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Who Will Win The Kentucky Derby? Expert Picks and Predictions

The horses for the 146th running of the Kentucky Derby, which was moved to Saturday from May 2 and will have no spectators present because of the coronavirus pandemic, are listed in order of post position, with comments by Joe Drape and Melissa Hoppert of The New York Times. The morning-line odds were set by Mike Battaglia of Churchill Downs.

Tiz the Law, runaway winner of the Belmont Stakes on June 20 and the Travers Stakes on Aug. 8, is the 3-5 morning-line favorite. He is the lowest-priced morning-line favorite since 1989, when the entry of Easy Goer and Awe Inspiring was also 3-5. King Guillermo was scratched Thursday with a fever. The two inside gates and one outside gate of a new 20-horse starting gate will remain open. The post positions remain unchanged.

The Preakness, the final leg of the Triple Crown in this year’s rejiggered schedule, is set for Oct. 3, and will also be run without fans on site.

How to watch: Coverage begins Saturday at 2:30 p.m., Eastern time, on NBC. It will also be streamed on NBC Sports Live.

Post time: 7:02 p.m.

Purse: $3 million guaranteed

Distance: 1¼ miles

Track record: 1:59⅖ (Secretariat, 1973)

Weight: 126 pounds

Joe Drape’s win-place-show picks: Honor A.P., Ny Traffic, Tiz the Law

Melissa Hoppert’s picks: Tiz the Law, Honor A.P., Max Player

Here’s how we see the field:

Trainer: Rey Hernandez Jockey: Martin Garcia Odds: 50-1

Drape: His chances to win were slim before the draw. After drawing the rail, downgrade them to “none.”

Hoppert: A one-eyed colt who has not won a race since early April will win hearts on Saturday, if little else.

Trainer: Steve Asmussen Jockey: Ricardo Santana Jr. Odds: 30-1

Drape: This colt finished third behind Tiz the Law at the Belmont and the Travers. He isn’t going to catch him here, either.

Hoppert: His speed figures have steadily improved, and he has a new trainer and jockey. Sure, they are a combined 0-for-25 in the Derby, but Asmussen does have two seconds and two thirds.

Trainer: Mark Casse Jockey: Adam Beschizza Odds: 30-1

Drape: He is gray, and my mother always bet grays. That is the only case to make for a colt who has won twice in 10 tries.

Hoppert: His last win came in January; he’s just a cut below the rest.

Trainer: Peter Eurton Jockey: Julien Leparoux Odds: 50-1

Drape: He won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile in November at odds of 45-1. His best performance since then was a runner-up finish on the turf in his last race. He may have a future on grass.

Hoppert: His sire, Court Vision, also started on the dirt before finding success on the turf. Pass.

Trainer: Greg Foley Jockey: James Graham Odds: 50-1

Drape: This closer showed signs of life, finishing second in the Indiana Derby in July. This is a big step up.

Hoppert: He’s the first Derby horse for this trainer, who grew up just outside Louisville and is based at Churchill Downs, but the feel-good story ends there.

Trainer: Juan Carlos Avila Jockey: Samy Camacho Odds: 20-1

Trainer: Todd Pletcher Jockey: Javier Castellano Odds: 30-1

Drape: He has had only three career races. Two of them were wins, though. His trainer has won this race twice, but that’s not a whole lot to go on.

Hoppert: He’s the only horse in the field who has run against older horses, finishing second by a neck, and his speed figures have steadily improved. Intriguing.

Trainer: Bill Mott Jockey: Tyler Gaffalione Odds: 50-1

Drape: This colt won his first three starts as a 2-year-old but has not found the winner’s circle in nine starts since.

Hoppert: A last-minute addition to the field after the highly regarded Art Collector scratched, this closer faces a mighty task.

Trainer: W. Bret Calhoun Jockey: Gabriel Saez Odds: 50-1

Drape: He has not run nearly fast enough to keep up with most of the field.

Hoppert: Seizing on another late opening, the connections of the sixth-place Blue Grass finisher decided to shoot for the moon.

ImageThousand Words, ridden by jockey Flavien Prat, gave trainer Bob Baffert his 3,000th win on Feb. 1 at Santa Anita in Arcadia, Calif.
Credit…BENOIT PHOTO, via Associated Press

Trainer: Bob Baffert Jockey: Florent Geroux Odds: 15-1

Drape: He finished nearly 30 lengths behind Mr. Big News in the Oaklawn Stakes and turned around and beat Honor A.P. in the Shared Belief Stakes. Which one shows up? Your guess is as good as mine.

Hoppert: Never count out a Baffert horse, but when he upset Honor A.P., he led from start to finish, an unlikely situation in the Derby.

Trainer: Chris Hartman Jockey: Miguel Mena Odds: 50-1

Drape: The third-place finisher in both the Ellis Park Derby and the Indiana Derby, he was claimed for $100,000 to deliver two African-American owners and a retired South Dakota high school teacher here. Nice story.

Hoppert: He has won only twice in 10 tries, but both of those wins came at Churchill Downs last year.

Trainer: Patrick Biancone Jockey: Luca Panici Odds: 30-1

Drape: He finished 15 lengths behind Tiz the Law in the Belmont. Doubt that he will get much closer.

Hoppert: This gelding was bred to excel on turf, and that’s where he has been training leading up to this race.

Trainer: Dale Romans Jockey: Joe Talamo Odds: 50-1

Drape: Pray for rain! His only victory in eight starts was on a sloppy racetrack.

Hoppert: How I miss the chatter around the barns this year, where no-shot horses become sudden contenders. This one is no exception. His trainer, a Louisville native who has never won a Derby, summed up the buzz: “It’s 2020. Anything can happen.”

Trainer: Dallas Stewart Jockey: Joe Rocco Jr. Odds: 50-1

Drape: Seventh-place finishes in the Ellis Park Derby and the Indiana Derby do not make him much of a contender here.

Hoppert: This trainer knows how to hit the Derby board with long shots — remember the second-place finishers Golden Soul and Commanding Curve? — but this gelding will most likely have even longer odds.

Trainer: Saffie Joseph Jr. Jockey: Paco Lopez Odds: 20-1

Drape: There’s a lot to like about this hard-trying colt. He’s gray (Mom), finished second in the Haskell by a nose to Authentic and always fires.

Hoppert: He has hit the board in seven of his nine races and is a strong bet to do so again. His trainer, a Barbados native, is yet another Derby newcomer this year.

Trainer: John Shirreffs Jockey: Mike Smith Odds: 5-1

Drape: The Santa Anita Derby winner is sitting on a big race and is in the expert hands of the trainer and the jockey who campaigned the great Zenyatta.

Hoppert: The pair also teamed with Giacomo, the 50-1 shot who gave Shirreffs his only Derby victory, in 2005, and it should be noted that Big Money Mike had a choice between this horse and Authentic.

Trainer: Barclay Tagg Jockey: Manny Franco Odds: 3-5

Drape: What’s not to like? A 6-for-7 career record, owners you can root for and the possibility that he may become a horse of a lifetime. But I can’t have the taste of chalk in my mouth.

Hoppert: I like the taste, if it means picking winners, and there’s no better horse in the field. Take this to the bank: This most unusual Triple Crown series will continue with a coronation on the line, asterisk aside.

Trainer: Bob Baffert Jockey: John Velazquez Odds: 8-1

Drape: This colt has lost only once and will be the controlling speed from the gate. But he has distance limitations and might be staggering in the stretch.

Hoppert: Another Baffert colt who has shown a lot of promise, but he has been inconsistent and shown signs of immaturity. His Haskell win did little to inspire confidence.

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