Your complete guide to the 150th running of the Kentucky Derby

The 150th Kentucky Derby is just around the corner. The horses are prepared, the positions are drawn and the bets pour in. Here we’ll take a look at the entries, explain some of the qualifications, and give you our thoughts on the winner.

Before 2013, positions were allowed solely on the basis of money won, and all amounts won in any form of betting race were allowed to be counted. This disrupted the race and the chances because horses entered that did not really suit the distance and the course.

After 2013, Derby qualifications were changed to points. Horses could earn points based on their finishes in a series of specifically designated races. The qualifications leveled the field and allowed for a much “better” race as most of the horses had proven successful over the same distances and conditions they would face on Derby day.

There are 20 horses entered for the Kentucky Derby, which is a lot of horses for a race. In fact, that’s the most horses you’ll see at a major race in the United States. There will undoubtedly be some chaos that comes with it. Having many horses load into the chutes and run side by side will change the field.

According to Steve Kornacki of NBC News, the 2019 through 2023 favorite did not win the Derby. From 2013 to 2018, the favorite won first place every time. The odds show that the favorite wins the race about 35% of the time. In the 116 races since 1908, the favorite has won 40 times.

So who is the favorite this year?

Very appropriately named, Fierceness, owned by Mike Repole and trained by Todd Pletcher, is the favorite. John Velazquez will be aboard City of Light’s three-year-old bay colt out of Nonna Bella, a son of Stay Thirsty.

It’s easy to see why Fierceness gets the nod of favorite. In his final clear he blew away the competition to win by more than 13 lengths. He has three wins in five career starts. Two of these victories came in Class 1 stakes races: Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and the Florida Derby.

With a difficult gate draw position, Fierceness would start in gate 17. Coincidentally, number 17 is the only gate that does not produce a Derby champion. Fate may still be on his side. Encino dropped out of the race on Tuesday, causing Fierceness to move to gate number 16.

There are a few horses to keep an eye on and perhaps your bets too. Just a Touch is a son of 2018 Triple Crown winner Justify. He has improved his speed index in the three races he has to his name. It seems like it’s getting better and better, from 89 to 90 and then to 96.

Forever Young is 5 for 5 in his career so far. Even though he’s from Japan, oddsmakers seem to like him. Him being from Japan is important as they are 0 for 4 as Derby winners since 2019. Considering he’s never been defeated, it will be interesting to see how the colt handles setbacks.

Catching Freedom has three wins in his five career starts. His impressive rally from last place to win the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby makes him one to watch. You can already count on him being bold enough to take the bribe almost as a challenge. The horse currently has odds of 8-1, but that’s probably because he came from Fair Grounds.

Honor Marie is one that could be a spoiler for the favorites. At 20-1, he may be a bit overlooked. The horse has already scored two victories at Churchill Downs and is said to love the longer 1 1/4 mile distance of the Derby. If the predicted rain actually happens and the track is sloppy, he might not be a good bet. His worst finishes came when the tracks were sloppy.

Kentucky Derby field with their odds:

1. Dornoch (20-1)
2. Sierra Leone (3-1)
3. Mystik Dan (20-1)
4. Catching Freedom (8-1)
5. Catalytic (30-1)
6. Plain steel (20-1)
7. Honor Marie (20-1)
8. Just a Touch (10-1)
9. Encino (scratched)
10. TO Password (30-1). Departs from post position 9.
11. Forever Young (10-1). Will start from post position 10.
12. Follow Phantom (20-1). Will start from post position 11.
13. West Saratoga (50-1). Will start from post position 12.
14. Endless (30-1). Will start from post position 13.
15. Domestic product (30-1). Departs from post position 14.
16. Big Mo the First (50-1). Will start from post position 15.
17. Savagery (5-2). Departs from post position 16.
18. Stronghold (20-1). Will start from post position 17.
19. Resilience (20-1). Will start from post position 18.
20. The society man (50-1). Will start from post position 19.
21. Epic Ride (50-1). Will start from post position 20.

Here are the most important details you need to know for the Kentucky Derby:

When: 6:57 PM Saturday
Where: Churchill Downs
TV: NBC and Peacock.
Bag: $5 million (grade 1)
For: 3 year old thoroughbreds