Nyquist, the Kentucky Derby favorite, fared well in the random draw of post positions Wednesday. Undefeated in seven races, Nyquist will break from the No. 13 post position, which should allow jockey Mario Gutierrez to survey the situation inside and outside before deciding his strategy after the break.
The early front-runner is expected to be Danzing Candy, who will break from the extreme outside, post position No. 20. The most undesirable post, No. 1, fell to 50-1 long shot Trojan Nation.
Here is a look at the full field (in post position order) for the 142d Kentucky Derby, for 3-year-olds, to be run at 1¼ miles at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., Saturday. Post time is 6:34 p.m.
1. Trojan Nation
Jockey/trainer: Aaron Gryder/Patrick Gallaher
Comment: He has never won a race but was a fast-closing second in the Wood Memorial at 81-1. The last winless horse to win the Derby was Brokers Tip in 1933.
Jockey/trainer: Luis Quinonez/Donnie K. Van Hemel
Comment: He’ll be far back early, and if the front-runners are going too fast, he’ll be rallying in the stretch. Doesn’t seem fast enough based on speed figures.
Jockey/trainer: Ricardo Santana/Steve Asmussen
Comment: He will be last going into the first turn, so the early pace will probably dictate how much he can move up. His Arkansas Derby victory was impressive.
4. Mo Tom
Jockey/trainer: Corey Lanerie/Thomas Amoss
Comment: The trainer brags that his horse has great potential; he has been bet heavily but keeps finding traffic problems when he rallies. It’s bound to happen again in the congested Derby.
5. Gun Runner
Jockey/trainer: Florent Geroux/Steve Asmussen
Comment: Has won four of five lifetime, including a romp in the Louisiana Derby, but his speed figure was slow.
6. My Man Sam
Jockey/trainer: Julien Leparoux/Chad Brown
Comment: He’s raced only four times, with one victory, but had an eye-catching rally to finish second in the Blue Grass.
7. Oscar Nominated
Jockey/trainer: Robby Albarado/Michael Maker
Comment: He has a terrific record on the grass. His only non-grass race was a victory in the Spiral Stakes on a synthetic track.
Jockey/trainer: Yutaka Take/Mikio Matsunaga
Comment: Owned, trained, and ridden by Japanese connections, he’s never raced in the US and has trained erratically.
Jockey/trainer: Javier Castellano/Todd Pletcher
Comment: He hasn’t raced since March 12, when he won the Tampa Bay Derby, and has never run farther than 1 1/16 miles. But he has a great trainer-jockey combo.
Jockey/trainer: Victor Espinoza/Ron Moquett
Comment: Another horse that needs a fast pace; there might be some horses behind him in the first half-mile, but not many. Might be good to use on the tail end of trifectas and superfectas.
Jockey/trainer: Kent Desormeaux/Keith Desormeaux
Comment: He has the best speed figure off his win in the Santa Anita Derby but he benefitted from a fast pace. He’ll be running late and has finished behind Nyquist three times.
12. Tom’s Ready
Jockey/trainer: Brian Hernandez/Dallas Stewart
Comment: He has won only race, but his trainer has a habit of hitting the board with long-priced horses.
Jockey/trainer: Mario Gutierrez/Doug O’Neill
Comment: Undefeated in seven races, the 2-year-old champion had a visually impressive victory in the Florida Derby but the speed figure was ordinary. His sire, Uncle Mo, did not run any long distances, and whether his offspring can is unknown.
Jockey/trainer: Junior Alvarado/Kiaran McLaughlin
Comment: He looked like a potential favorite until he surrendered to Nyquist in the Florida Derby. He’d have to reverse form. His workouts have been quick but his behavior has been erratic.
Jockey/trainer: John Velazquez/Todd Pletcher
Comment: Has three wins and a second in four starts. Had a gritty victory in the Wood Memorial but a maiden was only a head behind. Great trainer-jockey combination.
Jockey/trainer: Irad Ortiz/Chad Brown
Comment: He failed miserably as the favorite in the Wood Memorial but won his other three races.
17. Mor Spirit
Jockey/trainer: Gary Stevens/Bob Baffert
Comment: Baffert is the trainer, so that makes him dangerous. Has never been worse than second in seven races.
Jockey/trainer: Emisael Jaramillo/Gustavo Delgado
Comment: Only 1 for 6 lifetime, but his second-place finish in the Florida Derby shows he has potential. Would be good to use in trifectas and superfectas.
19. Brody’s Cause
Jockey/trainer: Luis Saez/Dale Romans
Comment: He won his first race at Churchill Downs but doesn’t seem fast enough. He’ll get the distance but he lacks winning acceleration.
20. Danzing Candy
Jockey/trainer: Mike Smith/Clifford Sise
Comment: The front-runner. How fast he runs the first quarter-mile could affect the race critically. The trainer said he’s at the Derby because the owners want to be there. That doesn’t sound encouraging.
Prediction: 1. Outwork; 2. Mor Spirit; 3. Nyquist.
Weights: 126 pounds. Distance: 1¼ miles. Purse: $2,391,600 if 20 start. First place: $1,631,000. Second place: $400,000. Third place: $200,000. Fourth place: $100,000. Fifth place: $60,000. Post time: 6:34 p.m. TV: NBC.