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Kentucky Derby - Pros and Cons

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Editor’s Note: Anthony Stabile will be offering winning selections on the Kentucky Derby with analysis, plus inside tips for the entire Triple Crown.

Kentucky Derby Preview: Part I - Part II - Part III

Kentucky Derby Future Odds - Kentucky Derby Analysis

134th Running of the Roses
Post - Horse Trainer - Jockey Pros Cons
1 - Cool Coal Man
Nick Zito (2-19)
Julien Leparoux (0-1)
  • Has won around Churchill going two turns.
  • Should work out one of the better trips, somewhere in behind the first group of speed horses and in front of the off the pace runners.
  • Zito has won two of these while Leparoux has some of the best hands in the game.
  • Had three preps this season, winning the two run over dirt.
  • Broke maiden over a wet track, so a little rain wouldn't bother him.
  • Has done some of his best work from his rail draw.
  • Had dream trip when winning Fountain of Youth two back. If he doesn't get the trip, then what?
  • Is 1 1/8 miles his limit?
  • 2 - Tale of Ekati
    Barclay Tagg (1-3)
    Eibar Coa (0-1)
  • Showed determination when running down gritty War Pass in Wood Memorial.
  • Is making his third start off the layoff.
  • Bred to handle the distance.
  • Should work out a good trip from inside post.
  • Tagg won this in 2003 with Funny Cide.
  • Came home last 3/8 of a mile in a pokey :40 4/5 in Wood Memorial.
  • Was on best part of track that day.
  • Is only one for three around two turns.
  • Prado chose Adriano over him.
  • 3 - Anak Nakal
    Nick Zito (2-19)
    Rafael Bejarano (0-3)
  • Won G2 Kentucky Jockey Club over this course, around two turns last year. Is training very well since returning to Churchill.
  • Sire Victory Gallop won 1998 Belmont Stakes so distance shouldn't be a problem.
  • Closed well on a speed biased course in Wood Memorial last out when racing with blinkers for first time.
  • Zito has won two derbies and is only one of three trainers to have won the Derby with a runner this year.
  • Has had three preps this season.
  • Hasn't finished better than fifth in three starts this year.
  • Exits races that have been deemed on the slow side.
  • Deep closers like him tend to encounter trouble in these 20 horse fields.
  • Not a huge fan of Bejarano.
  • 4 - Court Vision
    Bill Mott (0-4)
    Garrett Gomez (0-4)
  • Won Iroquois over this course last year.
  • Won Remsen around two turns as a two-year-old.
  • Will be making his third start off a layoff, one of my favorite handicapping angles.
  • Another who figures to benefit from fast fractions early on.
  • Adds blinkers after dropping further off the pace than usual in his first two starts this year; worked bullet :46 1/5 and solid five eights in 1:00 4/5 at Churchill with them on since shipping in.
  • Gomez chose him over Colonel John last out, realizing he'd probably be back aboard in here; Gomez said that he was never in the bridle and was slipping over a drying out track in Wood Memorial yet he was beaten less than two lengths.
  • Dam is a half sister to Summer Squall and A.P. Indy so the distance shouldn't be a problem and his running style leads you to believe the
  • Exits what many feel was a slow, unimpressive prep in the Wood Memorial.
  • May get caught in serious traffic should he be at back of pack like he was in prior two starts this year.
  • Is two preps enough for him?
  • Though they're two of the best at what they do, Mott and Gomez haven't had any Derby success thus far.
  • 5 - Eight Belles
    Larry Jones (0-1)
    Gabriel Saez (Debut)
  • Has won all four starts this year, including G2 fantasy last out.
  • Is tremendous in stature and looks more like a colt than a filly.
  • Sire Unbridled's Song was one of the best I've ever seen; distance shouldn't be a problem.
  • Should be sitting a good trip in mid-pack
  • She hasn't really beaten much
  • Jockey is inexperienced in these pressure situations
  • Largest field she was ever in had eight fillies; now she's taking on nineteen colts.
