,196,800 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (Grade I) at historic Churchill Downs.
If all 20 horses entered in the 1 ¼-mile classic start, the race will be worth $2,196,800 with the winner receiving $1,436,800. Post time for the Kentucky Derby, which will be the 11th race on the 13-race program is scheduled for 6:24 p.m. (all times Eastern). First post time is 10:30 a.m.
NBC Sports will provide television coverage of the race from 4-7 p.m. with radio coverage provided by Horse Racing Radio Network from 5-7 p.m. Derby Day racing coverage from Churchill Downs will also be available on NBC’s VERSUS network from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. along with a post-Derby show from 7-7:30.
Trained by two-time Kentucky Derby winner Nick Zito, Dialed In drew post position eight and will be ridden by Julien Leparoux, the French-born riding star who is frequently the leading jockey at Churchill Downs but has yet to enjoy success in the track’s biggest race. Dialed In won his career debut at Churchill Downs in November and started 2011 with a victory in the Holy Bull (GIII) at Gulfstream Park.
Zito’s previous Derby wins came in 1991 with Strike the Gold and 1994 with Go for Gin. The latter also broke from post position eight.
Second on linemaker Mike Battaglia’s morning line at 9-2 is Repole Stable’s Uncle Mo, the 2010 Eclipse Award winner as champion 2-year-old and winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (GI) at Churchill Downs last fall.
Uncle Mo, who was undefeated in his first four starts before a third-place finish in the Wood Memorial (GI) on April 9, will be trying to give trainer Todd Pletcher, honored five times with an Eclipse Award that recognized him as America’s leading trainer, a second consecutive Kentucky Derby victory. WinStar Farm’s Super Saver provided Pletcher with his first triumph in the Run for the Roses in 2010.
A victory by Uncle Mo, or his Repole-owned stablemate Stay Thirsty, would make Pletcher the seventh trainer to win back-to-back Derbies. The most was Bob Baffert, who won with Silver Charm and Real Quiet in 1997 and ’98, respectively.
John Velazquez, who is searching for his first success in the Derby, has the mount on Uncle Mo, who will break from post position 18. Ramon Dominguez will ride Stay Thirsty, 20-1 on the morning line, who will break from post position four.
Baffert, who also won the 2002 Derby with War Emblem, will send out Midnight Interlude, winner of the Santa Anita Derby (GI) in his most recent start. Owned by Arnold Zetcher, Midnight Interlude will be ridden by Victor Espinoza, who was aboard for War Emblem’s Derby victory.
Listed at 10-1 and co-fourth choice on the morning line with Archarcharch, Midnight Interlude will break from post position 15.
Third choice on the line at 6-1 is Zayat Stables’ Nehro, fast-closing runner-up in the Arkansas Derby (GI) and Louisiana Derby (GII) in his past two starts. Trained by Steve Asmussen and ridden by Corey Nakatani, Nehro will break from post position 19.
Three other Grade I winners are in the field: Robert and Val Yagos’ Archarcharch, the Live Oak Plantation’s Brilliant Speed and Comma to the Top, owned by Gary Barber, Roger Birnbaum and Kevin Tsujihara.
Trained by veteran William “Jinks” Fires and ridden his son-in-law Jon Court, Archarcharch rallied to win the Arkansas Derby in his most recent start. A winner of three of six career starts, Archarcharch also won the Southwest (GIII) at Oaklawn Park and the Sugar Bowl at Fair Grounds. Archarcharch, 10-1 on the morning line, will break from post position one.
Brilliant Speed, trained by Tom Albertrani and ridden by Joel Rosario, enters the Derby off a nose victory in the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland over a synthetic Polytrack surface. Saturday’s race will mark Brilliant Speed’s first start on dirt since a seventh-place finish in a maiden race at Saratoga. Brilliant Speed, 30-1 on the morning line, will break from post position two.
Winner of the CashCall Futurity to close out 2010, Comma to the Top enters Derby 137 off a narrow loss to Midnight Interlude in the Santa Anita Derby. Trained by Peter Miller, Comma to the Top will be ridden by Patrick Valenzuela who partnered Sunday Silence to victory in the 1989 Derby. A 30-1 chance on the morning line, Comma to the Top will break from post position six.
Calvin Borel, who has won three of the past four Kentucky Derbys, has the mount on Twice the Appeal as he seeks to become the first jockey in the storied history of the race to win three consecutive times. Borel, who won on Street Sense in 2007 and Mine That Bird in 2009 addition to Super Saver last year, is one of only four riders to win back-to-back Derbies. No jockey has won three in a row.
Owned by Edward Brown, Victor Flores and Henry Hernandez, Twice the Appeal is trained by Jeff Bonde. Twice the Appeal punched his ticket to Churchill Downs with a victory in the Sunland Derby (GIII) on March 27. Twice the Appeal, 20-1 on the morning line, will break from post position three.
Also trying to make some Kentucky Derby history are three women seeking to become the first of their gender to win the Run for the Roses: jockey Rosie Napravnik, and trainers Kathy Ritvo and Kathleen O’Connell.
