The Kentucky Derby: five reasons why you shouldn't miss it

Bob Baffert-trained Justify installed as early favorite at Kentucky Derby

She has her derby hat, her horse and her hope for a second year of wins. In the past, contender merchandise was limited to a post position t-shirt with the contender's name and gate number.

Mendelssohn, who came over from the U.K.to win the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf previous year on grass, certainly has the pedigree to be great on dirt: Purchased for $3 million at auction as a yearling, he's a half-brother to the great mare Beholder, who won 11 Grade 1s. By comparison, last year's race was won by Always Dreaming, ridden by jockey John Velazquez, in a time of two minutes 3.59 seconds.

Justify and Mendelssohn are the early favorites on the odds to win the 2018 Kentucky Derby at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com, and after Tuesday's post position draw they know where they'll be starting from in the Triple Crown race at Churchill Downs on Saturday afternoon. World-class rider Ryan Moore will be in Louisville to try to end the history of frustration posted by horses coming from Dubai to try to win the Run for the Roses. Kicking off at 3 p.m., the event is free, though you'll get a complimentary cocktail if you RSVP.

Pletcher and Bob Baffert thought that all the key horses in the field got good draws.

While jokes flowed from the stage, and Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin reprised his popular salute to the Louisville classic, the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association's Kentucky Derby Trainers' Dinner also reminded everyone of the strong ties on the backstretch. Justify is one of two horses in Saturday's 1.25-mile race who didn't race at age 2, with Magnum Moon being the other.

"Even if a horse has one race as a 2-year-old and they have that time - I think actually the time after the race is probably as important as the race at 2".

"It's one of the toughest Derbys I've ever seen, " Baffert said. In that group is Lone Sailor, owned by Gayle Benson, the widow of the New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson.

Bob Baffert had reason to both bemoan and celebrate Tuesday's draw. No horse has won without racing at 2 years old since Apollo in 1882.

Yet Magnum Moon is another candidate to break the "Apollo Curse". "Todd's going to have his [horses] ready, and Baffert is going to have his".

"With a wide-open field several dark horses have been causing quite a stir, but none so much as Magnum Moon". According to America's Best Racing's Christina Moore, No. 17 is the dreaded post position. After turning into exclusively the sixth horse to win the Derby with an unbeaten document, Barbaro regarded like he could possibly be on the best way to the Triple Crown when catastrophe struck within the Preakness Stakes two weeks later - he shattered his leg shortly after getting out of the beginning gates.

Of the 20 post positions, the only one to have never produced a victor is No. 17. Solomini is a longshot at 22-1 to do so. The colt is one of five 50-1 shots in the field. Firenze Fire drew the dreaded No. 1 post and also will be standing the longest. His morning-line odds to win are 8-1.

While the top contenders typically get considerable attention, many oddsmakers have liked the chances of some longshots.

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