With 20 starters that include four Grade I winners, the purse for the Kentucky Derby will be $2,202,800 with $1,442,800 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 6:32 p.m. post time. First post time Saturday is 10:30 a.m.
The long-range weather forecast for Saturday calls for temperatures in the low 70s and a 10 percent chance of showers.
California Chrome, trained by 77-year-old Art Sherman, solidified his status as the favorite for Derby 140 with a 5 ¼-length victory in the Santa Anita Derby (GI) and a 7 ¼-length romp in the San Felipe (GII). He will be the first Kentucky Derby starter for Sherman.
Victor Espinoza, who has been aboard the California-bred colt in his past four starts, has the mount Saturday. Espinoza won the 2002 Kentucky Derby on War Emblem.
The 6-1 second choice is Karl Watson, Mike Pegram and Paul Weitman’s Hoppertunity, one of two colts trained by Bob Baffert that will be in the starting gate.
Runner-up to California Chrome in the Santa Anita Derby in his most recent start, Hoppertunity won the Rebel (GII) and will be ridden by Mike Smith, exiting post position 11.
Smith is seeking a second Derby victory to go with his triumph aboard Giacomo in 2005.
Baffert, a three-time Derby winner with Silver Charm (1997), Real Quiet (1998) and War Emblem (2002), also is sending out the Tanma Corporation’s Chitu. Winner of the Sunland Derby (GIII), Chitu will break from post position 13 under Martin Garcia.
Third choice on the morning line at 8-1 is Centennial Farms’ Wicked Strong, trained by Jimmy Jerkens.
Winner of the Wood Memorial (GI) in his most recent start, Wicked Strong will be ridden by Rajiv Maragh and break from post position 20.
Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners’ Danza, the 4 ¾-length winner of the Arkansas Derby (GI) in his most recent start, is the fourth choice at 10-1. Joe Bravo will be aboard and break from post position four.
Danza is one of four runners in the gate for trainer Todd Pletcher, who saddled Super Saver to win the 2010 Kentucky Derby.
Pletcher also will send out Starlight Racing’s Intense Holiday, Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s We Miss Artie and WinStar Farms and Twin Creeks Racing Stables’ Vinceremos.
In addition to Espinoza and Smith, four other riders will be trying to build on their Kentucky Derby win totals, including Joel Rosario, who won last year’s renewal on Orb.
Rosario has the call on General a Rod, owned by Starlight Racing and Skychai Racing and one of three horses trained by Mike Maker. General a Rod, 15-1 on the line, will break from post position eight.
Maker also trains Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Vicar’s in Trouble and Skychai Racing, Terry Raymond and Jana Wagner’s Harry’s Holiday.
Rosie Napravnik, who rode Vicar’s in Trouble to victories in the Louisiana Derby (GII) and LeComte (GIII), is seeking to become the first female rider to win the Kentucky Derby. Vicar’s in Trouble will break from post position one.
Calvin Borel, who will ride Daniel Dougherty’s Ride On Curlin, is a three-time Kentucky Derby winner. Borel won on Street Sense (2007), Mine That Bird (2009) and Super Saver (2010). Ride On Curlin will break from post position 19.
Gary Stevens, who will ride C R K Stable’s Candy Boy, also is a three-time winner with triumphs in 1988 on Winning Colors, Thunder Gulch (1995) and Silver Charm (1997). Candy Boy will exit post position 18.
John Velazquez, who won the 2011 Derby on Animal Kingdom, has the mount on Intense Holiday and will break from post position 16.
The field for the 140th Kentucky Derby, from the rail out with morning line odds, is as follows: Vicar’s in Trouble (Napravnik, 30-1), Harry’s Holiday (Corey Lanerie, 50-1), Uncle Sigh (Irad Ortiz Jr., 30-1), Danza (Bravo, 10-1), California Chrome (Espinoza, 5-2), Samraat (Jose Ortiz, 15-1), We Miss Artie (Javier Castellano, 50-1), General a Rod (Rosario, 15-1), Vinceremos (Joe Rocco Jr., 30-1), Wildcat Red (Luis Saez, 15-1), Hoppertunity (Smith, 6-1), Dance With Fate (Corey Nakatani, 20-1), Chitu (Garcia, 20-1), Medal Count (Robby Albarado, 20-1), Tapiture (Ricardo Santana Jr., 15-1), Intense Holiday (Velazquez 12-1), Commanding Curve (Shaun Bridgmohan, 50-1), Candy Boy (Stevens, 20-1), Ride On Curlin (Borel, 15-1) and Wicked Strong (Maragh, 8-1). Also-eligible: Pablo Del Monte (Jeffrey Sanchez, 50-1). All starters will carry 126 pounds.
KENTUCKY DERBY 140 POST POSITION DRAW QUOTES
Vicar’s in Trouble
(Post position 1, morning line 30-1)/Harry’s Holiday (Post position 2,
morning line 50-1)/General a Rod (Post position 8, morning line 15-1) –
Mike Maker (trainer) – On Vicar’s in Trouble --"I
know we didn't have much choice, but I don't have to walk too far to
saddle the horses, and maybe our riders will be friendly and give each
other enough space. Hopefully, we get a good break out of Vicar like we
usually do, and we get a good position pretty
early.” On Harry's Holiday – "Same with Harry." On General a Rod – "I couldn't be happier with that draw.''
