A capsule look at the Kentucky Derby field – USA TODAY

Horse racing expert Jennie Rees of The (Louisville) Courier-Journal breaks down the field for Saturday’s Kentucky Derby.

1.OCHO OCHO OCHO

Why he can win: The Delta Downs Jackpot winner got nothing out the San Felipe, when eighth in his first start in 3 ½ months, then was a much-improved third in the Blue Grass. Third start off a layoff is a strong betting angle.

Why he won’t: Before Ocho Ocho Ocho was committed to the Derby, trainer Jim Cassidy suggested this was a bad year to be taking a shot. He’s right. Post 1 last produced a winner in 1986,and the diminutive colt could get buried.

Notable: Sire Street Sense won the 2007 Derby. The best finish by a horse who ran in the Delta Jackpot has been fifth. Trainer Jim Cassidy’s last Derby starter was 2002. Jockey Elvis Trujillo was 15th with his only other mount.

Career Record

Year Starts 1st 2nd 3rd Earnings

2015 2 0 0 1 $100,250

2014 3 3 0 0 $693,600

Total 5 3 0 1 $793,850

Points races (30 earned)

April 4 (Blue Grass/20, G1): Faltered in the stretch, finished third by 5 ½ lengths

Nov. 22 (Delta Downs Jackpot/10, G3): Won stretch battle to best Mr. Z by a nose for the win

Essentials:

By Street Sense, out of Winner

Bred in Kentucky, foaled April 2, 2012

Owners: DP Racing LLC

Trainer: James Cassidy Jockey: Elvis Trujillo

2. CARPE DIEM

Why he can win: Keeneland’s Blue Grass winner made the tough transition from winning a 5 1/2-furlong maiden race to taking the Grade I Breeders’ Futurity at 1 1/16 miles – he’s a serious horse. His final fractions in the Blue Grass indicate he wants to run farther, and his BRIS speed figures put him among the fastest horses. A $1.6 million 2-year-old purchase, he’s supposed to win.

Why he won’t: His Beyer speed figures suggest at least five others are faster. Only one $1 million-plus auction purchase has won the Derby ($4 million yearling Fusaichi Pegasus in 2000.) He stayed at Keeneland to keep his head straight, and an excitable horse and over-the-top Derby crowd is not a good mix. Post 2 last won in 1978 (Triple Crown winner Affirmed) and could completely take him out of his game.

Notable: The last seven-figure auction purchase to even make the Derby was $3.7 million Dunkirk, 11th in 2009. Trainer Todd Pletcher and co-owner WinStar Farm teamed to win the 2010 Derby (Super Saver). Jockey John Velazquez won the 2011 Derby on Animal Kingdom, a pick-up mount, going 0 for 15 with his other mounts.

Career Record

Year Starts 1st 2nd 3rd Earnings

2015 2 2 0 0 $810,000

2014 3 2 1 0 $709,800

Total 5 4 1 0 $1,519,800

Points races (164 earned)

April 4 (Blue Grass/100, G1): Stalked pace racing wide on the turn, drew away to beat Danzig Moon by three lengths

March 7 (Tampa Bay Derby/50, G2): Stalked leader through six furlongs, drew off for five length victory over Ami’s Flatter

Nov. 1 (Breeders’ Cup Juvenile/4, G1) Game late run after racing wide on turn, second to Texas Red by 6 ½ lengths

Oct. 4 (Breeders’ Futurity/10, G1): Pressed hard early, but drew off to win by 6 ½ over Mr. Z

Essentials:

By Giant’s Causeway out of Rebridled Dreams

Bred in Kentucky, foaled Feb. 29, 2012

Owners: WinStar Farm LLC and Stonestreet Stables

Trainer: Todd Pletcher Jockey: John Velazquez

3. MATERIALITY

Why he can win: Any horse who goes from impressive debut win at six furlongs to impressive win in 1 1/8 mile-stakes to impressive Florida Derby victory is a serious horse. He’s among the fastest horses in the field, and sire Afleet Alex won the Preakness and Belmont.

