Mendelssohn an intriguing Kentucky Derby pick

Mendelssohn an intriguing Kentucky Derby pick

Flawless for any Cinco de Mayo plans or Kentucky Derby parties!

The Derby has been run over a sloppy or muddy track 15 times, including a year ago, when Always Dreaming became the fifth straight favorite to win the race. The top two choices in the pool match the top two choices on the morning-line, where Justify is 3-1 and Mendelssohn is 5-1. Tough to win from there at Churchill Downs, and so we'll toss them.

Lone Sailor is named for the late Tom Benson, owner of the New Orleans Saints, whose wife Gayle now runs the racing stable. Parimutuel wagering was more than two decades away. If you're playing the Derby for fun with hopes of potentially making a nice score, don't forget the first part of that: Have fun and bet who you like. But the colt is playable if he drifts up to 10-1, which he might. The minimum bet was $5. But Velazquez's other Derby win in 2011 came aboard 30-to-1 shot Animal Kingdom.

For much of the Derby's history, not running at age 2 would've been unthinkable unless a health problem intervened.

But Mendelssohn is a three-year-old bay colt who may be about to end a 143-year wait for a European-trained victor in the Kentucky Derby, America's most important horse race.

This year's Kentucky Derby may be the most talented field we've seen since Street Sense bested future two-time Horse of the Year and National Racing Hall of Famer Curlin by eight lengths in 2007. And noting that showers are in the forecast for Saturday's race, Thomas likes this horse even more if it rains. This is a bigger field, and if you don't think the tables can be turned, remember, in 2003, Empire Maker beat Funny Cide in the Wood Memorial.

"The Apollo curse is something I don't even think about and it's something that'll be broken, whether it's this year or another year". He can contend, but I don't see him winning. Get ready to drink lots of water and put on the sunscreen.

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Firenze Fire won the Jerome Stakes at Aqueduct in January over a muddy track by a half-length, setting his second-best career Beyer Speed Figure (86) in that race. He's a strong horse, but Justify just might be stronger.

Others aren't so sure.

The following two tabs change content below. Hofburg is a contender based on his runner-up finish. Not only has a filly not won since then, but no horse from the 11 post has won since then either.

"It's good for the farm, it's good business and it's a lot of excitement when you go the the derby", says Jimmy "J.J". Then Barbaro came along. According to Enticed's owners, Godolphin, he was named in the spirit of his dam, It's Tricky, who often had to be "enticed" or persuaded to do the right thing. A couple of years ago, Ike Green had picked out a promising colt by Medaglia D'Oro, and brought him to the ranch for training. If this is true, in the case of the Kentucky Derby, do odds "really" matter?

"We're breaking everything down", Amber Johnson said.

That's good enough for us. "For me it gets harder, I've named so many horses since I got started", he said. This tradition is as old as the race itself, as fans were required to wear morning dress during the first derby.

"There's so many horses in the field that seem like they have good chances to win the race with a clean trip", said Chad Brown, who trains Good Magic. It's not the curse but the competition, Baffert said. You want an underdog? But the big field effects every horse in the race, and winning the Kentucky Derby with relatively few starts under a horse's belt is not that uncommon an occurrence. Ultimately at some point, talent will prevail. "There's only one way to find out". Crawford is a reporter for WDRB.