Trained by three-time Derby winner Bob Baffert, Lucky has won six of eight career starts and $1.5 million in purses, more than any other starter in the field. Third-place finish in the Santa Anita was a throw-out, caused by traffic problems and lousy riding by Garrett Gomez. Lucky is the 3-1 morning line favorite, but was dealt a punishing blow when drawn into the No. 1 post position. The last Derby winner from the No. 1 post in a 20-horse field was War Admiral in 1937.
2 of 20Bill Frakes/SI
The Derby is always fast on the front end, but this one figures to be especially quick. That could benefit Ice Box, who likes to close on the leaders in the homestretch, like he did when he won the March 20 Florida Derby after sitting in 11th place with a half-mile to run. He also has the benefit of veteran trainer Nick Zito, who knows how to win the Derby, having done it twice before.
3 of 20Bill Frakes/SI
Eight years ago Ken McPeek trained Derby favorite Harlan's Holiday (he finished 7th) and later that year spoiled War Emblem's Triple Crown try with Sarava in the Belmont Stakes. He left training for a year in 2005, but now he's back with the cheapest yearling purchase in the field ($10,000), who lost to Derby morning line favorite Lookin At Lucky by just a head in the Feb. 13 Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park in Arkansas.
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This is one of four starters for trainer Todd Pletcher, a winning machine everywhere but in the Kentucky Derby, where Pletcher is 0-for-24 in nine Derbies (and lost this year's certain Derby favorite when Eskendereya went down with a front leg injury six days before the race). Super Saver has been third (Tampa Bay Derby) and second (Arkansas Derby) in two prep races, but for those who believe in Kentucky fate, look at the jockey on his back: Calvin Borel, winner of two of the last three Kentucky Derbies (2007 on Street Sense and 2009 on longshot Mine That Bird).
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Line Of David
He was the surprise winner of the Arkansas Derby, when he led at every call in the 1 1/8-mile race and held off Super Saver to win by a neck. Trainer John Sadler (who also handles No. 2 morning line choice Sidney's Candy) won't say whether Line Of David is capable of rating off a fast pace, but he'd better be, because the Derby is a very hard race to win, but it's almost impossible to win wire-to-wire. The last to do it was War Emblem in 2002.
6 of 20Bill Frakes/SI
This previously undistinguished colt earned his way into the Derby with a stunning victory at 40-1 odds in the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland Race Course three weeks out from Derby Day. That's the good news. The bad news is that he's never won a race on dirt (two wins -- on grass at Saratoga and on a synthetic surface at Keeneland) and that, historically, horses who get a Derby spot by winning the last possible prep as longshots do not perform well on the first Saturday in May. He is one of two Derby starters for trainer Mike Maker (the other is Dean's Kitten).
7 of 20Bill Frakes/SI
Impressive winner of the April 3 Illinois Derby for trainer Eoin Harty (a former assistant to Baffert), he is one of two Kentucky Derby starters for Kentucky-based WinStar farm, which lost a third when Sunland Derby winner Endorsement was injured in a workout three days before the Kentucky Derby. Like several others in the field, this Lion seems to resist taming and likes running on the front. Unlike some of those other speedballs, he has shown some signs that he can be held back and attack later in the race.
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With 11 lifetime starts, Dean's Kitten is the most-raced horse in the 2010 Derby field, for owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey, who long for a Derby winner. However, just one of those 11 starts was on a dirt track, and in that race he finished fifth on a wet surface at Belmont Park in New York last October, more than 33 lengths behind Eskendereya. He scored a spot in the Derby by winning the March 27 Lance's End Stakes on a synthetic surface at Turfway Park in northern Kentucky, near Cincinnati.
9 of 20Bill Frakes/SI
Make Music for Me
A beneficiary of the race-week injury to Endorsement and defection of Interactif, Make Music for Me slipped into the 20th and final spot in the field, beating out the more accomplished Setsuko on the basis of great grades stakes earnings. Trainer Alexis Barba will be trying to become the first woman to saddle a Derby winner, but she'll be trying with a horse that's won just one of eight lifetime starts and never run on a dirt surface.
10 of 20Bill Frakes/SI
Yet another Derby starter with almost no experience running on dirt, Paddy's big score was a victory over the equally mediocre Dean's Kitten in the Palm Beach Stakes at nine furlongs on the grass at Gulfstream Park on March 6. His only start on a dirt track was last July 4 at Churchill Downs, where he finished a dull seventh over a sloppy track. One factor in his favor: Jockey Kent Desormeaux, who has three victories in the most important horse race in the United States (1998 on Real Quiet, 2001 on Fusaichi Pegasus and 2008 on Big Brown).
