Kentucky Derby 2016: No horses scratch at deadline, the field is set

Fernel "Lefty" Serrano leads Kentucky Derby hopeful Nyquist back to Barn 41 at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., after the horse's bath on Wednesday.

O'Neill's theory is that most juvenile champions are precocious and by the first Saturday of May of their 3-year-old seasons, they've lost that edge.

"Some people probably they think I don't need to win another one", the 43-year-old said Monday morning at Churchill Downs. "I've been a fan of that team since I was about five".

Three horses, Creator, Gun Runner and Mohayman, were priced at 10-1 - with a total of eight horses priced between 10-1 and 15-1. Four horses have won from there since 1900, most recently Smarty Jones in 2004.

Other Grade I winners in the field are Michael Petersen's Mor Spirit and Repole Stable's Outwork.

Baffert said he's flying under the radar this year as he seeks his fifth Kentucky Derby victory, and he has been pleased with how Mor Spirit has trained. The Triple Crown in the 2015 Kentucky Derby was won by American Pharoah, it is incredible that only 12 horses have won the Triple Crown in 141 years.

 "When you go through all of them, Ragozin or Beyer ... you'll find one of them that you like". He's won more than $3.3 million - and Uncle Mo will have three starters in this Derby, an unmatched achievement by a first-year sire. The lone defeat was a second-place finish to tablemate Destin in the Tampa Bay Derby on March the 12th. Hall of Famer John Velazquez has the mount on Outwork. He'll likely be positioned mid pack pending a good break and we anticipate he'll have every shot to make a good, clean run in the stretch.

Horse racing is a lot less popular than it was the last time there was a Triple Crown victor, which was in 1978 when Affirmed won the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness and the Belmont Stakes.

Danzing Candy is owned by Ted and Leslie Aroney in partnership with James and Dianne Bashor. In the Florida Derby, he was pressured throughout, but still held his speed to the end. Both have Exaggerator the distant second choice at 8-1. "It might be in our favor", trainer Cliff Sise said. He's another who looks like they will struggle getting the extra furlongs the Derby provides. He began 2016 with a victory in the Southwest (GIII) at Oaklawn Park.

Danzing Candy's positioning could change the calculations for a number of trainers who hope their horses will stalk the lead from a few paces back, but stay well ahead of a large group of late chargers. Suddenbreakingnews is 20-1 on the line. But this is the Derby, a race that gets analyzed and overanalyzed, everybody looking for hidden angles. Trained by Mike Maker, Oscar Nominated (50-1) will be ridden by Julien Leparoux and break from post position seven. Chad Brown sends out the duo of My Man Sam and Shagaf.

However, Nyquist tweeted a good-luck message to his namesake this week, "Best of luck to @NyquistHorse running @KentuckyDerby this weekend". And then he spoke of Veracruz and how his father had ridden quarter horses, and somebody asked him what it meant to ride in this race when just three years ago he was riding out in Western Canada.

Nyquist has been made the early 3-1 favorite for the 142nd Kentucky Derby, with Exaggerator the second choice in the full field of 20 horses.

 

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