With the final two prep races concluded over the weekend, the early field for the Kentucky Derby field is set. My Boy Jack won the Lexington Stakes at Keeneland, and Magnum Moon captured the Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park to round out the field for the first leg of the Triple Crown.
They will join 18 other horses who previously qualified for the Derby, which will be run May 5 at Churchill Downs. My Boy Jack opened at 150/1, but with his less than a length victory over Telekinesis, he has dropped to 20/1, according to odds posted by the Wynn.
Magnum Moon shot up the board after his impressive victory at the Arkansas Derby. The 3-year old won by four lengths and is now the second pick for the derby at 5-1, after opening at 200/1. He was unraced as a 2-year old, and will try and break “The Curse of Apollo.” That superstition relates to a horse that hasn’t raced before it was 3 years old hasn’t won the Kentucky Derby since 1882 when a horse named Apollo did it.
Trainer Todd Pletcher said he isn’t concerned about the streak, and told the Louisville Courier-Journal he is confident his horse will be ready.
“I think the trends in the Derby winner have been changing over the last 10 or 15 years,” Pletcher said. “I’m sure at some point that someone who didn’t start as a 2-year-old is going to win the Kentucky Derby.”
Favorite Trying to Break Curse
Justify is another horse that didn’t race as a 2-year-old, and he is the top pick by oddsmakers to win the Run for the Roses. Like Magnum Moon, Justify has won all of his races as a 3-year-old, most of them in dominating fashion. He easily handled previous Kentucky Derby favorite, Bolt d’Oro, beating him by three lengths in the Santa Anita Derby on April 7.
Before that race Justify had never run a marquee event, but his victory quieted critics and shot him to the top of the betting board. He opened as a 300/1 longshot and is now 5/2.
It is one of two entries that is trained by the legendary Bob Baffert. The other is Solomini, who is listed at 25/1 at the Wynn.
Baffert was hoping to have another in the Derby, but McKinzie got injured in its hind end. Out of an abundance of caution he decided to hold the horse out of Triple Crown competitions. His second choice, though, has proven to be quite the replacement.
“I pinch myself,” Baffert told the LA Times. “I had (American) Pharoah, Arrogate, now I have this horse. I’ve been on a roll.”
Competition from Fellow Trainer
Baffert doesn’t have the most entries in the Derby, that honor belongs to rival trainer Pletcher. He has four horses, including Magnum Moon, Audible, Noble Indy, and Vino Rosso.
While Magnum is the favorite of those four, Audible has attractive odds of 8/1. Noble Indy and Vino Rosso are both at 16/1.
Like Baffert, he had a horse that he had to pull from competition. Runaway Ghost, who was a 40/1 pick, suffered a shin fracture and will miss the Triple Crown races.