It’s the first weekend in May, which can only mean one thing: it’s time for the Kentucky Derby. But, in addition to the ongoing NBA and NHL playoffs, tonight also features another big sporting event — what’s being billed as the Fight of the Century, Mayweather-Pacquiao. We’ll preview that in another post. Now, the Derby.
It’s horse racing’s biggest event annually and the highlight of Churchill Downs’ racing schedule. A big payday comes for the horse that wins the race, the first leg of the sport’s Triple Crown. The morning-line favorite is Bob Baffert-trained American Pharoah, winner of four of the five races in which the horse has run. Dortmund — also trained by Baffert — is the horse that seems to have the best chance of defeating American Pharoah to win the 1.25-mile race.
If I’m picking a winner straight-up and not worrying about wagers, odds or a payout, I see no reason not to go with American Pharoah. He’s the favorite for a reason. Looking for a bigger payout on a wager, though, I think Todd Pletcher’s Carpe Diem is going to finish in the top 3 and is a dark horse to potentially win. But I’ll go with American Pharoah. The question is does any of this year’s horses have what it takes to become horse racing’s first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978? We’ll find out within the next five weeks.
My shot-in-the-dark picks
Win: American Pharoah
Exacta: American Pharoah, Dortmund
Trifecta: American Pharoah, Dortmund, Carpe Diem
Superfecta: American Pharoah, Dortmund, Carpe Diem, Firing Line