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Kentucky Derby: Odds, Pole Positions and Picks

Plus some extra information

The 144th Kentucky Derby Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

The most exciting 2 minutes in sports is almost upon us! The 144th running of the Derby is on Sunday and there is a talented field this year. The field of 20 horses was selected from qualifying points earned from 34 races in North America but largely from Louisiana Derby, UAE Derby, Florida Derby, Wood Memorial, Blue Grass Stakes, Santa Anita Derby and Arkansas Derby.

Race Details (145th running of the Kentucky Derby)

Venue: Churchill Downs
Length: 1.25 Miles
Undercard Race: 12:30pm
Pre-Race: 2:30pm
Race Start: 6:30pm
Broadcast: NBC
Winner’s Purse: $3MM


Omaha Beach (Odds: 4:1) - Pole 12

Jockey: Mike Smith (3x Kentucky Derby winner; 2x Preakness; 3x Belmont Stakes winner)
Trainer: Richard Mandella

Synopsis: Won the Arkansas Derby in a muddy fashion three weeks ago, also won the Rebel Stakes in March

Game Winner (odds: 5:1) - Pole 16

Jockey: Joel Rosario (1x Kentucky Derby; 1x Belmont Stakes)
Trainer: Bob Baffert (5x Kentucky Derby; 7x Preakness Stakes; 3x Belmont Stakes)

Synopsis: Undefeated in three starts, won at American Pharoah Stakes and Sentient Jet Breeders Cup.

Improbable (odds: 6:1) - Pole 5

Jockey: Irad Ortiz Jr. (1x Belmont Stakes)
Trainer: Bob Baffert (5x Kentucky Derby; 7x Preakness Stakes; 3x Belmont Stakes)

Synopsis: 2nd at Arkansas Derby and Rebel Stakes in the last two months.

Roadster (odds: 6:1) - Pole 17

Jockey: Florent Geroux
Trainer: Bob Baffert (5x Kentucky Derby winner; 7x Preakness Stakes; 3x Belmont Stakes winner)

Synopsis: Won the Santa Anita Derby in April

Maximum Security (odds: 10:1) - Pole 7

Jockey: Luis Saez
Trainer: Jason Servis

Synopsis: Won the Florida Derby in March

Tacitus (Odds 10:1) - Pole 8

Jockey: Jose Ortiz (1x Belmont Stakes winner)
Trainer: William Mott (1x Belmont Stakes winner)

Synopsis: Won the Wood Memorial in April and South Tampa Bay Derby in March

Win Win Win (odds: 15:1) - Pole 14

Jockey: Julien Pimental
Trainer: Michael Trombetta

Synopsis: 2nd at Blue Grass Stakes and 3rd at Tampa Bay derby got Win Win Win in the Kentucky Derby

Code of Honor (odds: 15:1) - Pole 13

Jockey: John Velazquez (2x Kentucky Derby; 2x Belmont Stakes)
Trainer: Claude McGaughey (1x Kentucky Derby; 1x Belmont Stakes)

Synopsis: 3rd in Florida Derby and 1st at Fountain of Youth Stakes in march.

By My Standards (odds: 20:1) - Pole 3

Jockey: Gabriel Saez
Trainer: Bret Calhoun

Synopsis: won the Louisiana Derby in March at 22-1 odds; first Kentucky Derby for Bret Calhoun.

War of Will (odds: 20:1) - Pole 1

Jockey: Tyler Gaffalione
Trainer: Mark Casse

Synopsis: Won three straight between November – February before a 9th place finish at the Louisiana Derby Stakes.

Vekoma (odds: 20:1) - Pole 6

Jockey: Javier Castellano (2x Preakness)
Trainer: George Weaver

Synopsis: Won 1st at Toyota Blue Grass Stakes in early April and finished 3rd at Fountain of Youth Stakes in March

Tax (odds: 20:1) - Pole 2

Jockey: Junior Alvarado
Trainer: Danny Gargan

Synopsis: He won the Withers Stakes mixed in with 2nd and 3rd place finishes at Memorial S, Remsen Stakes and Maiden Claiming.

Spinoff (odds: 30:1) - Pole 19

Jockey: Manny Franco
Trainer: Todd Pletcher (2x Kentucky Derby; 3x Belmont Stakes)

Synopsis: Not a lot of history from Spinoff who most recently was 2nd at the Louisiana Derby but not a lot prior to that.

