1 TROJAN NATION (50-1) seemingly stepped up big in his last race, nearly winning the Grade 1 Wood at big odds. But he was racing on the best part of the track in a race whose pace favored horses like him who were coming off the pace. He’s a big longshot once again, and the difficult draw does him no favours.

2 SUDDENBREAKINGNEWS (20-1) is one of a trio of horses who closed into the pace to fill the top three slots in the Arkansas Derby, the race American Pharoah won before the Derby last year. Creator, to his outside, has beaten him twice on the form book, and he’ll have to improve once again. He’s not without his chance but he’s difficult to place above the other late runners in the race.

3 CREATOR (10-1) won the Arkansas Derby, and did so with a nice run through traffic – that’s a skill he’ll have to show here if he’s going to hit the board. His utter lack of speed raises a question about if he’ll be able to find the winner’s circle, and he figures to be popular with the punters.

4 MO TOM (20-1) has not been able to find running room in the stretch in either of his last two races making him a popular Derby selection in some circles. However, the form of his races and speed figures he’s earned suggest he has plenty to like about him, difficult passages or not.

5 GUN RUNNER (10-1) is the horse who beat Mo Tom in his last two. While his running lines resemble those of a Derby contender, the company he’s kept and the figures he’s earned suggest he’ll be found wanting. Watching him run he doesn’t look like a horse who wants today’s added distance either.

6 MY MAN SAM (20-1) is another deep closer, one who may have been flattered by fast paces in his last two. His resume simply doesn’t look strong enough to be considered a serious contender.

7 OSCAR NOMINATED (50-1) had to be supplemented to the race for $200,000, an ambitious gambit for a horse who seems to have a turf pedigree top and bottom.

8 LANI (30-1) is a headstrong horse without any serious claims in a race like this. His prep run in Dubai was against a mediocre group at best. You’d be getting great value to lay the 30-1 of the Morning Line.

9 DESTIN (15-1) comes to the Derby off of an eight week layoff – very unusual. Trainer Todd Pletcher has won this race but his overall record in it is wanting so perhaps it makes sense that he would mix up his preparations a bit. His Tampa Bay Derby was a nice race, but he was racing wide on the best part of the track on a day when the rail was dead. Between that and the time off coming in it’s difficult to trust him – but also difficult to argue too vehemently against those in his corner.

10 WHITMORE (20-1) made the first move into the pace in the Arkansas Derby, and that can sometimes portend future improvement in horses who are able to distribute their energy more evenly. His ability to run well around turns could serve him well here and he has an each-way chance at a big price.

11 EXAGGERATOR (8-1) was thought by many to have distance limitations before he won easily last time at nine furlongs in the Santa Anita Derby. But that doesn’t necessarily mean he wants to run this far. This Derby is a furlong further, and it’s important to note that his run last time might have been flattered by the off-going and the great pace set-up. While he looks logical in a lot of ways, the better value might be to play against.

12 TOM’S READY (30-1) has form and figures below what it will take to win this, even with all the questions attached to the favorites.

13 NYQUIST (3-1) should be a warm order for this. He’s never lost, and he’s stepped up on big days before (see his race in the BC Juvenile last year). But all that said, he might be one to oppose. He still has to show that he can run a fast time going this far, and he showed some greenness in the stretch last time in the Florida Derby that suggests he might not relish this test. He missed a little training with a fever since the last race – not dissimilar to what knocked Songbird out of the Oaks. That’s two pretty big question marks he’ll have to address as the favourite.

14 MOHAYMEN (10-1) was one of the winter book favourites for this, along with Nyquist. But his form may have been dressed up all along – the fields he beat in the Fountain of Youth and Holy Bull only contained five rivals each. While an excuse can be conjured for the failure last time – he was wide on a track where you wanted to be inside – it’s still hard to get excited about his chances.

15 OUTWORK (15-1) might be better than his bare form suggests. The time of his last race was poor, but he made the running on a fast pace and was still there at the end so perhaps he can run better with a more even distribution of his energy. Two back he raced on a deep rail at Tampa, making that effort better than it seemed. Adding to his appeal is that he is one of the few in this race with early speed, so perhaps he can work out a favorable journey at a decent price.

16 SHAGAF (20-1) is another who has had more hype than performance so far in his career. He has had good trips in his last two races hasn’t converted either into the type of race that would make him a Derby contender.

17 MOR SPIRIT (12-1) goes out for Bob Baffert, American Pharoah’s trainer who has had much success in this race historically. His appeal doesn’t end there. He has enough speed out of the gate to gain position early, but has also shown the ability to finish, and that could serve him well. He’s a major contender.

18 MAJESTO (30-1) has never run a race fast enough to be in the frame in a race this tough. He was flattered by racing on the good part of the track and Mohaymen’s no-fire performance last time.

19 BRODY’S CAUSE (12-1) has the look of a Derby contender, based on his solid two-year-old form and his nice win last time in the Grade 1 Bluegrass. He’s yet another late runner in a field full of them, and he, too, was flattered by having a pace to run into last time. That said, he shapes like he’ll get ten furlongs and has the class to finish in the frame in a Kentucky Derby. He has place claims for sure, and if all works out he could win.

20 DANZING CANDY (15-1) could be your early pacesetter and at the current UK prices, he is easy to use. In his last he was unruly in the gate and then refused to settle in the race itself. Perhaps the outside draw will allow him to break in a more relaxed fashion and his gate speed can become a powerful weapon rather than a hindrance.

21 LAOBAN (50-1) is on the also-eligible list. It’s very hard to see him making the frame but if he draws in it’s bad news for Danzing Candy as he’ll then have another speed to his outside and his hand may be forced.

22 CHERRY WINE (30-1) is extremely unlikely to get competitive in this and is also another closer in a race full of them.

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