Kentucky Derby 2019: Everything you need to know about the 19 horses racing in the 'Run for the Roses'


The 2019 Kentucky Derby field is set.

On Saturday, 19 horses will step into the gates at Churchill Downs, with one winning the “Run for the Roses” and taking the first step toward Triple Crown immortality.

After the official draw determined the post positions for the horses in the field this year, the morning line was set, and bettors began to consider where they’d put their money down before the starting gun sounds on Saturday.

Read more: Kentucky Derby 2019: A beginner’s guide to betting the biggest horse race of the year

It’s an incredibly talented field this year, with no clear favourite standing above the pack as Justify did at last year’s Kentucky Derby.

Take a look below as we go post by post to give you the rundown on every horse racing this weekend at the Kentucky Derby. Odds are as of Saturday morning.


1. War of Will (17/1)

Trainer/Jockey: Mark Casse/Tyler Gaffalione

Career wins: 3

Recent result: 9th at Louisiana Derby

One thing to know: War of Will had won three straight races before a disappointing ninth-place finish at the Louisiana Derby due to injury. Trainer Mark Casse says War of Will will be back and ready to go for Saturday, but he will have his work cut out for him regardless – it’s been more than 30 years since a horse won the Kentucky Derby out of the first gate.


2. Tax (35/1)

Trainer/Jockey: Danny Gargan/Junior Alvarado

Career wins: 1

Recent result: 2nd at Wood Memorial

One thing to know: Tax has never finished off the podium in three career races, and finished second among a slew of Kentucky Derby contenders at the Wood Memorial, his final tune-up before Saturday. Tax will be an interesting trifecta and superfecta play for bettors.


3. By My Standards (16/1)

Mark Zerof-USA TODAY SportsBy My Standards has never finished lower than third in five career races.

Trainer/Jockey: Bret Calhoun/Gabriel Saez

Career wins: 2

Recent result: 1st at Louisiana Derby

One thing to know: By My Standards is another interesting pick to sneak into the top three at the Kentucky Derby, having never finished lower than third in five career races and entering the Derby with two straight wins.


4. Grey Magician (29/1)

Trainer/Jockey: Peter Miller/Drayden Van Dyke

Career wins: 1

Recent result: 2nd at UAE Derby

One thing to know: Grey Magician is a longshot for a reason – horses that have won the UAE Derby rarely contend at the Kentucky Derby, and Grey Magician is the first runner-up to attempt the race. With a crowded field of some of the best horses on the planet, it’s tough to see him bucking the trend.


5. Improbable (5/1)

Trainer/Jockey: Bob Baffert/Irad Ortiz Jr.

Career wins: 3

Recent result: 2nd at Arkansas Derby

One thing to know: Despite his name, Improbable will likely be one of the most popular bets in the Kentucky Derby field. Trainer Bob Baffert has won the race five times in his career, including two of the past four years. Improbable finished second to favourite Omaha Beach at the Arkansas Derby – will he be able to flip their results come Saturday?


6. Vekoma (20/1)

Andy Lyons/Getty ImagesVekoma gets in a practice run.

Trainer/Jockey: George Weaver/Javier Castellano

Career wins: 3

Recent result: 1st at Blue Grass Stakes

One thing to know: Vekoma has won three of the four races he’s run in his career, but will be facing a much more talented field than he’s seen before. He’s an interesting choice to sneak into the top three, but it’s not yet clear how he’ll run when there are 19 other horses on the track.


7. Maximum Security (9/2)

Andy Lyons/Getty ImagesMaximum Security is starting out of the same gate Justify ran from last year.

Trainer/Jockey: Jason Servis/Luis Saez

Career wins: 4

Recent result: 1st at Florida Derby

One thing to know: Maximum Security is an intriguing bet to win on Saturday, as he is so far undefeated in four races in his career. Maximum Security is also racing out of the seventh gate, which Justify started from last year en route to winning the Triple Crown. It’s not easy to win the Derby wire-to-wire, but if he can hold off a more powerful challenge than he received in Florida, he could be a contender on Saturday.


8. Tacitus (5/1)

Trainer/Jockey: William Mott/Jose Ortiz

Career wins: 3

Recent result: 1st at Wood Memorial

One thing to know: Tacitus had to fight through plenty of traffic en route to winning the Wood Memorial, erasing a huge lead, and closing strong to win his final tune-up before the Kentucky Derby. For casual fans, Tacitus should be an easy horse to track through the race on Saturday – he’ll be the grey close to the front.


9. Plus Que Parfait (55/1)

Trainer/Jockey: Brendan Walsh/Ricardo Santana Jr.

Career wins: 2

Recent result: 1st at UAE Derby

One thing to know: Last year’s UAE Derby winner Mendelssohn entered the Kentucky Derby as the second-favourite in the field after winning his final tune-up by a whopping 17 lengths. Come Derby Saturday, Mendelssohn was the last horse across the line. Plus Que Parfait is hoping he can be the horse that finally captures both races.


10. Cutting Humour (23/1)

Andy Lyons/Getty ImagesCutting Humour is one of Todd Pletcher’s two horses in the race.

Trainer/Jockey: Todd Pletcher/Corey Lanerie

Career wins: 2

Recent result: 1st at Sunland Derby

One thing to know: Cutting Humour will likely be a popular longshot bet thanks to the success trainer Todd Pletcher has had in the past. But he’s a deserving pick on his merit. If he’s not too far off the lead heading into the home stretch, he could close late and find himself a top finisher.


