Good Magic has posted wins in two of his past three outings, including a victory at last year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile, which featured five horses scheduled to race on Saturday, while Bolt d'Oro followed up a win in the San Felipe Stakes with a thrilling second-place finish behind Justify at the Santa Anita Derby.

There's a Mott element, a Baffert favorite, a Pletcher mass and then the second favorite Mendelssohn sitting over unseen and mysterious in his barn, quarantine process ongoing, after another of his globe-trotting trips.

The 144th Kentucky Derby starts this year's Triple Crown racing season, and the only time it can truly be topped is when the victor of the Run for the Roses also takes the Preakness, and attention shifts to the Belmont Stakes for a potential Triple Crown victor. Eliminating those two, the field is practically wide open. His earlier wins in California at the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf in November and in Dubai at the UAE Derby by 18 1/2 lengths have wowed people beyond their capacity to suppress it.

Yet, if handicappers believe the Curse of Apollo and the Curse of Storm Cat will endure Saturday, most will likely settle on either Good Magic, the champion 2-year-old champion of 2017 who won the Blue Grass last time out, or Bolt d'Oro, a multiple Grade 1 victor who finished second behind Justify in the Santa Anita Derby.

Trained by Todd Pletcher, who picked up his second career Kentucky Derby win a year ago with Always Dreaming, Audible will be aiming to become the third straight horse to follow up a victory in the Florida Derby with a trip to the winner's circle at Churchill Downs.


The Kentucky Derby is always held on the first Saturday in May. But there's a lot more than just Justify, the 7-2 favorite trained by Baffert which drew the No. 7 post in Tuesday's draw, seeking to become the first horse since Apollo in 1882 to win the most storied horse race in the world after not racing at age 2. He has won every race, but his seasoning is in question.

If a full field of 20 starters, the gross purse of the Derby will be $2,192,000, with $1,432,000 going to the victor.

"There's probably a number of reasons for it, and inexperience could be part of it", Pletcher said of the unraced 2-year-olds' futility. "I'd rather have the best horse than a horse who's run 10 times".

"Derby" Bill Watson offers a quick assessment on every horse in the 2018 Kentucky Derby field for Richmond.com and gives his superfecta pick, led by his forecasted victor Mendelssohn coming from the No. 14 post. Only two, Bodeimeister in 2012 and Air Forbes One in 1982, entered the gate as favorites. "They are a lot more lightly raced (now)". Beyond that, Posts 18-20 have yielded just one victor, and nine in the money finishes between them.

"I don't look at Apollo's curse", Baffert said. "If (Justify) had had a race at 2, it wouldn't have made any difference at all to me". He only can get in if one of the 20 in the main body of the race is withdrawn by scratch time, which is 9 a.m. ET Friday.


Horse racing is still called the sport of kings, but it has been decades since it stood on top of the American sporting pedestal along with boxing and baseball.

Since the advent of the Kentucky Derby points system in 2013, races for 2-year-olds don't count for much toward Derby hopes.

"Back in the old days, horses running seven times didn't seem to be enough", said jockey Mike Smith, who will guide Justify on Saturday.

Even if the horses do not win, it will be a special moment for Houghton Hyatt who was born and raised in Louisville.


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