Napravnik will become the sixth woman jockey to ride in the race when she goes postward on George and Lori Hall’s Pants On Fire. Napravnik rode Pants On Fire to victory in the Louisiana Derby (GII) in March at the Fair Grounds, where she was the leading rider with 110 victories in the 83-day meet. Rosemary Homeister Jr. was the most recent woman to ride in the Derby in 2003 when she finished 13th on Supah Blitz, and Diane Crump, 15th aboard Fathom in 1970, was the first.
Ritvo trains Reeves Thoroughbred Racing and Dream Team Racing Stable’s Mucho Macho Man, winner of the Risen Star (GII) and third in the Louisiana Derby in his most recent start. Rajiv Maragh has the mount on Mucho Macho Man, a 12-1 shot on the morning line who will break from post position 13.
O’Connell trains Tampa Bay Derby (GII) winner Watch Me Go, owned by Gilbert Campbell. Rafael Bejarano has the riding assignment on Watch Me Go, who will break from post position 20. Watch Me Go is 50-1 on the morning line.
Ritvo and O’Connell represent the 15th and 16th women to saddle a Kentucky Derby starter. Shelly Riley came closest to winning the Derby when her Casual Lies finished second in 1992 and the Kristen Mulhall-trained Imperialism finished third in 2004.
Adding an international flavor to this year’s running is the presence of Mrs. John Magnier’s Master of Hounds. Based in Ireland and trained by Aidan O’Brien, Master of Hounds is making his second trip to Churchill Downs after having finished sixth in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (GII).
Garrett Gomez has the mount on Master of Hounds, who ran second in the UAE Derby (Group II) in Dubai in his lone 2011 start. Master of Hounds, 30-1 on the morning line, will break from post 11.
The field for the 137th Kentucky Derby in post position order is as follows: Archarcharch (Jon Court), Brilliant Speed (Joel Rosario), Twice the Appeal (Calvin Borel), Stay Thirsty (Ramon Dominguez), Decisive Moment (Kerwin Clark), Comma to the Top (Patrick Valenzuela), Pants On Fire (Rosie Napravnik), Dialed In (Julien Leparoux), Derby Kitten (Javier Castellano), Twinspired (Mike Smith), Master of Hounds (Garrett Gomez), Santiva (Shaun Bridgmohan), Mucho Macho Man (Rajiv Maragh), Shackleford (Jesus Castanon), Midnight Interlude (Victor Espinoza), Animal Kingdom (Robby Albarado), Soldat (Alan Garcia), Uncle Mo (John Velazquez), Nehro (Corey Nakatani) and Watch Me Go (Rafael Bejarano). All starters carry 126 pounds.
On Robby Albarado (who was injured Wednesday when kicked in the face by a horse): “I think he’s going to be OK. I’m not 100 percent sure that he’s going to be able to ride tomorrow, he’s got a broken nose and lacerations around his eye. But I talked with (Albarado’s agent) Lenny (Pike) and he’s pretty confident that he will be OK for Saturday.”
Were you sweating out the one hole?
Owner Ahmed Zayat: “Well, let’s put it this way, I’m told that from the 19 hole there has never been a winner so far. So I guess this would have to be a first. A first for Asmussen, a first for Corey Nakatani, a first for 19, and a first for Zayat.”
Co-owner George Hall: “I’m thrilled because two years ago we had the one hole for Westside Bernie and we learned the hard way that’s a very tough trip. So as long as we were outside a couple of positions we were OK and I think it sets up pretty well for us so we’re pleased.”
137TH KENTUCKY DEBY
|1||Archarcharch||Jon Court||Jinks Fires||10-1|
|2||Brilliant Speed||Joel Rosario||Tom Albertrani||30-1|
|3||Twice the Appeal||Calvin Borel||Jeff Bonde||20-1|
|4||Stay Thirsty||Ramon Dominguez||Todd Pletcher||20-1|
|5||Decisive Moment||Kerwin Clark||Juan Arias||30-1|
|6||Comma to the Top||Patrick Valenzuela||Peter Miller||30-1|
|7||Pants on Fire||Rosie Napravnik||Kelly Breen||20-1|
|8||Dialed In||Julien Leparoux||Nick Zito||4-1|
|9||Derby Kitten||Javier Castellano||Mike Maker||30-1|
|10||Twinspired||Mike Smith||Mike Maker||30-1|
|11||Master of Hounds||Garrett Gomez||Aidan O'Brien||30-1|
|12||Santiva||Shaun Bridgmohan||Eddie Kenneally||30-1|
|13||Mucho Macho Man||Rajiv Maragh||Kathy Ritvo||12-1|
|14||Shackleford||Jesus Castanon||Dale Romans||12-1|
|15||Midnight Interlude||Victor Espinoza||Bob Baffert||10-1|
|16||Animal Kingdom||Robby Albarado||Graham Motion||30-1|
|17||Soldat||Alan Garcia||Kiaran McLaughlin||12-1|
|18||Uncle Mo||John Velazquez||Todd Pletcher||9-2|
|19||Nehro||Corey Nakatani||Steve Asmussen||6-1|
|20||Watch Me Go||Rafael Bejarano||Kathleen O'Connell||50-1|