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Ed McNamara's Kentucky Derby horse-by-horse analysis


Post position 1

Trainer: Jim Cassidy

Jockey: Elvis Trujillo

Record: 5-3-0-1

Last 3: 3-8-1

Odds: 50-1

Comment: Seems like a solid miler who will return to his best distance after finishing up the track in Louisville. Backpedaled to third in Blue Grass after setting moderate pace. Won't be a factor.


Post position 2

Trainer: Todd Pletcher

Jockey: John Velazquez

Record: 5-4-1-0

Last 3: 1-1-2

Odds: 8-1

Comment: Best of Pletcher's five runners took Tampa Bay Derby and Blue Grass by combined eight lengths. Great blend of tactical speed, closing kick and distance breeding (by Giant's Causeway). Got unlucky with post 2, forcing Johnny V. to push hard from the gate to avoid being trapped inside.


Post position 3

Trainer: Todd Pletcher

Jockey: Javier Castellano

Record: 3-3-0-0

Last 3: 1-1-1

Odds: 12-1

Comment: Speedy, unbeaten, with lots of upside, but he didn't race last year. No Derby winner since 1882 lacked 2-year-old experience. His upfront running style mirrors many of the others, so race shape should work against him, as will post 2. Very talented, but not good enough to overcome these circumstances.


Post position 4

Trainer: George Weaver

Jockey: Manuel Franco

Record: 5-1-1-1

Last 3: 2-5-4

Odds: 30-1

Comment: Career-best second in Wood came out of nowhere after he showed little in Gotham and Withers. Still eligible for non-winners-of-1 against New York-breds, where his next win is likely to occur.


Post position 5

Trainer: Mark Casse

Jockey: Julien Leparoux

Record: 5-1-2-0

Last 3: 2-4-1

Odds: 30-1

Comment: Perked up with second to Carpe Diem in Blue Grass, and worked 5 furlongs in 58 seconds at Churchill. Only win at a mile vs. maidens, but may be blooming at right time. Worth considering if you play a lot of exotics.


Post position 6

Trainer: Mike de Kock

Jockey: Christophe Soumillon

Record: 7-4-1-0

Last 3: 1-1-2

Odds: 20-1

Comment: Dubai invader won twice on dirt at 13/16 miles, but will journey from Middle East be too far? Crushed U.A.E. Derby with perfect trip, but this is a quantum leap in class. De Kock owns big-race trophies from all over the world, but demand 20-1 or more.


Post position 7

Trainer: John Terranova II

Jockey: Calvin Borel

Record: 9-4-2-2

Last 3: 3-1-2

Odds: 30-1

Comment: Plenty of foundation with nine career starts for Terranova, who grew up and lives in Syosset. El Kabeir has won on the lead, stalking, from far back and on wet tracks. Adaptability and gameness are there, but strikes me as another who appears vulnerable at 10 furlongs. If you like him, the price definitely will be right.


Post position 8

Trainer: Bob Baffert

Jockey: Martin Garcia

Record: 6-6-0-0

Last 3: 1-1-1

Odds: 3-1

Comment: Rarely is an undefeated horse relegated to second billing in the Derby, let alone by a stablemate. Baffert may have best 1-2 punch since all-time Derby leader Ben Jones ran first and second in 1948 with Citation and Coaltown. Son of 2008 Derby winner Big Brown relishes a fight, twice prevailing by a head over Firing Line, who's a long shot. A major threat.


Post position 9

Trainer: Carla Gaines

Jockey: Rafael Bejarano

Record: 5-2-0-2

Last 3: 3-3-1

Odds: 30-1

Comment: Versatile, gifted colt was third behind Dortmund. Can understand why connections are taking a shot, although his future appears to be on grass. Won't be playing him.


Post position 10

Trainer: Simon Callaghan

Jockey: Gary Stevens

Record: 5-2-3-0

Last 3: 1-2-2

Odds: 12-1

Comment: Lost twice by a head to Dortmund, so you have to give him a long look. Crushed stakes in New Mexico by 14 lengths in last start. Close to pace in all three routes, which may work against him with so much speed in here.


