Tuesday's Trackside Derby Report: 'Justifying' the Hype

Taking it home Ryan Moore rode Mendelssohn to victory in the UAE Derby in Dubai in March

Trainer Bob Baffert, a four-time Derby victor who won the Triple Crown in 2015 with American Pharoah, is back with two horses, Solomini and the favorite, Justify.

Justify, the undefeated victor of the Santa Anita Derby, is one of two horses in Saturday's 1 ¼-mile race who didn't race at age 2.

Last year, instead of holding their annual 5K race fundraiser, Junior League members made a decision to mix things up and throw a derby party instead. UAE Derby victor Mendelssohn is the 5-1 second choice after drawing the No. 14 post. The 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2015 Kentucky Derby winners all started from that gate.

Trainer D. Wayne Lukas is seeking his fifth Kentucky Derby victory with Bravazo on Saturday. The concern with this horse is that he has not raced against the best competition.

"I walked in and looked at the board", Baffert told reporters Tuesday.

According to US Racing, the use of Bitcoin and other such currencies is increasing among bettors on horse racing.

I said, 'There's a WinStar. "I was relieved when I saw him in seven". I wanted to be in the middle or outside.

Pletcher is a two-time Derby victor including a year ago with Always Dreaming, and Robert Low, the Springfield owner of Magnum Moon along with his wife Lawana, says Pletcher knows a Derby contender when he sees one.

"The break is so important".

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Although Justify has crackled to three easy wins this year, including a 3-length win over Bolt d'Oro in the Santa Anita Derby, his critics say there is a major hole in his resume: Justify did not race as a 2-year-old.

"The only reason I'm the favorite is because I beat Bolt d'Oro, and he was the horse to beat, " said Baffert, referring to Justify's three-length victory last month in the Santa Anita Derby.

"So we'll go with that angle", Pletcher said.

Magnum Moon does have history working against him. The race only lasts two minutes, so tuning in earlier is recommended. American Pharoah was one of Baffert's four wins in the Run for the Roses and since 2009, Zayat Stables has three runner-up finishes in America's most famous race. Mendelssohn is expected to leave quarantine and exercise on the track on Thursday.

Yet Magnum Moon is another candidate to break the "Apollo Curse". That means that horse racing fans, and those who don't care a lick about the sport except for this one particular event, are all turning their eyes towards Louisville for the sport's most prestigious race. Mendelssohn has been allotted stall 14 in Tuesday's post-draw for the big race.

"It's kind of unusual the way it unfolded with all four of them being so late", Pletcher told reporters.

Mendelssohn drew gate No. 14, the last spot in the main starting gate. "But you know you can work out good trips from bad posts and get bad trips from good posts".

"When they went through the first 10 horses and I hadn't gotten in the mix yet, I thought maybe they'd lost my entries", Pletcher said. Amazon, the online giant, chose to team up with the horse - which is now running at 8-1 odds - because it shares a name with the Amazon-owned audiobook service, Audible.

The field features a few distinguishable favorites, but no lone horse enters Saturday as the overwhelming choice to seize the Triple Crown's first leg.

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