Haikal (odds: 30:1) - Pole 11

Jockey: Rajiv Maragh
Trainer: Kiaran McLaughlin (1x Belmont Stakes)

Synopsis: 1st at Gotham Stakes; 3rd at Wood Memorial; ninth horse for Kiaran

Cutting Humor (odds: 30:1) - Pole 10

Jockey: Undecided
Trainer: Todd Pletcher (2x Kentucky Derby; 3x Belmont Stakes)

Synopsis: Sunland Park Derby win in March was Cutting Humor’s most recent race, prior to that he was 7th at the Southwest Stakes in February.

Plus Que Parfait (odds: 30:1) - Pole 9

Jockey: Ricardo Santana Jr.
Trainer: Brendan Walsh

Synopsis: Won the UAE Derby in March

Long Range Toddy (odds: 30:1) - Pole 18

Jockey: Jon Court
Trainer: Steve Asmussen (1x Preakness Stakes; 1x Belmont Stakes)

Synopsis: He has a mix of wins with Rebel Stakes and Remington Springboard with some 2nd and 3rd place finishes at Southwest Stakes and Smarty Jones Stakes. Most recently he was 6th at the Arkansas Derby.

Country House (odds: 30:1) - Pole 20

Jockey: Flavien Prat
Trainer: William Mott (1x Belmont Stakes)

Synopsis: Not too bad recent finishes from Country House with a 3rd place finish at Arkansas Derby, 4th place finish at the Louisiana Derby and 2nd place finish at the Risen Star S.

Gray Magician (odds: 50:1) - Pole 4

Jockey: Undecided
Trainer: Peter Miller

Synopsis: Foreign race at UAE Derby in March was Gray Magicians most recent race.

Master Fencer (odds: 50:1) - Pole 15

Jockey: Julien Leparoux
Trainer: Koichi Tsunoda

Synopsis: Two races from Japan bring Master Fencer to Kentucky. 2nd place at the Fukurya Stakes and 4th place at the Hyacinth Stakes in Tokyo.

My Picks

Winner: Omaha Beach (pole spot 12) – 3x derby winning Mike Smith knows what you need to do here

Place: Improbable (pole spot 5) – Bob Baffert having three horses in this field is amazing.

Show: By my Standards (pole spot 3) – I think this is the horse that is primed to surprise people.

Superfecta: Code of Honor (pole spot 13) – Great Jockey/Trainer combo with John Velazquez and Claude McGaughey

Pole Stats

  • Pole Spot with recent success – No. 5 Always Dreaming sits there this year. (especially below 5)
  • Next up is No. 8 (8 winners) Mine that Bird and Barbaro – Tacitus sits here this year.
  • No. 7 is the third most successful pole spot. Maximum Security sits here this year.
  • 33 years since a horse in the No. 1 spot won.

Obscure Facts

  • The first Kentucky Derby was started by Meriwether Lewis Clark, grandson of William Clark (from Lewis & Clark)
  • The race used to be 1.5 miles until it was changed in 1896 to 1.25 miles
  • An estimated 120,000 Mint Juleps are consumed during race day
  • The derby has never been cancelled continuing throw inclement weather, wars and depressions.
  • 60,000 horse names are submitted to the Jockey Club each year and around 30% are rejected.
  • Less than one tenth of 1% of thoroughbreds make it race in the Kentucky Derby


  • As America’s longest run sporting event, the Kentucky Derby has been at the same venue since 1875.
  • First winner: Aristides
  • Record: 1.5904 (Secretariat in 1973)
  • Attendance: 10,000 back in 1875 it now draws over 150,000 attendees.
  • Low point – in 1892 only 3 racers entered the field.
  • Drink of the Derby: Mint Julep


Who will win the Kentucky Derby?

This poll is closed

  • 0%
    War of Will
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    (0 votes)
  • 5%
    By My Standards
    (1 vote)
  • 0%
    Gray Magician
    (0 votes)
  • 11%
    (2 votes)
  • 5%
    (1 vote)
  • 16%
    Maximum Security
    (3 votes)
  • 16%
    (3 votes)
  • 5%
    Plus Que Parfait
    (1 vote)
  • 0%
    Cutting Humor
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    (0 votes)
  • 16%
    Omaha Beach
    (3 votes)
  • 0%
    Code of Honor
    (0 votes)
  • 11%
    Win Win Win
    (2 votes)
  • 0%
    Master Fencer
    (0 votes)
  • 11%
    Game Winner
    (2 votes)
  • 0%
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    Long Range Toddy
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    Country House
    (0 votes)
18 votes total Vote Now