It’s called the fastest two minutes in sports, and it’s always run on the first Saturday in May. This weekend’s Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs is the 139th Run for the Roses as the thoroughbred racing world continues its search for the next Triple Crown winner.
The last Triple Crown winner was Affirmed in 1978. There have been several close calls since then. Last year, I’ll Have Another won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness but was retired on the eve of the Belmont Stakes.
The morning-line favorite this year is Verrazano (7/2), who has won all four career races. He beat a strong field as the favorite at the Wood Memorial, but no horse has won the Wood and Derby since Fusaichi Pegasus in 2000.
Verrazano is trained by Todd Pletcher, who won the Derby for the only time in 2010 with Super Saver. Verrazano will be ridden by John Velazquez, who won the 2011 Kentucky Derby aboard Animal Kingdom.
Orb is the 5/1 second-favorite. He has won four-straight starts, including the Grade I Florida Derby in March. Velazquez rode Orb in the Florida Derby but chose to ride Verrazano in Louisville. Joel Rosario will be aboard Orb at Churchill. He has never ridden a Derby winner.