[UPDATE 10:45 a.m. ET] International Star, who's won three straight races including the Lousiana Derby, was also scratched Saturday because of a quarter crack in his foot, The Courier-Journal reported. The Derby field will now consist of 18 thoroughbreds.
[Original Story]: Predicting the 141st Kentucky Derby became a little bit easier after El Kabeir’s connections scratched him prior to Saturday’s race at Churchill Downs.
Zayat Stables were reportedly concerned about one of El Kabeir’s feet, and now the Derby will have 19 contenders, instead of the traditional 20.
El Kabeir joins Stanford, who was pulled by his connections and trainer Todd Pletcher earlier this week to focus on the Preakness Stakes, as a scratch.
However, because El Kabeir’s connections failed to pull him before Friday’s 9 a.m. deadline, Tale of Verve can’t step in as the alternate. Wagering opens up at the Derby beginning 9 a.m. the Friday before the race, so any bet placed on El Kabeir will be refunded.
Bettors will have a smaller field to choose from, but the big money and best odds are still on trainer Bob Baffert’s hulking duo of 5/2 American Pharoah and 9/2 Dortmund.
The pair have been the favorites since the prep races ended last month, and their lines have remained relatively steady. However, Baffert’s intentionally kept each in separate races throughout their short careers, making Saturday the first time American Pharoah and Dortmund have ever faced each other.
Seeking his second Derby victory, Pletcher’s Carpe Diem and Materiality will line up side-by-side from the No. 2 and No. 3 posts, respectively. At 7/1, Carpe Diem’s viewed as the top challenger to Baffert’s tandem after he took down the Blue Grass Stakes.
The biggest longshots in the field include Frammento, who will fill in for Stanford, at 99/1, as well as Tencendur at 61/1, Bolo at 45/1, Far Right at 41/1, and War Story at 40/1.
Latest Betting Odds
1.Ocho Ocho Ocho 27/1
2.Carpe Diem 7/1
5.Danzig Moon 18/1
7.El Kabeir (scratch)
10.Firing Line 10/1
12.International Star 19/1
14.Keen Ice 30/1
16.War Story 40/1
17.Mr. Z 27/1
18.American Pharoah 5/2
20.Far Right 41/1
22.Tale of Verve (scratch)
Start Time: Coverage of races begins at 4 p.m.
TV Channel: NBC
Live Online Stream: A live stream is available at NBC Live Extra