Why he won’t: The grand-daddy of all reasons: Apollo in 1882 is the only Derby winner who did not race as a 2-year-old. He’s never been tested, and Big Brown (2008) is the only horse since Regret in 1915 to win the Derby in its fourth lifetime start. This is a much tougher year than 2008. His closing fractions in the Florida Derby, though over a dreadfully slow track, were too slow.

Notable: Post position 3 last won in 1998 (Real Quiet). Two-time reigning Eclipse Award champion jockey Javier Castellano’s best finish with eight prior mounts is fourth. Trainer Todd Pletcher’s prior Derby record: 1-2-3 in 40 starts, second all-time. This is the first Derby starter for New Mexico’s Alto Racing.

Career Record

Year Starts 1st 2nd 3rd Earnings

2015 3 3 0 0 $656,028

2014 0 0 0 0 $0

Total 3 3 0 0 $656,028

Points races (100 earned)

March 28 (Florida Derby/100, G1): Bumped at the start, but led after a half-mile and won by 1 ¼ lengths over Upstart.

Essentials:

By Afleet Alex out of Wildwood Flower

Bred in Kentucky, foaled April 9, 2012

Owners: Alto Racing LLC

Trainer: Todd Pletcher Jockey: Javier Castellano

4. TENCENDUR

Why he can win: His second in the Wood was huge. He’s an improving horse who has cut a striking figure training here.

Why he won’t: If he couldn’t hold on to win the Wood after pressing a slow pace, he probably doesn’t want to go 1 ¼ miles. If a New York-born horse is going to win this year, it’s Upstart or International Star.

Notable: This is the first Derby for trainer George Weaver, who grew up in Louisville. The only New York-bred to win the Derby was Funny Cide (2003). Jockey Manny Franco, 20, is a rising star in New York and in his Derby debut. Owner Philip Birsh, president of Broadway’s Playbill, has never had a Derby starter.

Career Record

Year Starts 1st 2nd 3rd Earnings

2015 4 1 1 0 $247,500

2014 1 0 0 1 $6,000

Total 5 1 1 1 $253,500

Points races (41 earned)

April 4 (Wood Memorial/40, G1): Led in the stretch, but could not hold off winner Frosted, finished two lengths back in second

Feb. 7 (Withers/1, G3): Even fourth throughout, losing by four lengths to Far From Over

Essentials:

By Warrior’s Reward, out of Still Secret

Bred in New York, foaled March 9

Owners: Philip Birsh

Trainer: George Weaver Jockey: Manny Franco

5. DANZIG MOON

Why he can win: He is rapidly improving. He lost by 12 lengths to Carpe Diem in the Tampa Bay Derby and three lengths when second in Keeneland’s Blue Grass. He’ll be closing late and the speed could collapse in front. He has looked great training.

Why he won’t: He might have three lengths to make up on Carpe Diem, but how about American Pharoah, Dortmund, Frosted etc.? Some of the speed might collapse, but at least some of those horses figure to keep going.

Notable: Owner John Oxley won the 2001 Derby with Monarchos. His wife, Debby, grew up in Shively and was the University of Louisville’s 2013 Alumna of the Year. Post 5 is tied with 10 for the most wins (nine) in the starting-gate era. Trainer Mark Casse’s prior two Derby starters were 10th and 18th. Jockey Julien Leparoux’s best finish with seven prior mounts is fifth.

Career Record

Year Starts 1st 2nd 3rd Earnings

2015 3 1 1 0 $241,500

2014 2 0 1 0 $9,620

Total 5 1 2 0 $251,120

Points races (45 earned)

April 4 (Blue Grass/40, G1): Raced wide, finished second by three lengths, no match to winner Carpe Diem

March 7 (Tampa Bay Derby/5, G2): Fourth by 12 ½ lengths, no rally

Essentials:

By Malibu Moon, out of Leaveminthedust

Bred in Ontario, Canada, foaled March 24, 2012

Owners: John Oxley

Trainer: Mark Casse Jockey: Julien Leparoux

6. MUBTAAHIJ

Why he can win: He blew away the UAE Derby field by eight lengths, and after going 0 for 2 on turf is a head short of being unbeaten in five dirt starts. He’s the only horse to have run farther than 1 1/8 miles, going 2-for-2 at 1 3/16 miles. Trainer Mike de Kock is one of the world’s great horsemen who has never been less than third in six U.S. starts.

