Published: Mon, May 07, 2018
Sports | By Brett Lawson

Kentucky Derby 2018: Justify, Magnum Moon to test Curse of Apollo

Kentucky Derby 2018: Justify, Magnum Moon to test Curse of Apollo

Who comes out on top?

Also, in three of the last five runnings of the Derby, a horse at odds of 33-1 or better has finished among the top three, triggering the possibility of some very ritzy payoffs in the exacta, for hitting the first two finishers, and the trifecta, for connecting on the first three horses - not to mention place and show payouts that exceed the win price.

Could be. But Churchill Downs oddsmaker Mike Battaglia said he could only make a case for one as the Derby favorite - Justify, who drew No. 7 slot in the main starting gate Tuesday. I didn't want to be the one or the two. If you transported those horses back to, say, 1990, a number of trainers would tell you there's no way those horses could have been fit enough to run 1 1/4 miles.

"The thing about the Kentucky Derby, you have to have the right horse".

Rounding out the post positions are Free Drop Billy at No. 2, Promises Fulfilled at No. 3, Good Magic at No. 6, Hofburg at No. 9, Bolt d'Oro at No. 11, Enticed at No. 12, Bravazo at No. 13, Instilled Regard at No. 15, Magnum Moon at No. 16, Solomini at No. 17, Vino Rosso at No. 18, Noble Indy at No. 19, and Combatant at No. 20.

The talent of the horse, the jockey, the conditions, the race strategy to name a few.

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"It's one of the toughest Derbys that I've ever seen and one of the best draws that I've ever seen".

Justify, of course, now has the best odds at 7-2 out of Post 7. Current Saints' owner Gayle Benson will reportedly be in attendance to watch Lone Sailor between Pelicans playoff games. The Malibu Moon colt's historic mountain to climb is same "curse of Apollo" facing Justify.

By the time the Hall of Fame trainer managed to get into Churchill Downs, the process was halfway done and Justify had landed in the No. 7 post on Tuesday. Both will need to find their elite 2-year-old form to have a shot at getting to the winner's circle on Saturday.

"When they went through the first 10 horses and I hadn't gotten in the mix yet, I thought maybe they'd lost my entries", Pletcher said. Justify and Magnum Moon are the only two in this field that could end the 135-year-old curse.

Post positions may not matter for the long haul, but they can make all the difference in the scrum at the beginning of the race. 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. And most importantly, one huge factor that will undoubtedly affect the outcome of the bets - post position - was just determined an hour or so ago today. Remember, Solomini is a longshot, not a once-in-a-lifetime star.

In Saturday's field, My Boy Jack is the most experienced colt with 10 races. He is listed as 20-1 on the morning line. Trained by Aidan O'Brien, Mendelssohn is the 5-1 second choice. Yet let's not forget that most favorites do not return enough from a $2 wager to cover the cost of a mint julep.

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