11. Haikal (Scratched)

Trainer/Jockey: Kiaran Mclaughlin/Rajiv Maragh

Career wins: 3

Recent result: 3rd at Wood Memorial

One thing to know: Haikal finished third at the Wood Memorial behind fellow Derby entrants Tax and Tacitus. Racing out of the gate next to favourite Omaha Beach, it’s tough to imagine Haikal finishing in the top three unless he pulls off quite a race.


12. Omaha Beach (Scratched)

Trainer/Jockey: Richard Mandella/Mike Smith

Career wins: 3

Recent result: 1st at Arkansas Derby

One thing to know: Omaha Beach was the opening favourite to win the Kentucky Derby, but was forced to scratch from the race due to injury. Due to his absence, every horse outside Omaha Beach will move one gate in, with alternate Bodexpress racing from the 20th gate.


13. Code of Honour (13/1)

Trainer/Jockey: Shug McGaughey/John Velazquez

Career wins: 2

Recent result: 3rd at Florida Derby

One thing to know: Trainer Shug McGaughey won the 2013 Kentucky Derby with Orb, and this year, believes he has another contender to win the roses. While Code of Honour on the smaller side, his slender build could help him stay elusive and slip through tight gaps in the crowded field.


14. Win Win Win (14/1)

Andy Lyons/Getty ImagesWin Win Win hopes to live up to his name.

Trainer/Jockey: Michael Trombetta/Julian Pimentel

Career wins: 1

Recent result: 2nd at Blue Grass Stakes

One thing to know: Win Win Win closed strong at the Tampa Bay Derby but struggled early to find his path through the tightly packed competition. His chances on Saturday will depend on a clean start and a similarly strong finish.


15. Master Fencer (54/1)

Trainer/Jockey: Koichi Tsunoda/Julien Leparoux

Career wins: 2

Recent result: 2nd at Fukuryu Stakes

One thing to know: Master Fencer is the first-ever colt bred in Japan to race in the Kentucky Derby. His chances are long, and he would likely be considered the biggest shocker of the field if he went on to win on Saturday.


16. Game Winner (6/1)

Trainer/Jockey: Bob Baffert/Joel Rosario

Career wins: 4

Recent result: 2nd at Santa Anita Derby

One thing to know: Game Winner won the first four races of his career and came in second in the past two, with narrow defeats to fellow Kentucky Derby contenders Omaha Beach and Roadster. Is this the race he breaks through to beat them?


17. Roadster (10/1)

Trainer/Jockey: Bob Baffert/Florent Geroux

Career wins: 3

Recent result: 1st at Santa Anita Derby

One thing to know: History is not on Roadster’s side, as no horse has ever won the Kentucky Derby out of the 17th gate. Still, Roadster’s win at the Santa Anita Derby is promising, as it’s also the final race Justify won before his dominant run at the Kentucky Derby last year. With two of Baffert’s horses next to each other in the outer gates, it’s possible they keep the race neck-and-neck through the entire run.


18. Long Range Toddy (50/1)

Mark Zerof-USA TODAY SportsLong Range Toddy will need a big race on Saturday to compete.

Trainer/Jockey: Steven Asmussen/Jon Court

Career wins: 3

Recent result: 6th at Arkansas Derby

One thing to know: Long Range Toddy has three career wins, but finished a disappointing sixth at the Arkansas Derby – a race that saw three other horses that will be in the gates at Churchill Downs win, place, and show. He’ll need to improve on that performance if he’s to break into the money at the Kentucky Derby.


19. Spinoff (49/1)

Andy Lyons/Getty ImagesSpinoff could be an interesting bet for those looking for long odds.

Trainer/Jockey: Todd Pletcher/Manuel Franco

Career wins: 2

Recent result: 2nd Louisiana Derby

One thing to know: Spinoff has only raced four times in his career, but it’s tough ever to count out a Pletcher horse. He’ll need the best race of his young life to contend this weekend.


20. Country House (61/1)

Trainer/Jockey: William Mott/Flavien Prat

Career wins: 1

Recent result: 3rd at Arkansas Derby

One thing to know: Country House ran well in both the Arkansas Derby and the Louisiana Derby in preparation for Saturday’s race at Churchill Downs. As a strong closer, the outside start shouldn’t be too detrimental to his chances. While he has an uphill battle to win the roses, a blazing finish could find him in the top four, making him a potential pick for trifecta and superfecta bettors.


21. Bodexpress (88/1)

Trainer/Jockey: Gustavo Delgado/Chris Landeros

Career wins: 0

Recent result: 2nd at Florida Derby

One thing to know: Bodexpress will race out of the 20th gate on Saturday after Omaha Beach was forced to drop out of the race due to injury. He’s still looking for his first win, and there’s no bigger stage to get it than at the Kentucky Derby.


Read more on the Kentucky Derby:

Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Kentucky Derby 2019: Post positions and odds for the first race of the Triple Crown

67 wild hats people have worn to the Kentucky Derby over the years

A Kentucky Derby jockey explains why changing horses is one of the hardest aspects of his job

Kentucky Derby 2019: A beginner’s guide to betting the biggest horse race of the year

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