Why he won’t: He blew away European horses on dirt; American dirt horses are different, faster breed. He takes the worst of it, having a long ship from Dubai. The racing gods like a winner whose name they can pronounce.

Notable: Pat Cummings, who writes about and handicaps Dubai racing extensively, says to knock off 2-3 seconds off the time because the timing starts when the gate opens, not after a run up to the pole as over here. This is the first Derby mount for Christophe Soumillon. Owner Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum is a first-cousin to Dubai’s ruling family.

Career Record

Year Starts 1st 2nd 3rd Earnings

2015 4 3 1 0 $1,445,000

2014 3 1 0 0 $16,332

Total 7 4 1 0 $1,461,332

Points races (100 earned)

March 28 (UAE Derby/100, G2): Tracked early pace, easily pulled away in the stretch to win by eight lengths

Essentials:

By Dubawi out of Pennegale

Bred in Ireland, foaled April 28, 2012

Owner: Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum

Trainer: Michael de Kock Jockey: Christophe Soumillion

7. EL KABEIR —Scratched

Why he can win: He won Churchill’s Kentucky Jockey Club and is wonderfully consistent. He’s reunited with three-time Kentucky Derby winner Calvin Borel, who won on the far more improbable Mine That Bird in 2009. His Wood Memorial third is better than it looks.

Why he won’t: He doesn’t want to run that far. He looked good when beating up on lesser horses during the winter at Aqueduct. Secretariat is the only Gotham winner to wear the roses, and he’s not Secretariat.

Notable: Trainer John Terranova’s only prior starter finished 19th. Owner Zayat Stables also has American Pharoah and Mr. Z in the race. Borel won the Derby in 2007 (Street Sense), ’09 (Mine That Bird) and Super Saver (’10).

Career Record

Year Starts 1st 2nd 3rd Earnings

2015 4 2 1 1 $500,000

2014 5 2 1 1 $268,892

Total 9 4 2 2 $768,892

Points races (95 earned)

April 4 (Wood Memorial/20, G1): Raced wide into the lane, finished third, 5 ¾ lengths behind winner Frosted

March 7 (Gotham/50, G3): Trailed the field early, sweeping move to take command in the stretch, won by 2 ¾

Feb. 7 (Withers/4, G3): Lost stretch battle to Far From Over, finished 1 ¾ lengths back

Jan. 3 (Jerome Handicap/10, G3) Rated behind leaders, kicked clear in the stretch to win by 4 ¾ going away

Nov. 29 (Kentucky Jockey Club/10, G2): Led all the way, lasted late

October 4 (Champagne/1, G1): Tired, finished four by 17 ¾ lengths

Essentials:

By Scat Daddy out of Great Venue

Bred Florida, foaled March 18, 2012

Owners: Zayat Stables LLC

Trainer: John Terranova Jockey: Calvin Borel

8. DORTMUND

Why he can win: The Santa Anita Derby winner is 6 for 6, including an allowance win at Churchill last fall, has shown he loves being in a dogfight and is among the fastest horses in the field. The California horses are the best group in the country. The massive horse has a big loping stride and sire Big Brown won the 2008 Derby.

Why he won’t: While visually impressive, he didn’t exactly cruise home and his final eighth (13.1) and three-eighths (38.2) in the Santa Anita Derby are slightly over the Final Fraction Theory guidelines that say the Kentucky Derby winner probably came home in under 13 and 38 in its final prep. He’s so big that he can’t afford to get stopped in traffic. The California horses are overrated.

Notable: Trainer Bob Baffert is 3-3-2 with 24 prior Derby starters, last winning in 2002 with War Emblem. Kaleem Shah, in his first Derby, also owns 2014 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Bayern. Jockey Martin Garcia’s best finish with three prior starters is sixth.

