Classic Empire who was initially the favorite is now down to 3rd place with Irish War Cry (both have odds of 6-1). The Derby is also referred to as "The Run for the Roses" due to the garland of 554 red roses draped over the victor.

Patch, running from the No. 20 post, may be a longshot but figures to be a favorite among those betting and viewing the race.

The last Kentucky Derby won on a sloppy track was 2013, when the favored Orb won by 2½ lengths in such conditions. No New Jersey-bred horse has won the Derby since Cavalcade in 1934, and none has run in the race since Dance Floor took third in 1992.

"He's a class horse", Suroor said.

Hence appears to have the best shot of Calumet's trio after winning the Sunland Derby to go with a second and a third in six starts.

McCraken probably wasn't fully fit for the Blue Grass, which was his first start in almost three months, because of a minor ankle injury that appeared after he won the Sam F. Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs.

Pletcher has followed in Lukas' footsteps. Far Right will be making his first start for trainer Wayne Catalano after previously being with Ron Moquett. So it's now time for a brief rundown of Derby hopefuls I included and the two superfecta tickets punched. While Saturday's Run for the Roses has been billed as wide open, Demling considers it a two-horse race.

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Mastery will never race again, but he will still breed. He's twice won the Belmont Stakes, the final leg of the Triple Crown. Yes, Dubai. He is owned by one of the most successful stables in the world, Godolphin, and this is a race they have been trying to win for over two decades. None of those horses won. He was promoted to foreman and then assistant trainer before going out on his own. With Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez as his mount, Always Dreaming stands a good chance of pushing to the front of the pack during the crowded first quarter-mile at Churchill Downs. I have three primary reasons for doing so: his lack of graded stakes experience, a trainer with a history of bad Derby luck, and reports from people on the scene at Churchill that he has been hard to handle during morning workouts.

The one potential favorite I am taking a stand against is Always Dreaming. In an effort to harness the colt's energy, Pletcher switched to longer reins, and Always Dreaming resisted.

All Kentucky Derby starters will carry 126 pounds.

1956 - The first Kentucky Derby Festival is held.

Last year, an ulcer developed on the globe of Patch's left eye and would not heal despite treatment. Five of the 20 colts in the field have won over off tracks, though Churchill's well-conditioned surface may well be a fast track if several hours of dry weather precede the Derby.

Patch will try to buck tradition Saturday. There are a few names being tossed around as a possible favorite, but this year there are four horses that are favored to win, depending on who is doing the reporting.


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