The early consensus has placed Dortmund and American Pharoah as the thoroughbreds to beat in the 141st running of the Kentucky Derby, but there’s a rich second-tier capable of pulling off an upset on May 2 at Churchill Downs.
The Associated Press’s top 10 rankings and betting website Bovada.lv each have Dortmund and American Pharoah in the driver’s seat, but there’s little consensus in who their prime challengers will be in Louisville.
Bovada listed Dortmund has a 9/2 favorite and American Pharoah next up at 2/1. The AP ranked Dortmund ahead of American Pharaoh, but gave the latter better odds at 5/1 and the former 6/1.
Both call the renowned and three-time Kentucky Derby-winner Bob Baffert their trainer, but the momentum may have swung to American Pharoah after he blew away the rest of the Arkansas Derby field by eight lengths last weekend.
It was the last of the Derby’s prep races, meaning American Pharoah and his handlers gained significant momentum and perhaps a psychological edge heading into Kentucky. It was the fourth consecutive victory for American Pharoah, third in a Grade 1 stakes race, and first on a 1 1/8-mile track.
American Pharoah finished in fourth place in the prep race standings with 160 points, but Dortmund would finish in second, only one point behind International Star’s 171 points.
Dortmund, who calls near Triple Crown-winner Big Brown his sire, has won each of his six career races and also finished up the prep race circuit with a victory at the 1 1/8-mile Santa Anita Derby on April 4. The AP reported that Dortmund has already made the trip to Churchill Downs and has a workout scheduled.
The second tier of contenders is led off by Carpe Diem (10/1 AP, 6/1 Bovada), followed by Mubtaahij (8/1, 9/1), Materiality (12/1, 9/1), Firing Line (13/1, 14/1), Upstart (18/1, 16/1), and International Star (17/1, 16/1).
One of trainer Todd Pletcher’s two contenders, Carpe Diem secured the G1 Blue Grass Stakes and before that took home the Tampa Bay Derby. Carpe Diem did endure a second-place finish at the G1 Breeders’ Cup, but that was way back in November.
Materiality is Pletcher’s other contender, and flying high after taking the Florida Derby last month. Another three-year-old colt, Materiality only has three career races under his belt, which could translate into fresher legs down the final stretch at Churchill Downs.
Fatigue could be a worry for Mubtaahij’s handlers. He wound up sixth in the prep races after claiming the G2 UAE Derby last month, but has raced seven times since late September. The longest track Mubtaahij has seen is 1 3/16 miles.
Here are the full rankings and odds from AP and Bovada.lv.
AP Top 10 Rankings and Odds
2.American Pharoah 5/1
3.Carpe Diem 10/1
4.Firing Line 13/1
7.International Star 17/1
8.Far Right 39/1
Full Bovada.lv Odds
American Pharoah 2/1
Carpe Diem 6/1
Firing Line 14/1
International Star 16/1
El Kabeir 25/1
Ocho Ocho Ocho 25/1
One Lucky Dane 25/1
Ocean Knight 33/1
Far Right 33/1
Danzig Moon 33/1
Mr Z 50/1