Career Record

Year Starts 1st 2nd 3rd Earnings

2015 3 3 0 0 $930,000

2014 3 3 0 0 $359,400

Total 6 6 0 0 $1,289,400

Points races (170 earned)

April 4 (Santa Anita Derby/100, G1): Bobbled at start, but led at every call, won by 4 ¼ lengths over One Lucky Dane

March 7 (San Felipe/50, G2): Led gate to wire, drifted out in deep stretch, beat Prospect Park by 1 ¼ lengths

Feb. 7 (Robert B. Lewis/10, G3) Passed in the stretch by Firing Line, but fought back along the rail to win by a head

Dec. 20, 2014 (Los Alamitos Futurity/10, G1): Won a head bob over Firing Line in a determined effort

9. BOLO

Why he can win: He might be the best turf 3-year-old in the country and grass horses often fare well in the Derby (see Animal Kingdom and Barbaro). He very well could move up by getting away from Santa Anita’s speed-favoring dirt and should love the distance at a huge price.

Why he won’t: He’s not had the same finish on dirt as turf. And for every turf horse who relishes Churchill, two finish up the track.

Notable: Carla Gaines has never had a Derby starter. The best Derby finish by a female trainer is Casual Lies’ second in 1992 for Shelley Riley. Former Churchill Downs leading rider Bejarano’s best finish from nine prior mounts is fourth.

Career Record

Year Starts 1st 2nd 3rd Earnings

2015 2 0 0 2 $168,000

2014 3 2 0 0 $81,700

Total 5 2 0 2 $249,700

Points races (30 earned)

April 15 (Santa Anita Derby/20, G1): Got up for third, 6 ½ lengths out.

March 7 (San Felipe/10, G2): Challenged leaders in the stretch, but steadied and finished third, 1 ¾ lengths behind Dortmund

Essentials:

By Temple City, out of Aspen Mountain

Bred in Kentucky, foaled Feb. 19, 2012

Owners: Golden Pegasus Racing and Earle Mack

Trainer: Carla Gaines Jockey: Rafael Bejarano

10. FIRING LINE

Why he can win: He was a head and a head-bob from beating unbeaten Dortmund before taking the Sunland Derby by 14 in track-record time. If you like Dortmund at 3-1, you’ve got to love Firing Line at 12-1.

Why he won’t: Never mind the big Sunland win. Track was blazing fast and there was nothing behind him. Pedigree doesn’t lend itself to 1 ¼ miles.

Notable: Three-time winner Gary Stevens would be the first jockey to capture the Derby after a total knee replacement, which followed a return after a 7 ½-year retirement. His last Derby winner was Silver Charm in 1997. This is trainer Simon Callaghan’s first Derby.

Career Record

Year Starts 1st 2nd 3rd Earnings

2015 2 1 1 0 $430,000

2014 3 1 2 0 $144,800

Total 5 2 3 0 $574,800

Points races (58 earned)

March 28 (Sunland Derby/50, G3): Led every step of the way to win by 14 ¼ lengths

Feb. 7 (Robert B. Lewis/4, G3): Took the lead briefly in the stretch, but lost by a head to Dortmund in a game effort

Dec. 20 (Los Alamitos Futurity/4, G1): Finished second by a head after a rough stretch run

Essentials:

By Line of David, out of Sister Girl Blues

Bred in Kentucky, foaled Jan. 19

Owners: Arnold Zetcher LLC

Trainer: Simon Callaghan Jockey: Gary Stevens


11. STANFORDscratched

12. INTERNATIONAL STAR

Why he can win: The Louisiana Derby winner is extremely consistent and in the best form of his life, sweeping New Orleans’ three Derby preps. He’s 3-for-3 with jockey Miguel Mena and shown an affinity for getting through on the rail, but he’ll also maneuver through traffic to get running room on the outside. Sire Fusaichi Pegasus won the 2000 Derby.

Why he won’t: There will be twice as many horses for the late-runner to pick his way through, and only Calvin Borel gets through on the rail in the Derby. Others are faster and the competition at the Fair Grounds was suspect.