  • This is her G1 debut.
  • 6 - Z Fortune
    Steve Asmussen (0-7)
    Robby Albarado (0-9)
  • Ran race of his life and was probably best in Arkansas Derby when finishing second last out.
  • Made up ground on a speed biased racetrack after racing wide on both turns.
  • Drew well and should work out a good trip.
  • Is a serious bounce candidate off his last effort.
  • Not really bred to go this far.
  • Hasn't trained all that well over the course.
  • 7 - Big Truck
    Barclay Tagg (1-3)
    Javier Castellano (0-2)
  • Closed determinedly to win Tampa Bay Derby two back after putting in similar effort in Sam F Davis in previous start.
  • Sports solid 5 furlong move in :59 2/5 over the course.
  • Hasn't had an extended layoff since debuting last August.
  • Tagg won the 2003 Derby with Funny Cide.
  • Didn't face much in either start at Tampa Bay Downs.
  • Another whose races are a bit on the slow side.
  • New York bred whose sire was primarily a sprinter may have trouble with the added distance.
  • Coa chose other Tagg trainee over him.
  • Hasn't had an extended layoff since debuting last August.
  • 8 - Visionaire
    Michael Matz (1-1)
    Jose Lezcano (0-1)
  • Not a single thing to like about this horse
  • Hasn't beaten much and hasn't made much of an impact against the big boys.
  • Best race came over a sloppy track against nothing in the Gotham.
  • Isn't bred to go this far.
  • 9 - Pyro
    Steve Asmussen (0-7) Shaun Bridgmohan (0-2)
  • Has hit the board in all six starts on dirt.
  • Looked sensational winning the Risen Star with a last to first run in the stretch in what could have been the most impressive prep of the season.
  • Win in Louisiana Derby showed his professionalism.
  • One of the better bred horses to handle the distance.
  • Never lifted his leg in Blue Grass; trainer blames Polytrack.
  • Hasn't trained all that well in the weeks since that flop.
  • Rumors abounding that he's not 100% for this.
  • Not the biggest Bridgmohan fan.
  • Where is he going to be?
  • 10 - Colonel John
    Eoin Harty (Debut)
    Corey Nakatani (0-13)
  • Has never been worse than second in six career starts, including win in Santa Anita Derby last out.
  • One of the best bred horses to handle the Derby distance.
  • Running style fits winners' profile and he should benefit immensely from sharp early pace.
  • Worked brilliant five furlongs in :57 3/5 over the course on 4/27
  • Has raced and trained exclusively on synthetic surfaces prior to his arrival at Churchill late last week; took him a few days to get used to the surface.
  • Gomez chose Court Vision over him last out; Nakatani hasn't had much luck.
  • Trainer is making his Derby debut.
  • 11 - Z Humor
    Bill Mott (0-4)
    Rene Douglas (0-1)
  • Showed signs of life when third in Illinois Derby last out after also-ran efforts in prior two starts this year.
  • Sheds blinkers; he broke his maiden and was third in pair of stakes, including Champagne behind War Pass and Pyro; in three starts without them.
  • Sire Distorted Humor sired Funny Cide; dam is by A.P. Indy so he's bred to handle the distance.
  • Seems to be rounding into form and has worked well since arriving at Churchill.
  • " Beat little in his lone win around two turns in five tries.
  • Seems to be one paced; will need the speed to back up and the closers to flatten out to have a serious chance to win this.
  • Not a big Douglas fan.
  • Not sure what kind of trip he'll work out.
  • 12 - Smooth Air
    Bennie Stutts (Debut)
    Manoel Cruz (Debut)
  • Not a single thing to like about this horse.
  • Best races have come in sprints over wet tracks.
  • Isn't bred to go this far.
  • Someone had to be second in the Florida Derby; there was nothing behind him.
  • Connections have never competed at a level close to this.
  • Was questionable earlier this week due to a fever.
  • 13 - Bob Black Jack
    James Kasparoff (Debut)
    Richie Migliore (0-5)
  • Not a single thing to like about this horse
  • Will be part of the early pace.
  • Has never won going past seven furlongs.
  • Has never raced on dirt.