Uncle Sigh (Post position 3, morning line 30-1) – Gary Contessa (trainer) – “I’m not unhappy with that. He breaks well. I think he’s faster than the horses inside of him. This gives him an opportunity to
get position, maybe even get to the rail in the second flight. I love that position.”
Danza (Post position 4,
morning line 10-1) We Miss Artie (Post position 7, morning line
50-1)/Vinceremos (Post position 9, morning line 30-1)/Intense Holiday
(Post position 16, morning line 12-1) – Todd Pletcher
(trainer) – On Danza – “Good spot for him. He won the Arkansas Derby out of the No. 1 hole. He’s fine with being on the inside.” On Intense Holiday – “We like it. Orb drew the 16 last year and he got it done. The outside gate is hot and it will allow
Johnny (Velazquez) an opportunity to get clear and pick a spot. On We Miss Artie – “Perfect. Just what I was dreaming of.” On Vinceremos – “That’s a good spot for him. We did well with our draw.”
California Chrome (Post position 5, morning line 5-2) – Art Sherman (trainer) – “I like it fine. Victor (jockey Victor Espinoza) says he likes it. Says he won the Kentucky Derby from the five (on War Emblem
in 2002). I’m happy and I feel no pressure.”
Samraat (Post position 6, morning line 15-1) – Rick Violette (trainer) – “I think it is a terrific spot. I think you just have to try to break clean and go straight and size things up past the wire
for the first time. The speed is inside of us and we have tactical speed. I don’t think there’s a downside to it.”
Wildcat Red (Post position 10, morning line 15-1) – Jose Garoffalo (trainer) –
“We’re very happy with the draw. I think it’s a very good position. The
good thing is that we have two of the tough horses inside
of us. We have General a Rod inside of us and California Chrome inside
of us. That’s a good thing.”
Hoppertunity (Post position 11, morning line 6-1)/Chitu (post position 13, morning line 20-1) – Bob Baffert (trainer) – On Hoppertunity
-- “I’m happy with the way the horses are training and that’s
more important. The only disadvantage is that Hooppertunity is going to
have to wait in the gate for a long time, but I’d rather wait in the
11-hole than wait in the one-hole. I think he’s second choice because
he’s gotten the closest to California Chrome this
year.” On Chitu -- “You don’t know what’s going to happen. The
speed horses, you don’t know who’s going to break, who’s going to go,
what if the pace isn’t fast? What if it’s a War Emblem pace and they
keep going? I think nobody knows We’re all assuming
a lot of stuff but, this Derby, aside from that California Chrome has
proven he’s a really good horse, there’s a lot of horses in there that
are pretty close. There’s a lot of parity in this field so that’s why we
have 20 horses, because everybody might have
a chance. He’s fast. Martin Garcia thinks he can do it so he’s real
confident about the horse.”
Dance With Fate (Post position 12, morning line 20-1) – Peter Eurton (trainer) – “I am thrilled with it. There is a lot of speed to the inside of us rather than outside and that should give us a good chance
to pick a spot.”
Medal Count (Post position 14, morning line 20-1) – Dale Romans (trainer) –
“That’s a good spot. That’s where, last week when we were talking about
it, Robby (Albarado) said he’d like to be the last one in
the main gate and that’s where he is. It doesn’t matter because we’re
going to drop back and make one run. I just want my jock happy and he
was happy with it.”
Tapiture (Post position 15, morning line 15-1) – Steve Asmussen (trainer) –
“I think it’s ideal for us right now. The way that the draw unfolded,
so much speed to the inner 10, it’s every chance we’ve ever
Commanding Curve (Post position 17, morning line 50-1) – Dallas Stewart (trainer) – "It's great for us. All the speed's inside. I didn't think the post position was a major, major factor for us. It's all
good. We'll find out. I didn't want the inside. I didn't want the direct outside.''
Candy Boy (Post position 18, morning line 20-1) – John Sadler (trainer) – “It’s
OK. I’d rather be outside than in. And I don’t put a lot of energy into
things I can’t control. We’ll figure out a strategy
and go from there. I think we’ll be fine.”
Ride On Curlin (Post position 19, morning line 15-1) – Daniel Dougherty (owner) – “The
way they angle these gates, I told Billy (trainer Billy Gowan), from
the last few races, that the winners have been coming
from that last gate. And the way it lined up, all the come-from-behind
horses are in the second gate more than the first gate. So we can kind
of gauge ourselves where we need to be with that group of horses and not
worry so much about the front-runners. I didn't
want to get stuck in 2 or 3 or 4 with these front-runners. That's not
the pack we want to be in.''
Wicked Strong (Post position 20, morning line 8-1) – James Jerkens (trainer) – “It
might be that speed is quick and they get to rolling in a clump and he
can draft in behind them and it’ll work out OK. The
one positive is that he’s not in the gate very long. I’m trying to
convince myself that it’s not a bad post, but I don’t know if I can.”