Notable: Trainer Mike Maker’s best finish out of eight prior starters was eighth. Owner Ken Ramsey’s best finish with six Derby starters is eighth. Jockey Miguel Mena was last on his only prior mount.

Career Record

Year Starts 1st 2nd 3rd Earnings

2015 3 3 0 0 $810,000

2014 6 2 2 0 $200,979

Total 9 5 2 0 $1,010,979

Points races (171 earned)

March 28 (Louisiana Derby/100, G2): Closed from the back of the pack, bested Stanford by a neck to sweep Fair Grounds preps

Feb. 21(Risen Star/50, G2): Rallied along the rail, beat War Story by one length

Jan. 17 (Lecomte/10, G3):Boxed inside until deep stretch, got clear to win by 2 1-/2 lengths over War Story

Nov. 29 (Kentucky Jockey Club/1, G2):Chased the pace but flattened out, lost to El Kabeir by 5 ¾ lengths

Oct. 5 (Grey Stakes/10, G3): Rallied from far back, up late to win by 1 ¼

Essentials:

By Fusaichi Pegasus out of Parlez

Bred in New York, foaled March 14, 2012

Owners: Ken and Sarah Ramsey

Trainer: Mike Maker Jockey: Miguel Mena

13. ITSAKNOCKOUT

Why he can win: Throw-out his last race and he’s 3-for-3, with a versatile stalking style that will benefit from all the speed up front. He’s got a puncher’s chance.

Why he won’t: Kind of hard to throw out a fourth-place defeat by 21 lengths. You don’t go down for the count like that and rebound to win the Derby.

Notable: Louisville’s Jack Wolf, founder of Starlight Racing, had his best finish of six Derby horses when tepid favorite Harlan’s Holiday finished seventh in 2002. The last Derby winner with a strong Louisville ownership connection was Old Rosebud in 1914. Jockey Luis Saez was 18th and 19th with his two prior mounts.

Career Record

Year Starts 1st 2nd 3rd Earnings

20153 2 0 0 $313,760

20141 1 0 0 $48,600

Total 4 3 0 0 $335,360

Points races (60 earned)

March 28 (Florida Derby/10, G1): Finished fourth, 21 lengths behind winner Materiality

Feb. 21 (Fountain of Youth/50, G2) Lost bumping battle in the stretch, but won the race through disqualification of Upstart

Essentials:

By Lemon Drop Kid, out of Stormy B

Bred in Kentucky, foaled March 16, 2012

Owners: Starlight Racing

Trainer: Todd Pletcher Jockey: Luis Saez

14. KEEN ICE

Why he can win: All the speed will set it up for a late-runner who absolutely is bred for 1 ¼ miles. Trainer Dale Romans has pulled off bigger upsets at his hometown track: like Court Vision winning the 2011 Breeders’ Cup Mile at 65-1.

Why he won’t: At 1 for 7, does the Louisiana Derby fourth-place finisher want to win? Others are better.

Notable: Romans and owner Donegal Racing have teamed for a pair of Derby thirds (Paddy O’Prado in 2010 and Dullahan in 2012). Jockey Kent Desormeaux is a three-time Derby winner.

Career Record

Year Starts 1st 2nd 3rd Earnings

2015 3 0 0 1 $81,520

2014 4 1 0 1 $78,875

Total 7 1 0 2 $160,395

Points races (22 earned)

March 28 (Louisiana Derby/10, G1): Raced wide on both turns, finished fourth by 5 ¾ lengths

Feb. 21 (Risen Star/10, G2): Game effort to finish third by 2 ¾ lengths

Nov. 29 (Remsen Stakes/2, G2) Third by 8 ¼ lengths, never a threat

Essentials:

By Curlin, out of Medomak

Bred in Kentucky, foaled March 25

Owners: Donegal Racing

Trainer: Dale Romans Jockey: Kent Desormeaux

15. FROSTED

Why he can win: He’s never run a poor race and, after a minor throat procedure and other adjustments, had a breakthrough race with his big Wood Memorial victory. After years of trying to win from Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed’s Godolphin Racing gets it right this time by preparing in America.

