As the 2013 Kentucky Derby gets closer, picks for the race continue to fly in.
Among the favorites for the 139th Run for the Roses are Shug McGaughey's Orb, Todd Pletcher's Verrazano and Revolutionary, and Doug O'Neill's Goldencents. Other horses are making a climb up the oddsmakers' lists as the Derby gets closer to post time.
A late scratch announced on Friday morning could also have far-reaching effects on the entire Derby field (h/t Churchill Downs PR on Twitter):
As the 19-horse field gets ready to tackle the 1 1/4-mile track, it's time to take a look at the horses that have the best chance to end up in the money.
Favorites, sleepers and "dark-horse candidates" have been talked about all week, but it's time to put a stamp on some predictions for the finish line, winner's circle and your subsequent betting future on Saturday afternoon.
What: 2013 Kentucky Derby (139th running)
Where: Churchill Downs; Louisville, Ky.
When: Saturday, May 4
Post Time: 6:24 p.m. ET
Purse: $2.18 million
Live stream: NBC Sports
2013 Kentucky Derby Layout
|1||SCR (Black Oxny) ||SCR ||SCR ||SCR|
|2||Oxbow ||Gary Stevens ||D. Wayne Lukas ||24-1|
|3||Revolutionary||Calvin Borel||Todd Pletcher ||5-1|
|4||Golden Soul||Robby Albarado||Dallas Stewart||32-1|
|5||Normandy Invasion ||Javier Castellano ||Chad Brown ||8-1|
|6||Mylute ||Rosie Napravnik ||Tom Amoss ||14-1|
|7||Giant Finish||Jose L. Espinoza||Anthony W. Dutrow||43-1|
|8||Goldencents||Kevin Krigger||Doug O'Neill||5-1|
|9||Overanalyze||Rafael Bejarano||Todd Pletcher||15-1|
|10||Palace Malice||Mike Smith||Todd Pletcher||23-1|
|11||Lines of Battle||Ryan Moore||Aidan O'Brien||43-1|
|12||Itsmyluckyday||Elvis Trujillo||Eddie Plesa, Jr.||11-1|
|13||Falling Sky||Luis Saez||John Terranova II||48-1|
|14||Verrazano ||John R. Velazquez ||Todd Pletcher ||11-1|
|15||Charming Kitten ||Edgar Prado ||Todd Pletcher ||32-1|
|16||Orb||Joel Rosario ||Claude R. McGaughey III ||6-1|
|17||Will Take Charge||Jon Court ||D. Wayne Lukas ||30-1|
|18||Frac Daddy||Victor Lebron||Kenny McPeek ||14-1|
|19||Java's War||Julien Leparoux||Kenny McPeek||25-1|
|20||Vyjack||Garrett Gomez ||Rudy Rodriguez ||46-1|
*Odds and post positions via the Kentucky Derby's official Twitter account.
Complete Money Predictions
Calvin Borel and Revolutionary can't be any happier about the draw they got for the race on Saturday.
Borel, a three-time Derby winner who has two of those wins from the inside gate, will start in post No. 3 on Saturday afternoon and will have to contend with only Oxbow to reach the inside rail and stay ahead of the field.
Pat Forde of Yahoo! Sports stated as much on Twitter:
It's a role he's relished in wins during his Hall of Fame career.
Borel is in a familiar position, on a strong horse (two straight wins at Withers and the Louisiana Derby) and got some luck with Black Onyx's scratch.
Orb is one of the odds-on favorites for a reason and was the best horse (by the odds) at 5-2 when the Derby staffers announced the odds on Wednesday.
Like Revolutionary, this horse is riding a winning streak coming into the track and has really come on strong in recent races. It took more than a few maiden races to finally get into marquee competition.
Hall of Famer Shug McGaughey has never won the Derby with a horse, and this could be his best chance in years to take home the rose bouquet and grace the winner's circle on Saturday afternoon.
However, the favorite hasn't won since all the way back in 2008 (Big Brown), and Orb, if he continues to trend in the right direction, will be just that at the time of the gate opening.
I like this horse, his pedigree (includes 1973 Triple Crown winner Secretariat) and his overall aura, but Revolutionary has a better path to the finish line on the inside. Orb will have to hold off both Java's War and Frac Daddy on the outside first.
Show: Normandy Invasion
Normandy Invasion is a horse that continues to impress observers at the track this week.
He's also a bit of a wild stallion, so to speak, and has some of the biggest boom-or-bust potential. He has two second-place finishes at the Wood Memorial (G1) and Remsen (G2). On the flip side, Normandy Invasion has a fifth-place finish at Risen Star (G2).
Claire Novak is among those who have seen this horse train the week leading up to the Derby:
Javier Castellano was in the saddle when this horse almost out-dueled Verrazano at the Wood Memorial, and that experience will be vital in coming down the stretch again to take out the rest of the field.
A third-place finish would be an achievement and a big step toward the Preakness Stakes for Normandy Invasion.
Another fast-riser in terms of both the odds and the views on his ability to compete, Itsmyluckyday will likely cede to fast-starters Falling Sky, Goldencents and Palace Malice in the middle of the draw before making a move down the back stretch.
Elvis Trujillo will be in the saddle, and with two first-place finishes in his last three races prior to a second-place finish to Orb at the Florida Derby, Itsmyluckyday is doing just enough to be considered as an exacta candidate on Saturday.
So there you have it—predictions for Saturday's race are in.
Make your own below, and get ready for an exciting two minutes on Saturday afternoon. The most exciting two minutes in sports, if you're paying attention at home.