My heart hurts today. Not only am I six hours away from my old Kentucky home, but I’m inside on a beautiful spring day combing the Internet universe for Kentucky news while keeping a side eye on Derby coverage on my television. It’s pretty depressing for a girl who has been in Kentucky for the Derby every other year of my life and who has a miniature sombrero fascinator sitting sadly on my desk, just waiting to be worn on a Cinco de Derby weekend.
In a feeble effort to feel like I’m there, I’m immersing myself in all things Derby, and luckily for me, my local publication, the Chicago Tribune, has a great primer to both the main event of the day and all the story lines surrounding it. Check it out before the call to post (post time has been moved back to 6:34 pm ET).
Here’s what you need to know before the Run for the Roses:
–Odds as of 5 pm:
1-Black Onyx scratched
4-Golden Soul 30-1
5-Normandy Invasion 8-1
7-Giant Finish 35-1
10-Palace Malice 22-1
11-Lines of Battle 32-1
13-Falling Sky 36-1
15-Charming Kitten 29-1
17-Will Take Charge 32-1
18-Frac Daddy 22-1
19-Java’s War 26-1
–The track today is sloppy. That refers to more than just the revelers in the infield; thanks to on and off rain, the track conditions have been downgraded and are now “sealed”- packed down so that water rolls off the side rather than being absorbed into the track.
– 11 out of the 19 Derby entrants have never run on a track rated worse than “fast” before. In these conditions, look for Calvin Borel to have the upper hand (as usual). He’s won two Derbys (Derbies?) on wet tracks, and his horse Revolutionary is currently the favorite at 5-1 odds.
–Jockey storylines? Aside from Borel, expect to hear a lot about Rosie Napravnik in her quest to become the first female jockey to win the Derby, as well as Kevin Krigger, who will try to become the first African-American to win since 1902 (Krigger will be riding Goldencents, Rick Pitino’s horse).
–Trainer Todd Pletcher has five horses in the Derby. Not one, not two, not three, not four, but five: Verrazano, Overanalyze, Revolutionary, Palace Malice, and Charming Kitten.
And because you asked, if I had money to bet, it would be on Revolutionary. I never count out Borel.