Why he won’t: He made too big a leap forward, figuring to regress off the Wood. No Wood starter has finished in the top three since 2003. Can a horse win the Derby off that much tinkering a month out?

Notable: Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, a Lexington native, finished second in the 2005 Derby with 71-1 Closing Argument, his first of five prior starters. With the scratch of Stanford, Frosted now moves out of the first stall in the auxiliary gate to the last start (post 14) in the main starting gate. Jockey Joel Rosario won the 2013 Derby on Orb. Sheikh Mohammed’s Godolphin Racing’s best finish with eight prior starters was sixth.

Career Record

Year Starts 1st 2nd 3rd Earnings

2015 3 1 1 0 $686,200

2014 4 1 3 0 $150,600

Total 7 2 4 0 $836,800

Points races (113 earned)

April 4 (Wood Memorial/100, G1):Raced wide on the turns, got up in deep stretch to win by two lengths over Tencendur

Feb. 21 (Fountain of Youth/5, G2): Fourth to Itsaknockout and Upstart after a rough trip, 4 ¾ lengths behind the winner

Jan. 24 (Holy Bull/4, G2): Bumped at the start, finished second by 5 ½ lengths

Nov. 28 (Remsen/4, G2): Stalked pace, couldn’t get by the winner, finished second by 2 ½ lengths

Essentials:

By Tapit, out of Fast Cookie

Bred in Kentucky, foaled April 18, 2012

Owners: Godolphin Racing LLC

Trainer: Kiaran McLaughlin Jockey: Joel Rosario

16. WAR STORY

Why he can win: He’s never been worse than third and the speed will set it up for him. The racing gods owe jockey Joe Talamo, who with his two prior Derby horses saw favored I Want Revenge scratched race morning in 2009 and Sidney’s Candy draw post 20 and finish 17th the next year.

Why he won’t: Others are better. Racing gods have a very long waiting list before getting to a 25-year-old.

Notable: The only gelding in the field was purchased privately after he won his debut at Churchill last fall for trainer Ron Moquett, who has Far Right in the Derby. Trainer Tom Amoss’ best finish with three Derby starters was fifth. This is Loooch Racing’s first Derby starter.

Career Record

Year Starts 1st 2nd 3rd Earnings

2015 3 0 2 1 $195,000

2014 2 2 0 0 $48,600

Total 5 2 2 1 $243,600

Points races (44 earned)

March 28 (Louisiana Derby/20, G2): Third by 4 ½ lengths to Frosted, flattened out in the stretch

Feb. 21 (Risen Star/20, G2): Slow start, raced wide, finished second, a length behind International Star

Jan. 17 (Lecomte/4, G3): Off slow, finished second by 2 ½ lengths

Essentials:

By Northern Afleet, out of Belle Watling

Bred in Kentucky, foaled March 25

Owners: Loooch Racing Stables Inc., Glenn Ellis, and Christopher Dunn

Trainer: Tom Amoss Jockey: Joe Talamo

17. MR. Z

Why he can win: No horse has been more battle-tested or faced more top horses while racing all over the country and almost always being in the hunt. No trainer has won more Derbys out of post 16 (Mr. Z’s new starting spot with Stanford’s scratch) than D. Wayne Lukas, whose four Derby victories include Thunder Gulch in 1995 and Charismatic 1999 out of No. 16).

Why he won’t: Well, there is that last place in the Louisiana Derby. At 1 for 12, does he want to win? It’s rare for horses who haven’t previously won a stakes to win the Derby.

Notable: Jockey Ramon Vazquez is in his first Derby. The last Derby winner whose first career victory came at Churchill Downs was 1933, when Brokers Tip broke his maiden in the Derby.

