Kentucky Derby Contenders

Win, Place or Show?

The 141st Kentucky Derby will take place this weekend, on May 2nd, and horse racing fans all over the world are eagerly anticipating what is sure to be another exciting Derby at Churchill Downs. There are a lot of contenders that are expected to have a solid chance of winning the race this year, and like last year when California Chrome went in as the odds on favorite, American Pharoah is this biggest of the 2015 Kentucky Derby contenders.

If you are familiar with making Kentucky Derby picks, you would know that the favorites have won only six races since 1979, and that longshots have a good a chance to win it as the favorites do, which means that you are better off putting your money on a longshot to win, because of the big payout involved. This occurred most recently in 2009, When Mine That Bird won the Derby at 50.61-1 odds, paying out $103.50 to win.

For those that will be indulging in some 2015 Kentucky Derby betting, you should familiarize yourselves with the favorites going into this race, so you can make a better informed pick as to which horse you think is going to win the race. 

Race Odds

  • American Pharoah: 5-2.
  • Dortmund: 4-1.
  • Carpe Diem: 15-2.
  • Mubtaahij: 10-1.
  • Materiality: 12-1.
  • Firing Line: 16-1.
  • Frosted: 16-1.
  • International Star: 18-1.
  • Upstart: 20-1.
  • El Kabeir: 33-1.
  • Far Right: 33-1.
  • Bolo: 40-1.
  • Danzig Moon: 40-1.
  • Itsaknockout: 40-1.
  • Keen Ice: 40-1.
  • Mr Z: 40-1.
  • Ocho Ocho Ocho: 40-1.
  • War Story: 40-1.
  • Tencendur: 66-1.

Kentucky Derby Favorites

American Pharoah

This horse is the rock star of the Derby, and is at the top of most of the 2015 Kentucky Derby predictions lists. The horse is trained by Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, who has had a lot of success at the Derby, with horses he has trained winning three of them, and two doing so in consecutive years. His jockey is Victor Espinoza, a veteran Jockey that won the Derby last year riding California Chrome.

American Pharoah has a pretty good lineage, he was sired by Pioneer of the Nile, the 2009 Derby runner up, who was sired by Empire Maker, the 2003 Derby runner up and Belmont winner, and the grandson of Unbridled, the 1990 Derby winner. Pharoah is one of the fastest horses in this year’s field, and was considered a favorite to make the field of 20 earlier in the year, after winning three races in a row. He became the clear favorite to win the race after his performance at the Arkansas Derby, a race he dominated. Pharoah got off to a very fast start at Arkansas, and eased off towards the end, but was still able to win the race by 8 and a half lengths. Since then, most experts and trainers have called him the horse to beat at the Derby.


This horse was the early favorite to win the Derby, before American Pharoah’s performance at the Arkansas Derby. Dortmund is also trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, who has two of the top thoroughbred horses at the Derby this year, and will be trying to end a decade old drought at Churchill Downs. The horse will be jockeyed by Martin Garcia, who was the jockey that rode Lookin at Lucky to victory at the Preakness Stakes in 2010. Since then, he has been Bob Baffert’s top jockey, and he will be trying to win his first Kentucky Derby, after having a few close calls.

While American Pharoah is getting all the attention, Dortmund was actually the better rated horse during the buildup to the Derby. He finished second with 170 season points, and has been very consistent, winning his last six races. Dortmund and American Pharoah will probably be the biggest Kentucky Derby rivals. Dortmund has a better lineage than American Pharoah, he was sired by Big Brown, the horse that won the Derby and Preakness in 2008, and he came close to pulling off the Triple Crown, victory, but dealt with foot problems that cost him in the Belmont Stakes.

Like Pharoah, Dortmund is a fast horse that likes to jump out to the lead, which is what Martin Garcia will try to do again on Saturday, because he isn’t very comfortable facing with the pack of from behind, and will be in trouble if he has to. 

Carpe Diem

Carpe Diem is the third leading contender to win the Kentucky Derby, unlike the other two contenders who are trained by Bob Baffert, Carper Diem is trained by his rival Todd Pletcher, who despite his success as a trainer, and the fact that he has had a record five starters at the Kentucky Derby in two different years, and four in the race last year, only has one win at the Derby, which came in 2010 with Super Saver. He will be going for his second career derby win with Carper Diem, but his horse faces a tough task ahead. Carpe Diem will be ridden by John Velasquez, who has jockeyed at the Derby 13 times, and won it in 2011. He will be going for his second career Derby win, and the fourth Triple Crown race win of his career.

Carpe Diem does not have the prestigious lineage that Dortmund and American Pharoah have, but he has some pretty good genes. He was sired by Giant’s Causeway, and Irish/English champion, that had a lot of success in his days. Carpe Diem has won three of his last four races, and could have easily made it four in a row, if it wasn’t for his narrow loss to Texas Red. Unlike the other two contenders, he isn’t the fastest horse out of the gates, but he loves running from behind, and makes up the ground very quickly. If American Pharoah and Dortmund struggle at the start of the race, don’t be surprised to see Carpe Diem running ahead of the pack at the Kentucky Derby.

These three teams are considered the horses with the best chances of winning the 141st Kentucky Derby, as previously mentioned, the favorites don’t always do well in this race, so don’t be surprised if none of them win the race on Saturday. 

If you have your picks for this year’s Kentucky Derby, and want to place your bets, at you will not only find the best odds but also every bet you can imagine from straight up bets to betting on which horse will win, place or show, exactas, or quinellas.