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Devil May Care
When a filly starts in the Kentucky Derby, it's news. Only three have won the race (Regret in 1915, Genuine Risk in 1980 and Winning Colors in 1988) and in recent years some of the most buzz-worthy horses in the sport have been fillies: Belmont winner Rags to Riches in 2007, Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra and Breeders Cup Classic winner Zenyatta last year. The Todd Pletcher-trained Devil May Care is only in the race because the injury to Eskendereya freed up jockey John Velasquez, but she's a real threat to make Derby Day Ladies Day.
12 of 20Matthew Stockman/Getty Images
The second of three-time Derby-winning trainer Bob Baffert's starters, Conveyance is an all-out speedball. "He will be leading, trust me,'' says Baffert. Conveyance won his first two races of 2010 -- the San Rafael Stakes on Santa Anita's synthetic surface and the Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park -- from the front, before getting run down by the now-injured Endorsement in the Sunland Derby on March 28. It's worth repeating that it's very rare for a horse to wire the Kentucky Derby, but Conveyance is the only one with a chance, because he's probably going to be on the lead as they pass under the wire for the first time.
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Trainer Nick Zito, who previously won the Kentucky Derby with Strike The Gold (1991) and Go For Gin (1994), was dying to get Jackson Bend into the Derby, but needed late defections to make it happen. Never worse than second in nine lifetime starts, Jackson Bend was a distant second to Eskendereya in both the Florida Derby and Wood Memorial. Not only does he have a trainer with Derby hardware, but also jockey Mike Smith won the 2005 Derby on longshot Giacomo.
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Starter No. 3 for Todd Pletcher. A $200,000 yearling purchase in the fall of 2008 and a son of the distinguished Unbridled's Song, Mission Impazible rallied from off the pace to win the March 27 Louisiana Derby by three-quarters of a length. Only one of the beaten horses from that day, the Pletcher-trained Discreetly Mine, has made it to the Kentucky Derby.
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Another solider in trainer Todd Pletcher's four-horse army, Discreetly Mine looked like a solid Kentucky Derby contender when he won the 1 1/16-mile Risen Star in Louisiana on Feb. 20, but regressed five weeks later and finished fourth behind winner Mission Impazible in the Louisiana Derby. He has the look and form of a sprinter who will be extended to the edges of his talent at the 1 1/4-mile distance of the Derby.
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British trainer Jeremy Noseda's first trip to saddle a Derby starter was delayed more than a week by the Icelandic volcano. Awesome Act made the first five starts of his career in Europe before finishing fourth in last November's Breeders Cup Juvenile Turf race in California. This spring he won the Gotham and finished third behind Eskendereya in the Wood Memorial, a race in which Awesome Act stumbled out of the starting gate and subsequently threw a shoe, compromising his chances of winning.
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The record 44th Derby starter for Hall of Fame trainer and four-time Derby winner D. Wayne Lukas, who at 74 still monitors his horses' training from a pony on the racetrack while wearing leather chaps. It's been more than a decade since Lukas's last winner, Charismatic in 1999. Dublin, a strapping chestnut who Lukas says weighs more than 1,300 pounds, has been in the money in all three of his 2010 races, but hasn't won any of them. He'll have to show a lot more endurance if Lukas is going to complete the drive for five.
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Another of the modestly accomplished horses who slipped into the Derby field only through others' departures in the final week before the race. Sired by popular 2004 Derby winner Smarty Jones and trained by Churchill regular Tom Amoss, Backtalk will have to find a way to make up the 14 lengths he finished behind American Lion in the Illinois Derby, just to be competitive on Derby Day.
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The first time trainer Rick Dutrow saddled a horse in the Kentucky Derby was two years ago, when he sent the prodigious Big Brown out of the No. 20 post position to a dominating 4 3/4-length victory. This year he's nearly as far outside -- No. 19 -- but he doesn't have nearly the same horse. Homeboykris hasn't won a race since taking the Champagne -- a stake for two-year-olds at Belmont Park -- last October. It was that race that gave Homeboykris enough money (two-year-old earnings are counted) to qualify for the Derby. In his last start he was beaten in an allowance race and has been held up as Exhibit A in the case for changing the entry requirements. He has a great chance to finish last.
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Owned by the trust operated by diet tycoon Jenny Craig and named for her late husband, Sid, Sidney's Candy won the Santa Anita Derby and is one of two Kentucky Derby starters for trainer John Sadler (the other is frontrunner Line of David). Sidney's Candy is a solid horse but faced one hurdle coming to Kentucky: He has never run on dirt. The post position draw gave him another problem: Big Brown (2008) was the first horse in 79 years to win the Derby from the No. 20 post position. Send comments to email@example.com
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