Career Record

Year Starts 1st 2nd 3rd Earnings

2015 4 0 0 0 $152,500

2014 8 1 4 1 $499,726

Total 12 1 4 4 $652,226

Points races (34 earned)

April 11 (Arkansas Derby/20, G1): Brief bid, but finished third by 8 ¾ lengths

March 28 (Southwest/2, G3): Led through a mile, just out finished by winner Far Right, third by ¾ of a length

Jan. 19 (Smarty Jones/2, $150K):Pressed pace throughout, finished third by 2 14 lengths

Dec. 20 (Los Alamitos Futurity/2, G1): Third by a head in game effort

Nov. 22 (Delta Downs Jackpot/4, G3): Second by a nose to Ocho Ocho Ocho

Oct. 4 (Breeders’ Futurity/4 G1): Second by 6 ¼ lengths to Carpe Diem

Essentials:

By Malibu Moon, out of Stormy Bear

Bred in Kentucky, foaled on Jan. 12, 2012

Owners: Zayat Stables LLC

Trainer: D. Wayne Lukas Jockey: Ramon Vazquez

18. AMERICAN PHAROAH

Why he can win: He is the most brilliant horse in the field, his four wins coming by a combined 22 ¼ lengths, including the Arkansas Derby by eight. Yet he showed that day he’s content to rate behind a horse. Trainer Bob Baffert uses word “special” – and he should know. He’ll win because that guarantees headline writers everywhere will helpfully change the spelling to American Pharaoh.

Why he won’t: He’s never been tested. We still don’t know how he’ll react if challenged by Dortmund, Carpe Diem, Materiality, Upstart and Firing Line. With Stanford’s scratch, he’ll now break out of post 17, which is 0 for 36 in the starting-gate era. His pedigree suggests 1 ¼ mile at this stage of his life is a stretch. Going back at least 70 years, no horse has won the Derby without having previously competed in a race with at least 10 starters.

Notable: American Pharoah is a son of Zayat Stables’ 2009 Derby runner-up Pioneerof the Nile, one of three Derby seconds for the owner. Jockey Victor Espinoza won last year’s Derby on California Chrome and in 2002 on the Baffert-trained War Emblem.

Career Record

Year Starts 1st 2nd 3rd Earnings

2015 2 2 0 0 $1,050,000

2014 3 2 0 0 $361,500

Total 5 4 0 0 $1,411,500

Points races (160 earned)

April 11 (Arkansas Derby/100, G1): Drew off handily in stretch to win by eight lengths over Far Right

March 14 (Rebel/50, G2): Bobbled at the start, but led all the way around to win, 6 ¼ lengths ahead of Madefromlucky

Sept. 17 (FrontRunner/10,G1): Led all the way to win by 3 ¼ lengths, with eventual Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Texas Red third

Essentials:

By Pioneerof the Nile out of Littleprincessemma

Bred in Kentucky, foaled Feb. 2, 2012

Owners: Zayat Stables LLC

Trainer: Bob Baffert Jockey: Victor Espinoza

19. UPSTART

Why he can win: This horse absolutely never runs a bad race. He’s fast enough and is tractable enough to lay just behind the less tractable horses. Distance won’t be a problem, as he’s the grandson of two Belmont winners. He beat Frosted on the square in Gulfstream Park’s Holy Bull, and Frosted is very live for the Derby.

Why he won’t: Mine That Bird is the only Derby winner in the last 20 years to come home the final three-eighths mile in his last prep in such a crawling 40 seconds.

Notable: Trainer Rick Violette has had two prior starts, including fifth-place Samraat last year. Jose Ortiz’ only prior mount was Samraat. This is owner Ralph Evans’ first Derby starter. WinStar Farm, which bought a minority share in Upstart, won 2010 Derby with Super Saver.

