From Churchill Downs. . .
Do you make your Derby picks based on the silks of the jockeys?
If so, here’s all you need to study and make your bet. Here are notes from the Post Position Draw:
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (– Zayat Stables’ champion 2-year-old of 2014 American Pharoah and Kaleem Shah’s undefeated Dortmund, both trained by three-time Kentucky Derby winner Bob Baffert, headline a field 20 horses and two also- eligibles entered Wednesday for Saturday’s 141st running of the $2,203,800 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI) at Churchill Downs.
Post time for the Derby, the 11th of 13 races Saturday, is 6:34 p.m. (all times Eastern). Gates open Saturday at 8 a.m. with the first race scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Temperatures are forecast to be in the mid-70s under sunny skies.
The Kentucky Derby will be carried by NBC Sports with a 3 1/2-hour telecast from 4-7:30 p.m. The winner of the 1 1⁄4-mile first leg of the Triple Crown with 20 starters will receive $1,443,800.
American Pharoah, the 5-2 favorite on Churchill Downs linemaker Mike Battaglia’s morning line, brings a four-race win streak into the Run for the Roses.
Ridden by Victor Espinoza in all four of those wins that have come by a combined 22 1⁄4 lengths, American Pharoah has captured the Del Mar Futurity (GI), the FrontRunner (GI), the Rebel (GII) and most recently the Arkansas Derby (GI).
Espinoza, who will bring American Pharoah out of post position 18, will be shooting for consecutive Derby victories. He won last year aboard California Chrome.
Baffert, whose three Derby victories are comprised of Silver Charm (1997), Real Quiet (1998) and War Emblem (2002), also will send out Dortmund, whose six-for-six record includes an allowance win at Churchill Downs last fall. Dortmund is the second choice on the morning line at 3-1.
Martin Garcia has been aboard for all of the victories that include Grade I scores in the Santa Anita Derby and Los Alamitos Futurity as well as the Robert B. Lewis (GIII) and San Felipe (GII). Dortmund will break from post position eight.
Baffert is not the only trainer in this year’s Derby seeking to add to his victory total in the race.
Todd Pletcher, who won the 2010 renewal with Super Saver, is topping Baffert’s number of runners with a quartet of his own in WinStar Farm and Stonestreet Stables’ Carpe Diem; Alto Racing’s Materiality; Starlight Racing’s Itsaknockout; and Stonestreet Stables, Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith’s Stanford .
Carpe Diem, a winner of four of five career starts and third choice on the morning line at 8-1, enters the Derby off his second Grade I victory, this coming in the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland, the same track where he took the Breeders’ Futurity (GI) last fall. John Velazquez, who has ridden Carpe Diem in all of his starts, has the call Saturday and will break from post position two in search of his second Derby win.
Velazquez won the 2011 running aboard Animal Kingdom.
Materiality, the co-fourth choice on the morning line at 12-1 with Firing Line, is undefeated in three career starts, highlighted by a victory in the Florida Derby (GI) in his most recent start. Javier Castellano has the mount and will break from post position three.