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May 03, 2013

Orb and Verrazano favored in 139th Kentucky Derby


Louisville, KY (Sports Network) - Orb and Verrazano have been installed as the top two favorites for Saturday's $2 million Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs. The 1 1/4-mile classic will have a full field of 20 3-year-olds after 21 were initially entered.

The Kentucky Derby is the first race in the Triple Crown series for 3-year- olds. The Preakness Stakes at Pimlico will be run on May 18 and the Belmont Stakes on June 8.

Affirmed in 1978 was the last thoroughbred to sweep the Triple Crown. Last year, I'll Have Another won the first two legs, but was scratched before the Belmont Stakes with a left leg injury.

Orb, winner of the Florida Derby, is the 7-2 morning-line favorite while Wood Memorial champ Verrazano is right behind at 4-1. Santa Anita Derby winner Goldencents is the third pick at 5-1.

"I'd love to be the favorite, because the favorite's going to have something under his name that makes him the favorite," Orb's trainer Shug McGaughey said earlier. "I wish every one of my horses was the favorite. They're not all going to win, I understand that, but I'm on board with that."

The top two picks in the program are separated by one post. Orb, ridden by Joel Rosario, will start from post 16 and Verrazano, with jockey John Velazquez, has drawn post 14. Goldencents, trained by last year's winning trainer Doug O'Neill, will break from post 8 with jockey Kevin Krigger.

Owned by Stuart Janney III and Phipps Stable, Orb comes into the Run for the Roses with four straight wins, including the Fountain of Youth Stakes, and has earned $921,050 in seven starts.

In 1989, McGaughey saddled the favorite Easy Goer who finished second behind Sunday Silence.

"I think I have a lot more confidence in myself than at that time - not that I didn't have confidence," McGaughey said. "When Easy Goer came here, he couldn't lose, so I had to go up against that. I knew who I was going up against. I was 37 or something, and he (winning trainer Charlie Whittingham) probably already won that many Grade Is that year. I feel good where we are and am glad we're here and hope down the road we're here a lot more times."

Co-owned by Let's Go Stable, Verrazano is perfect in four career starts, all this year. No horse has won the Kentucky Derby without a 2-year-old race since Apollo in 1882.

Verrazano, who also won the Tampa Bay Derby, has earnings of $861,300. The colt can become the first Wood Memorial champ since Fusaichi Pegasus in 2000 to win the Kentucky Derby.

Pletcher has four other horses in the race: Revolutionary, Overanalyze, Palace Malice and Charming Kitten.

Partly owned by Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino, Goldencents has earnings of $1,245,000 with four wins in six starts.

The colt was fourth in the San Felipe after winning the Sham Stakes on Jan. 5. He claimed the Delta Downs Jackpot in November to conclude his 2-year-old season. Goldencents won his career debut at Del Mar last September and then finished second at Belmont Park in the Champagne Stakes behind Shanghai Bobby.

Here is the complete Kentucky Derby field in post position order: Black Onyx, 50-1, Joe Bravo; Oxbow, 30-1, Gary Stevens; Revolutionary, 10-1, Calvin Borel; Golden Soul, 50-1, Robby Albarado; Normandy Invasion, 12-1, Javier Castellano; Mylute, 15-1, Rosie Napravnik; Giant Finish, 50-1, Jose Espinoza; Goldencents, 5-1, Kevin Krigger; Overanalyze, 15-1, Rafael Bejarano; Palace Malice, 20-1, Mike Smith; Lines of Battle, 30-1, Ryan Moore; Itsmyluckyday, 15-1, Elvis Trujillo; Falling Sky, 50-1, Luis Saez; Verrazano, 4-1, John Velazquez; Charming Kitten, 20-1, Edgar Prado; Orb, 7-2, Joel Rosario; Will Take Charge, 20-1, Jon Court; Frac Daddy, 50-1, Victor Lebron; Java's War, 15-1, Julien Leparoux and Vyjack, 15-1, Garrett Gomez.

Fear the Kitten is the also-eligible and will only draw into the race if there is a scratch by Friday morning at 9 a.m. (ET).

The Kentucky Derby post-time Saturday is set for 6:24 p.m. (ET).

The weather forecast calls for a 40 percent chance of rain, winds from the South Southeast at 10-15 m.p.h. Post-time temperature around 65.

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