Career Record

Year Starts 1st 2nd 3rd Earnings

2015 3 1 2 0 $507,680

2014 4 2 1 1 $463,800

Total 7 3 3 1 $971,480

Points races (76 earned)

March 28 (Florida Derby/40, G1): Pressed the early pace, couldn’t get by winner Materiality, lost by 1 ¼

Feb 21 (Fountain of Youth/20, G2): Hit the wire first, but drifted out in the stretch and was disqualified and placed second for bumping Itsaknockout

Jan. 24 (Holy Bull Stakes/10, G2): Raced wide on the turn, drew clear to win by 5 ½

Nov. 1, 2014 (Breeders’ Cup Juvenile/2, G1): Finished third, 6 ½ lengths out after a very rough trip

Oct. 4 (Champagne Stakes/4, G1): Lacked a late bid, finished 2 ½ lengths back in second place

Essentials:

By Flatter, out of Party Silks

Bred in New York, foaled April 13

Owners: Ralph Evans and WinStar Farm

Trainer: Rick Violette Jockey: Jose Ortiz

20. FAR RIGHT

Why he can win: All the speed will set up for a closer. Little horse is a harder trier who doesn’t mind traffic and thrives on coming up the rail. He’s already run well in three races at Churchill Downs.

Why he won’t: Other horses are faster. Calvin Borel on El Kabeir will be on the rail in front of him. If you go up inside Borel, you’re on the turf course. The Derby gods reside in Louisville and will not let a horse named Far Right win in John Yarmuth’s congressional district.

Notable: This is the first Derby horse for trainer Ron Moquett. Jockey Mike Smith won the 2005 Derby on 50-1 Giacomo. He’s 1-4-1 in 20 mounts, tying for the most seconds. This is owner Harry Rosenblum’s first Derby starter. His partner, Robert LaPenta, was second in 2010 with Ice Box.

Career Record

Year Starts 1st 2nd 3rd Earnings

2015 3 2 1 0 $470,000

2014 6 1 2 2 $155,766

Total 9 3 3 2 $625,766

Points races (62 earned)

April 11 (Arkansas Derby/40, G1): Raced far back early, finished second by eight lengths, never threatened winner American Pharoah

Feb. 22 (Southwest/10, G3): Trailed the field early, but made up six lengths in the stretch to win by 1 ¾ lengths

Jan. 19 (Smarty Jones/10, $150K): Patiently ridden, plenty left in the stretch to win by 1 ¾ lengths

Nov. 22, 2014 (Delta Downs Jackpot/2, G3): Rough trip, finished third by four lengths

Essentials:

By Notional, out of Zindi

Bred in Kentucky, foaled March 4, 2012

Owners: Harry Rosenblum and Robert LaPenta

Trainer: Ron Moquette Jockey: Mike Smith

21. FRAMMENTO

Why he can win: The speed will set it up for a late closer. Nick Zito know how to win the Derby, doing so twice.

Why he won’t: Others will be closing faster. It’s rare for horses who haven’t won a prior stakes to win the Derby.

Notable: He will be the first horse to draw in after a scratch and actually run in the Derby since Churchill added the “also-eligible” list in 2012. Jockey Corey Nakatani has the most Derby mounts (17) without victory.

Career Record

Year Starts 1st 2nd 3rd Earnings

2015 3 0 0 1 $92,800

2014 4 1 1 0 $46,900

Total 7 1 1 1 $139,700

Points races (20 earned)

April 4 (Blue Grass Stakes/10, G1): Finished fourth, 7 ¼ lengths behind winner Carpe Diem

Feb. 21 (Fountain of Youth/10, G2) Third, 4 ¼ lengths from the front.

Essentials:

By Midshipman, out of Ginger Bay

Bred in Kentucky, foaled April 14

Owners: Mossarosa

Trainer: Nick Zito Jockey: Corey Nakatani

22. TALE OF VERVE

Why he can win: He’s the only U.S. horse to have won at 1 3/16 miles.

Why he won’t: But that was in a maiden race – on his sixth try. Trainer Dallas Stewart finished second the last two years with longshots, but they had at least been competing in stakes. Plus he needs a scratch by 9 a.m. Friday to run.

Career Record

Year Starts 1st 2nd 3rd Earnings

2015 4 1 1 0 $44,940

2014 2 0 0 2 $5,600

Total 6 1 1 2 $54,640

Points races (0 earned)

Essentials:

By Tale of Ekati, out of Verve

Bred in Kentucky, foaled April 12

Owners: Charles Fipke

Trainer: Dallas Stewart Jockey: Brian Hernandez Jr.