The 2019 Kentucky Derby is a now a much different race with Omaha Beach being scratched. The 4-1 favorite had to drop out of today's race due to an entrapped epiglottis, which can cause breathing problems.
While any horse race is impossible to fully predict, Omaha Beach’s departure leaves us with a wide-open race. Here is a breakdown of each horse by position, with a Superfecta prediction and Long-shot pick at the end.
1. War of Will
Owner: Gary Barber
War of Will enters with such low odds because of a ninth-place finish in the Louisiana Derby and the fact that no horse in the No. 1 position has won at Churchill Downs since 1986. But War of Will has an ability to blast out of the gate and avoid the traffic that has slowed horses in this spot so he is a potential long-shot pick.
Owner: R. A. Hill Stable, Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, Hugh Lynch, and Corms Racing Stable
The No. 2 spot faces heavy traffic as well, but Tax has a few things going for him. He won the Withers Stakes at Aqueduct in New York earlier this year and finished second in a maiden claiming race at Churchill Downs so he has experience with the track.
3. By My Standards
Owner: Allied Racing Stable, LLC
By My Standards went from 22-1 odds to winning the Louisiana Derby. However, his prospects in the Kentucky Derby still remain uncertain because of a poor showing by favorite War of Will in New Orleans.
4. Gray Magician
Owner: Wachtel Stable, Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, and Gary Barber
One of two horses entering at with 50-1 odds, Gray Magician has finished in the top five in three stakes races, but only won one race as a two-year-old.
Owner: WinStar Farm LLC, China Horse Club International Ltd., and Starlight Racing
Unpredictable is a better name for this horse that has not found his rhythm. Trainer Bob Baffert will race him without blinders after he struggled with them at the Arkansas Derby. That being said, Improbable has significant physical tools and could very well win on Saturday despite his early struggles.
Owner: R. A. Hill Stable and Gatsas Stables
Vekoma has a wild left leg that gives him an awkward running style, but that hasn’t been a problem so far, as he won the Blue Grass Stakes by three lengths.
7. Maximum Security
Owner: Gary and Mary West
In addition to having the best name of any horse in the race, Maximum Security enters the race undefeated. Based on his showing in his win at the Florida Derby, it is clear he has the speed to win the first race of the Triple Crown.
Owner: Juddmonte Farms, Inc.
Tacitus has won the Tampa Derby and Wood Memorial and has experience running in crowded fields akin to Churchill Downs.
9. Plus Que Parfait
Owner: Imperial Racing, LLC
Plus Que Parfait won the UAE Derby, but victors in that race are winless in the Kentucky Derby.
10. Cutting Humor
Owner: Starlight Racing
Cutting Humor set a track record at the Sunland Derby and his jockey, Corey Lanerie, has won several races at Churchill Downs.
Owner: Shadwell Stable
Even with his long odds, Haikal’s racing status remains TBD because of a foot abscess discovered earlier this week.
12. Omaha Beach (Scratched)
13. Code of Honor
Owner: W.S. Farish
Code of Honor’s trainer, Hall of Famer Shug McGaughey, won the Kentucky Derby with Orb in 2013 and he is very selective about when and who he runs at Churchill Downs.
14. Win Win Win
Owner: Live Oak Plantation
Win Win Win finished second in the Blue Grass Stakes and third in the Florida Derby and has been looking impressive in workouts.
15. Master Fencer
Owner: Katsumi Yoshizawa
The first Japanese-bred Derby contestant enters with very low expectations in part because he has traveled a long way and is unfamiliar with the track.
16. Game Winner
Owner: Gary and Mary West
Game Winner won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile as a two-year-old. Because of Omaha Beach’s scratch, he enters the Derby with the best odds despite having not won a race yet as a three-year-old.
Owner: Speedway Stable LLC
Roadster won the Santa Anita Derby earlier this year. Winners of that race went on to win the Kentucky Derby in 2012 (I’ll Have Another), 2014 (California Chrome), and 2018 (Justify).
18. Long Range Toddy
Owner: Willis Horton Racing LLC
At 58, jockey Jon Court will become the oldest to ever ride in the Kentucky Derby, but he will be on a horse whose last finish was sixth in the Arkansas Derby.
Owner: Wertheimer and Frere
Spinoff finished second in the Louisiana Derby, but he will have to expend a lot of energy to get close to the front from his position.
20. Country House
Owner: J.V. Shields, Jr., E.J.M McFadden, Jr., and LNJ Foxwoods
Country House has finished in the top five in three stakes races, though it is not clear if he has enough talent to win the Derby.
Owner: Top Racing, LLC, Global Thoroughbred and GDS Racing Stable
The alternate for Omaha Beach enters as expected... as a long shot. If he wins, he will be the first maiden to do so since Brokers Tip in 1933.
- Game Winner
- Cutting Humor
Best Long Shot: War of Will