Justify, favorite for Saturday's Kentucky Derby, avoids disaster with post draw

Jockey John Velazquez celebrates atop Always Dreaming after

Is that Justify in seven?' I'll take that. "Horses just don't run as many times leading into the Derby as they used to". Plus, one of those races was seven furlongs and another was a mile in the mud, making it harder to trust him even though he is the favorite.

Pletcher's entries include the 6 to 1 third choice, Magnum Moon, which will break from post position 16. You'll be able to pick the winning horse for each race, with the person with the closest finishing order for the main event taking home $250. Juddmonte Farms' last Derby starter was Empire Maker, who was second as the favorite in 2003, and trainer Bill Mott has not saddled a horse in the race since 2009. "Todd's going to have his (horse) ready, and Baffert is going to have his". He won the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf race at Del Mar last fall before having his training disrupted a bit by a cold winter in Europe. "I don't like the draw, cause you sit there, and if you don't like where you drew, people get to see you suffering". It's nearly time for the Kentucky Derby and today we get a great way to celebrate the iconic race.

Magnum Moon does have history working against him.

The $2.192 million Kentucky Derby, the first leg of the Triple Crown, is scheduled for 6:46 p.m. ET Saturday (NBC) at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. His win in the UAE Derby was in 1:55.18, more than a second faster than the previous record of 1:56.61, set by Mizbah in January 2017. He got a lucky break on May 1, when he drew the No. 7 post.

Pletcher won a year ago with Always Dreaming.

"Ideally, we wouldn't have three horses in the auxiliary gate but that's the way it unfolded and we'll do the best we can with it", he said. Horses are loaded into the gate two at a time, beginning with posts one and 11, which spend the most time waiting for the start. With a 20 horse field, you can make some serious dough betting a variety of options and exotic payouts should be through the roof. "It will happen. It may not be this year, but we've got two pretty good chances".

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Solomini, Justify's stablemate, Enticed, Bolt d'Oro, Instilled Regard and Firenze Fire also got their first gallops in on the track Tuesday.

"They just think up things for us to do that we just can't understand where they come from", resident Kathryn McNeese says. Lukas is back in the Kentucky Derby for the first time since 2015 with colt Bravazo running on Saturday. Lone Sailor 50:1 9.

Justify has made only three starts, but won the April 7 Santa Anita Derby by three lengths over the more experienced Bolt d'Oro.

The Desormeaux brothers have teamed with My Boy Jack. The West Loop spot's celebration also features a horse racing video game, a best hat contest and specials including $8 Jim Beam mint juleps and $14 hot brown benedicts featuring turkey and Tasso ham, poached egg and pimento Mornay sauce served on an English muffin.

Twenty-one horses were entered.

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