On Saturday, 20 horses and jockeys will sprint around the one and a quarter mile Churchill Downs race track in Louisville, Kentucky, for the chance to win the esteemed $2 million Kentucky Derby prize. Hundreds of millions of dollars are bet on the race each year, not to mention the money spent on extravagant hats that seem to be a part of the dress code. With so much money at stake, which horse will win the Kentucky Derby?
In order to earn a coveted spot in the Kentucky Derby, each horse had to compete in a series of 35 races across the world called the "Road to the Kentucky Derby." The top four competitors in each race were awarded points, and the 20 horses with the most points at the end of the race series were given a slot at Saturday's starting gate. The horses and their jockeys have been competing for an exclusive spot in the derby since September and have a lot riding on their performance, as do all the people that bet on them to win.
With more than 100,000 people in the audience in Louisville and more watching from home, there's a lot of pressure to win. Here are the top three horses most likely to come in first place in the Kentucky Derby on Saturday.
American Pharoah is the favorite to win this year's Kentucky Derby, with the best odds of 5-2. His sire, Pioneer of the Nile, came in second in the 2009 Kentucky Derby, and American Pharoah finished first in the Arkansas Derby in April, the Rebel race in March, and the FrontRunner in September. His trainer, Bob Baffert, won the Kentucky Derby back-to-back in 1997 and 1998, with Silver Charm and Real Quiet, and in 2002 with War Emblem.
With odds of 3-1, some experts predict that Dortmund will finish first on Saturday. Dortmund won the Santa Anita Derby in April, San Felipe in March, the Robert B. Lewis Race in February, and the Los Alamitos Futurity in December. His sire, Big Brown, won the 2008 Kentucky Derby.
Carpe Diem has the third best odds, 8-1, and is the son of international champion Giant's Causeway. He placed first in the Blue Grass race in April, the Tampa Bay Derby in March, and the Breeders' Futurity in October. His trainer, Todd Pletcher, won the 2010 Kentucky Derby with Super Saver and also trained two Kentucky Oaks winners, Rags to Riches and Princess of Sylmar.
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