Kentucky Derby 2019: The winner of Saturday’s 2019 Kentucky Derby will secure a place in horse racing history, but narratives will expediently shift to whether a Triple Crown is set to follow. It’s finally time to decide who’s going to wear this year’s garland of roses at Churchill Downs.
After 37 years without the accomplishment, two horses have achieved the pinnacle of the sport in the last four years. American Pharoah won the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes in 2015, and Justify did the same in 2018.
The 2019 edition of Derby Day is here. At 6:50 p.m. ET, 19 horses will engage in the fastest two minutes in sports for their share of a whopping $3 million prize purse.
The early favorite for the 2019 Derby, Omaha Beach, has been pulled from the race because of illness. Haikal has also been scratched after suffering a foot abscess, which means there will only be 19 participants instead of the usual 20.
After much anticipation, the 2019 Kentucky Derby is here. A year after Justify conquered a muddy track to kick off his Triple Crown run, five-time Derby-winning trainer Bob Baffert is back with three favorites atop the field for the 145th running. And despite some rainy forecasts, the excitement is high to see whether anyone can top Baffert’s contenders in Louisville.
With morning-line favorite Omaha Beach dropping out of the race with a breathing issue, Baffert’s Game Winner headlines his trio of favored Thoroughbreds set to take the track on Saturday evening. Among the other candidates to take this year’s world-famous race are Tacitus, who is trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott; and Maximum Security, who won the Florida Derby.
The biggest drama is yet to come, but there hasn’t been a shortage of news leading up to the Kentucky Derby.
Once-favorite Omaha Beach will not race because of a trapped epiglottis. An infection led to the scratch of mid-tier contender Haikal. And since Omaha Beach is no longer in the race, jockey Mike Smith will instead pilot Cutting Humor.
The preeminent storyline is whether Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert sees one of his horses win the Run for the Roses to tie Bob A. Jones for the most Kentucky Derby victories by a trainer with six.
Baffert trained Roadster, Game Winner and Improbable, which own the three shortest odds for the Derby.
With Omaha Beach out, the odds for the 2019 Kentucky Derby have been shaken up. Maximum Security is the new favorite, followed by Improbable and Tacitus. Fourth in the betting is Game Winner, but there are plenty of factors swinging in his favor.
First of all, he’s been trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, who is no stranger to the Churchill Downs faithful. Baffert has had five horses trained under him go on to win the Kentucky Derby in the past. Among those are Triple Crown winners American Pharaoh and Justify.
Game Winner is one of three Baffert-trained horses in this year’s race, along with Improbable and Roadster.
Game Winner also has an experienced jockey in Joel Rosario, who won the 2013 Kentucky Derby and the 2014 Belmont Stakes. He knows what it takes to win a race of this magnitude, as does seemingly everyone involved in getting Game Winner to Louisville.