Jockey Victor Espinoza on board American Pharoah in the $1 million Arkansas Derby.
If the Melbourne Cup is the race that stops THIS nation, the Kentucky Derby brings a fair proportion of the United States to a standstill.
Known variously as the Run for the Roses, the fastest two minutes in sports or for fans of Hunter S Thompson, simply decadent and depraved… the Churchill Downs showpiece has captured the public imagination for 141 years, not only as a spectacle in isolation, but as a potential spring board to American Triple Crown glory.
This year's favourite, American Pharoah ($3.40 TAB.com.au) is being proclaimed a future great. Last season's champion two year old is undefeated this year, including an 8 length romp in the Arkansas Derby. Trained by 3 time Derby winning conditioner Bob Baffert, American Pharoah will attempt to go 1 better than his dad, 2009 runner-up Pioneerof the Nile.
Check out the full TAB.COM.AU Market for the Kentucky Derby here.
Baffert is loaded for bear in the race and also sends Dortmund ($4.50) to the gate, the hulking son of Derby winner Big Brown has improved with every run and keen eyed Sky Racing 2 viewers won't have missed his imperious Santa Anita Derby romp. Baffert can't split them, but you can bet 2000 metres at Churchill Downs will.
The other unbeaten contender is Florida Derby hero Materiality ($13), the Todd Pletcher trainee looks to have untapped potential, but has only raced three times and didn't run at two. The last horse to wear the roses with those stats was in 1882, that's right, EIGHTEEN – eighty two.
For depth, it's one of the best in years. I can't wait to hear 'My Old Kentucky Home' and cheer home Dortmund. The giant liver chestnut is the quintessential California boy, fast and blonde, but there is also real toughness there. He's not just the biggest horse in the race, he may also be the best.
Tune into Sky Racing 2 (Ch 520) from 8am (AEST) Sunday for coverage from Churchill Downs.