Post position 11

Trainer: Mike Maker

Jockey: Miguel Mena

Record: 9-5-2-0

Last 3: 1-1-1

Odds: 20-1

Comment: Deep closer swept Fair Grounds' three Derby preps, and if pace is very fast, he could show up late. Class problem: His Louisiana rivals aren't in the same league as the heavyweights in Louisville. Can't see him winning, but an exotics candidate with a perfect trip.


Post position 12

Trainer: Todd Pletcher

Jockey: Luis Saez

Record: 4-3-0-0

Last 3: 4-2-1

Odds: 30-1

Comment: Weakest link in three-horse Todd Squad was handed Fountain of Youth on controversial DQ after losing to Upstart by 2¾ lengths. Didn't finish first in either two-turn try; in over his head.


Post position 13

Trainer: Dale Romans

Jockey: Kent Desormeaux

Record: 7-1-0-2

Last 3: 4-3-5

Odds: 50-1

Comment: Great distance pedigree (Curlin and an Awesome Again mare), but didn't inherit speed or much talent. He's 0-for-5 in stakes, beaten a combined 41 lengths. Even Romans admits this colt's ceiling would be to pass tired horses to slip into the superfecta.


Post position 14

Trainer: Kiaran


Jockey:Joel Rosario

Record: 7-2-4-0

Last 3: 1-4-2

Odds: 15-1

Comment: Erratic but gifted colt made breakthrough in Wood Memorial, closing powerfully into a moderate pace to draw off by two lengths. Has field's best bloodlines for 1¼ miles (No. 1 sire Tapit out of a Deputy Minister mare), and McLaughlin barn is hot. Runs the turns very well and can handle outside trips. Double-digit odds very enticing on improving horse with solid chance.


Post position 15

Trainer: Tom Amoss

Jockey: Joe Talamo

Record: 5-2-2-1

Last 3: 3-2-2

Odds: 50-1

Comment: Went 0-for-3 at Fair Grounds behind International Star, and can't see him improving enough to contend. Four bad breaks from gate in five races a big negative, so throw him out.


Post position 16

Trainer: D. Wayne Lukas

Jockey: Ramon Vazquez

Record: 12-1-4-4

Last 3: 3-9-3

Odds: 50-1

Comment: Field's most experienced runner, hardly a recommendation considering his 11 straight losses. Another speed type, with virtually no chance to be around after a mile. Belongs in shorter race vs. weaker.


Post position 17

Trainer: Bob Baffert

Jockey: Victor Espinoza

Record: 5-4-0-0

Last 3: 1-1-1

Odds: 5-2

Comment: Buzz horse of Derby 141 won his last four, all graded stakes, unchallenged, by a total of 22¼ lengths. Sunday's 5-furlong work in 58 2/5 seconds guaranteed he'll be the betting favorite. Effortless glider proved he didn't need the lead by stalking while ruling Arkansas Derby by eight lengths. The horse to beat, with only question how he'll handle possible traffic trouble in huge field.


Post position 18

Trainer: Rick Violette

Jockey: Jose Ortiz

Record: 7-3-3-1

Last 3: 2-2-1

Odds: 15-1

Comment: Never has run a bad one. In exacta in all three Gulfstream preps, and Fountain of Youth DQ was very questionable. Post 19 is a very bad spot for this stalker, who likely will get hung wide into the turn. Figs are solid, but gives impression that 111/8 miles might be his limit.


Post position 19

Trainer: Ron Moquett

Jockey: Mike Smith

Record: 9-3-3-2

Last 3: 2-1-1

Odds: 30-1

Comment: Speed numbers are unimpressive, and best race was Southwest win in slop. Distant second to American Pharoah, but somebody had to complete the exacta. Can't see him making an impact, especially from post 19. Couldn't beat Ocho Ocho Ocho and Mr. Z, and neither is a serious contender. No chance.


Post position 20

Trainer: Nick Zito

Jockey: Corey Nakatani

Record: 7-1-1-1

Last 3: 4-3-6

Odds: 50-1

Comment: Another no-hoper with no speed and on a five-race losing streak. He's 0-for-3 in stakes, beaten almost 30 lengths. Needs a preliminary allowance. Makes the field because Stanford was scratched.


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