Kentucky Derby: Can Justify beat the Curses?

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Trainer Chad Brown has been unabashedly enthusiastic about Good Magic's preparation for the Run for the Roses.

Shipping from Europe might be perceived as a problem, except that Mendelssohn shipped to California to win the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf last fall.

It's the calm before the storm, as Lake Havasu City's only off-track betting location prepares for a wave of customers to descend on the bar and restaurant located off the lobby of the Quality Inn to place wagers on Saturday's 144th running of the Kentucky Derby, the first Triple Crown horse race of the year.

And what colossal long shot hits the board? Remember, none of these horses have ever contested this distance or this size of field. "And once they put blinkers on him (for races) he doesn't do that". I count at least five horses - Justify, Mendelssohn, Magnum Moon, Audible and Good Magic - who might have been favored in other years with lesser competition.

And this year's champ could very well be Magnum Moon, entering Saturday, the Colt is 4-0, his latest win coming last month in the Arkansas Derby.

The field of 20 horses received their post positions on Tuesday morning at Churchill Downs, with Blended Citizen making the field as an "also eligible" addition if one of the other 20 horses in the field can't run Saturday.

Audible, despite a fairly weak top and bottom immediate family, boasts Harlan's Holiday as his grandsire, a victor of the Florida Derby and Blue Grass Stakes.

"But as I told people about it, they were like, 'Oh yeah, I use them all the time, '" Walden said of Audible, which is owned by Amazon and is the world's largest seller and producer of downloadable audiobooks and other spoken-word entertainment.

Here's a look at the entries for this year's race, along with the starting positions and odds.

The wild card here might be Mendelssohn, the horse from Ireland who has been pointed to this race by Aidan O'Brien, the superstar European trainer who a year ago set a single-season record with 28 Grade 1 or Group 1 stakes victories. Eliminating those two, the field is practically wide open.

With a cacophony of snorts and whinnies and all imaginable equine onomatopoeia, the UAE Derby victor and the lone overseas entry made a loud first appearance Thursday morning on the track where he and 19 other colts will run Saturday in the 144th Kentucky Derby. However, Bolt d'Oro ran his heart out in the San Felipe only to follow Justify that controlled the pace in the Santa Anita Derby.

Lukas always believed he'd back in the Derby and said his gut feeling that some horses under his watch were not Derby-ready led him to be a race spectator.

Vino Rosso, trained by Todd Pletcher for Repole Stable and St. Elias Stable, is another that may be overlooked by bettors.

We also asked WFAN producer Brian Monzo and WFAN and CBS Sports Radio hosts Chris Moore and Jody McDonald for their Kentucky Derby picks. Justify is the current favorite at 3-1.

Bob Baffert prepared filly Rayya for the Oaks, but isn't sure how the Kentucky-bred horse will perform stateside after running primarily in the United Arab Emirates. The big gray won the Santa Anita Derby, defeating the colts by a stunning 7 1/2 lengths. Going up against a field of 20 is a daunting task.

This year, a similar rule has been created for European horses. Typically, the UAE Derby victor is a throw-out for the Kentucky Derby, with the long travel and unfamiliar surroundings.