Analyzing the contenders and pretenders in the 142nd running of the Kentucky Derby

May 5, 2016

Post positions were drawn on Wednesday for Saturday's Kentucky Derby.

Undefeated Nyquist was tabbed the morning-line favorite after drawing post 13.

Santa Anita Derby winner Exagerrator was made the second choice from post 11.

The live odds are updated prior to the close of racing on Friday at Churchill Downs with slightly more than $800,000 in the win pool.


1. Trojan Nation (40 points on Road to Kentucky Derby Leaderboard

Jockey: Drayden Van Dyke

Trainer: Patrick Gallagher

Morning  line: 50-1

Live odds: 43-1

Analysis: Enters the starting gate as a maiden and reaches the finish line as one. No way.

2. Suddenbreakingnews (50 points)

Jockey: Luis Quinonez

Trainer: Donnie Von Hemel

Morning line: 20-1

Live odds: 25-1

Analysis: Winner of the Southwest at Oaklawn will be running late, could factor into superfecta.

3. Creator (110 points)

Jockey: Ricardo Santana Jr.

Trainer: Steve Asmussen

Morning line 10-1

Live odds: 16-1

Analyis: Surprised with powerful burst in the Arkansas Derby. Another that would benefit from a hot pace.

4. Mo Tom (32 points)

Jockey: Corey Lanerie

Trainer: Tom Amoss

Morning line: 20-1

Live odds: 18-1

Analysis: No match for Gun Runner in the last two attempts in Louisiana. 

5. Gun Runner (151 points)

Jockey: Florent Geroux

Trainer: Steve Asmussen

Morning line: 10-1

Live odds: 9-1

Analysis: Impressive winner of Louisiana Derby. Would have to take another major step up to contend for the Roses.

6. My Man Sam (40 points)

Jockey: Irad Ortiz Jr.

Trainer: Chad Brown

Morning line 20-1

Live odds: 18-1

Analysis: Enters race with a maiden win. Hard to believe he will factor into the race.

7. Oscar Nominated (50 points)

Jockey: Julien Leparoux

Trainer: Mike Maker

Morning line: 50-1

Live odds: 38-1

Analysis: Supplemented to the race off victory in the Spiral Stakes. This doesn't seem like money well spent.

8. Lani (100 points)

Jockey: Yutaka Take

Trainer: Mikio Matsunaga

Morning line: 30-1

Live odds: 28-1

Analysis: Winner of the UAE Derby is known for being unpredictable. What is predictable is he doesn't figure to be a major factor in the Run for the Roses.

9. Destin (51 points)

Jockey: Javier Castellano

Trainer: Todd Pletcher

Morning line: 15-1

Lve odds: 18-1

Analysis: Tampa Bay Derby winner sports triple-figure Beyer in that triumph. This isn't Tampa Bay, however, and he would also have to show dramatic improvement.

10. Whitmore (44 points)

Jockey: Victor Espinoza

Trainer: Ron Moquett

Morning line: 20-1

Live odds: 34-1

Analysis: Hasn't shown the ability to win against others on the Arkansas trail to the Derby. Wouldn't think today would be the day for him to prove he can beat them or others.

11. Exaggerator (126 points)

Jockey: Kent Desormeaux

Trainer: Keith Desormeaux

Morning line: 8-1

Live odds: 5-1

Analysis: Giant victory in Santa Anita Derby when passing foes as if they were standing still. Faced Nyquist twice and was bested both times. Have to wonder how much of the Santa Anita Derby victory was due to the off track. 

12. Tom's Ready (44 points)

Jockey: Brian Hernandez Jr.

Trainer: Dallas Stewart

Morning line: 30-1

Live odds: 41-1

Analysis: Tom's not ready to win the Kentucky Derby off his form.

13. Nyquist (130 points)

Jockey: Mario Gutierrez

Trainer: Doug O'Neill

Morning line: 3-1

Live odds: 2-1

Analysis: Seven-for-seven. Has done nothing wrong. That said, he doesn't come into the race with the aura American Pharoah entered last year. Will be forwardly placed. At 3-1 on the morning line, he is a pass.

14. Mohaymen (80 points)

Jockey: Junior Alvarado

Trainer: Kiaran McLaughlin

Morning line: 10-1

Live odds: 12-1

Analysis: Was wide, wide, wide in the Florida Derby battle of the unbeatens with Nyquist. Totally willing to forgive that effort. Huge factor here.

15. Outwork (120 points)

Jockey: John Velazquez

Trainer: Todd Pletcher

Morning line: 15-1

Live odds: 26-1

Analysis: Won the Wood Memorial over a muddy strip in April. Couldn't handle Destin in the Tampa Bay Derby. Unlikely.

16. Shagaf (50 points)

Jockey: Joel Rosario

Trainer: Chad Brown

Morning line: 20-1

Live odds: 74-1

Analysis: The Gotham winner couldn't handle the mud in the Wood. Would be stunning.

17. Mor Spirit (84 points)

Jockey: Gary Stevens

Trainer: Bob Baffert

Morning line: 12-1

Live odds: 12-1

Analysis: Was favored in two most recent at Santa Anita and burned money. Unlikely to cash a win ticket on him Saturday.

18. Majesto (40 points)

Jockey: Emisael Jaramillo

Trainer: Gustavo Delgado

Morning line: 30-1

Live odds: 67-1

Analysis: No chance. Only victory was in a maiden race.

19. Brody's Cause (114 points)

Jockey: Luis Saez

Trainer: Dale Romans

Morning line: 15-1

Live odds: 22-1

Analysis: BlueGrass winner also broke maiden at Churchill. Live chance, especially if he loves the track.

20. Danzing Candy (60 points)

Jockey: Mike Smith

Trainer: Clifford W. Sise Jr.

Morning line: 20-1

Live odds: 30-1

Analysis: Benefits from outside post position. Will be forwardly placed. However, was steamrolled by Exaggerator in the Santa Anita Derby.

On the "also eligible" list:

Laoban (Cornelio Velasquez)

Cherry Wine (Robby Albarado).

The "also eligible" horses could draw into the field should any horse(s) be scratched before Friday's scratch time at 9 a.m. ET.