Undefeated Nyquist stands head and hooves over the entire 142nd Kentucky Derby field leading up to Saturday’s running at Churchill Downs at +300 odds. Victorious at the 1 1/8-mile Florida Derby (Grade 1) and owning wins over his main competition, Reddam Racing’s three-year-old is expected to take the checkered flag and make a quick exit from the track to the paddock.
Yet favorites have often tumbled quickly out of the Run for the Roses, while longshots have galloped their way into the hearts of horse racing lovers and bettors.
As of now, and just ahead of Wednesday’s poll-position draw, Nyquist’s biggest challengers are Mohaymen (+700) and Exaggerator (9/1), according to Bovada.lv.
Upon closer inspection of the racing form, their are several longshots in this year’s 20-thoroughbred field that could very well upend Nyquist, Exaggerator, and Mohaymen’s pursuit of the Derby crown. Here are five longshots who could provide a huge upset.
Fresh legs, thanks to only four career races, and three of those resulting in a victory and the fourth a runner-up finish, Outwork could very well place at Churchill Downs depending on his post position. Outwork’s taken on a mile or longer track twice in his career, taking the 1 1/8-mile Wood Memorial (G1) last month and coming in second at the 1 1/16-mile Tampa Bay Derby in March.
My Man Sam +2,500
Another longshot who has showed strong legs at longer distances, My Man Sam’s last three races were at 1 1/16-mile tracks or longer, including the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland, where he finished second.
Danzing Candy +3,300
A fourth-place finish at the 1 1/8-mile Santa Anita took some shine off Danzing Candy’s previous three-race winning streak, resulting in his +3,300 odds. But the Twirling Candy three-year-old owned a wire-to-wire victory at San Felipe (G2), and as long as he manages his blazing speed over the first half-mile Danzing Candy could place.
Gift Box +4,000
Also a progeny of Twirling Candy, Gift Box hasn’t been tested very much with just three career races and he hasn’t raced since November. But he was strong enough in his six-furlong maiden to finish third, and jumped all the way to a first-place finish at 1 1/16-miles at Belmont before a placing at Remsen (G2).
Son to Tiznow, who won the 2001 Breeders Cup, Majesto was Nyquist’s closest competitor in Florida and finished second in his first major stakes race. He’s shown the ability to keep up over long distances with five straight at 1 1/16 or longer and Majesto placed in all but one of those.