It's called the "Fastest Two Minutes in Sports" for a reason. Bettors are going to flock together over the course of the next several days to discuss 20 horses, one of which is going to etch his name in history as the 141st winner of the Kentucky Derby.
KENTUCKY DERBY ODDS
American Pharoah +245
Carpe Diem +685
International Star +2255
Firing Line +1500
Far Right +3059
El Kabeir +2750
War Story +4850
Mr. Z +7250
Ocho Ocho Ocho +4550
Danzig Moon +4250
Keen Ice +5650
All of the betting action on this race has been on two horses. Leading into the last few weeks, Dortmund, the undefeated son of Big Brown, was picking up a lot of steam. He had gotten as low as +375 to win this race and was the favorite for a little while, though American Pharoah now is the clear choice of the oddsmakers.
If the Arkansas Derby winner picks up a good post draw on Wednesday afternoon, he will be installed as the favorite, and very potentially a heavy favorite at that. He's down to +245 as of Wednesday morning, and he seeing a 2 to 1 number come up on him wouldn't be all that surprising. Carpe Diem is the only other colt who is better than 10 to 1 right now.
Not shockingly, the three favorites have garnered nearly 40 percent of the bets on this race so far leading into the Kentucky Derby post draw.
FIGHTING OFF PHAROAH
So what's it going to take to beat American Pharoah? That's the real question in the mind of bettors going into the Run for the Roses.
Unlike Dortmund, who has yet to be beaten in his career, American Pharoah has been beaten, albeit in a maiden race.
What's clear to us is that this is a colt who has to go out to the lead if he wants to win. Yes, he started second in the Arkansas Derby and didn't take the lead until the final stretch run, and we know that he has the kick in him to get around traffic with ease, but we also don't know if he can legitimately do this against a big field.
American Pharoah has never faced a field bigger than nine in his career, and it will be up to Victor Espinoza to put his pony into a situation where he can succeed. In a race with so much speed in it, there could be problems for the favorite.
THE OTHER CONTENDERS
Carpe Diem has never been beaten by a horse who is in this field. He was beaten badly in the Breeders' Cup last year by Texas Red, who never made it into the Kentucky Derby qualifiers due to injury. Aside from that, not only has Carpe Diem won every race he has run, but he has done so by at least 2 1/2 lengths each time.
Materiality could end up being more than just a flash in the pan as well. He's an unbeaten three-year old, albeit with just three races under his belt, but his run in the Florida Derby was one to not be forgotten. The problem with Materiality that we see? He has only known John Velazquez as his jockey, and Velazquez has elected to ride on Carpe Diem and not Materiality, a sure sign of his belief regarding which horse is the better of the two.
In the end though, we still think the other unbeaten colt, Dortmund, is the one who will claim the bed of roses. He's 6-for-6 in his career, has beaten three fields of at least 10 colts and has done so with ease. Ponies which have come out of California have had all sorts of success lately, and Big Brown, Dortmund's sire, was probably the best three-year old colt we have seen in over a decade.
Expect to see Dortmund use his speed to also get out to the head of the pack with American Pharoah, and if this turns into a match race, which some expect could be the case down the stretch, it's one which Dortmund legitimately could win.
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