  • Has finished behind the other, better Californians.
  • Trainer is making Derby debut; jock is 0 for 5.
  • 14 - Monba
    Todd Pletcher (0-19)
    Ramon Dominguez (0-4)
  • Owns win over the course.
  • Does best work over synthetic surfaces.
  • Sat dream trip in Blue Grass win last out.
  • Not sure whether he wants to go this far.
  • 15 - Adriano
    Graham Motion (0-1)
    Edgar Prado (1-8)
  • Has closed well in all three career wins.
  • Sire A.P. Indy won 1992 Belmont and B.C. Classic, grandsire is Mr. Prospector so he should love the added distance.
  • Prado chose him over both Blue Grass winner Monba and Wood Memorial winner Tale of Ekati. Prado won this in 2006 aboard Barbaro.
  • Has had three preps this season and has raced at distances of 1 1/6 miles or better throughout his career so fitness and foundation shouldn't be a problem
  • Was well beaten in Fountain of Youth, his lone start on dirt.
  • Got worked up in paddock that day; what's going to happen in front of the huge Derby Day crowd?
  • While solid, Motion has started just one horse in the Derby; more of a turf trainer.
  • 16 - Denis of Cork
    David Carroll (Debut)
    Calvin Borel (1-5)
  • Overcame speed biased course to win Southwest at Oaklawn from far back in impressive fashion two back.
  • Broke his maiden in debut over the Churchill strip.
  • Reunited with Borel, who won 2007 Derby aboard Street Sense.
  • Sports a pair of sharp drills over the course for this.
  • Can't explain what happened when fifth as even money chalk in Illinois Derby last out.
  • Is a deep closer and may encounter trouble in large, twenty horse field.
  • There's a good chance he has distance limitations.
  • 17 - Cowboy Cal
    Todd Pletcher (0-19)
    John Velazquez (0-9)
  • Bred to handle distance and like the dirt.
  • Has one of the toughest trainer/jockey combos in his corner.
  • Will be part of hotly contested pace.
  • Has done best running on turf and Polytrack.
  • Off the board in lone dirt start.
  • 18 - Recapturetheglory
    Louie Roussel (0-2)
    Eddie Baird (Debut)
  • Has won two of three on dirt and was second behind Cool Coal Man in allowance race over this course.
  • Won only dirt start since Roussel took over his training in Illinois Derby last out.
  • Could work out a good stalking trip in here.
  • No one else ran a step in Illinois Derby.
  • Trainer has stated that he may just send this colt to the front; he'll get cooked.
  • Both dirt wins have come at Hawthorne; is he a horse for the course?
  • Not bred to handle the distance.
  • 19 - Gayego
    Paulo Lobo (Debut)
    Mike Smith (1-14)
  • Successfully made the transition from synthetic surfaces to dirt when winning Arkansas Derby in his last start.
  • Should be able to work out a stalking trip just off the main group of speed horses like he did last out.
  • Mike Smith won this aboard 50-1 Giacomo in 2005; this colt looks much better; trainer is one of the sharper guys on the West Coast.
  • "Bounce" candidate after running race of his life last out.
  • Didn't beat much at Oaklawn.
  • Was aided by meet long speed bias at Oaklawn.
  • Pedigree suggests he wants no part of the 1 ¼ miles.
  • His post is going to hurt his chances greatly.
  • 20 - Big Brown
    Rick Dutrow Jr. (Debut)
    Kent Desormeaux (2-14)
  • Undefeated in three starts.
  • Has shown ability to lead from start as well as rate just off the early pace.
  • Was the most visually impressive prep winner this season in his Florida Derby romp.
  • Desormeaux won this in 1998 with Real Quiet and in 2000 with Fusaichi Pegasus.
  • Is making just the fourth start of his career; Curlin tried and failed last year.
  • Will have plenty of company on the front end should he try to wire the field.
  • Sire was primarily a sprinter and miler.
  • Really hasn't beaten much.
  • He'll be the clear cut favorite.
  • Has suffered from quarter cracks throughout his career; Churchill figures to be rock-hard on Saturday, like it is every Derby Day.
  • His connections pompously chose the 20 post.

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