Louisville, KY (Sports Network) - George Steinbrenner's Bellamy Road and Arkansas Derby winner Afleet Alex are the top two favorites for Saturday's 131st running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs. The Run for the Roses is worth a record $2 million this year.
Bellamy Road is the 5-2 morning line favorite off his 17 1/2 length victory in the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct. The colt will be ridden by Javier Castellano and start from post 16 in the 20 horse field. Bellamy Road is trained by Nick Zito for Steinbrenner's Kinsman Stable.
Zito has a total of five three-year- olds entered in this year's Kentucky Derby, with the trainer looking for his third triumph in the race. Bellamy Road has won four of five career starts for $611,400.
Afleet Alex is the 9-2 second choice for the race. He will break from post 12 with regular rider Jeremy Rose in the saddle. Owned by Cash is King Stable, Afleet Alex has earned more than $1.3 million with six wins in eight starts. He was second in last year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile race and has been out of the money just once in his career. Trainer Tim Ritchey is making his first appearance in the Kentucky Derby.
Zito's number two runner in this year's race is Florida derby winner High Fly. The chestnut colt is 8-1 in the morning line with jockey Jerry Bailey riding. High Fly is owned by Live Oak Plantatkion, with earnings of $897,300. He will start from post 11.
At one point this year Zito thought Sun King was his top three-year-old. The colt won the Tampa Bay Derby wire to wire under Edgar Prado. However, Sun King followed that up with a disappointing fourth in the Blue Grass Stakes. For the Kentucky Derby Sun King is 15-1 in the program and will break from post 3. He again has Prado in the saddle for owner Tracy Farmer. Prado is remembered as the winning jockey in last year's Belmont Stakes.
Sun King has won three of seven starts for $452,150.
Zito's other two starters in the Run for the Roses are Noble Causeway and Andromeda's Hero. Andromeda's Hero is 50-1 in the morning line and will break from post 2. Noble Causeway is 12-1 and will start from post 4.
A trio of horses trained by Todd Pletcher are entered in the race topped by Blue Grass Stakes winner Bandini. The colt is 6-1 as the third choice in the program and will start from post 15. Bandini will be ridden by John Velazquez for owners Smith and Tabor. He has won three of five starts for $564,180.
Pletcher also has Flower Alley and Coin Silver set to go the 1 1/4 miles. Flower Alley is coming off a second place finish in the Arkansas Derby, while Coin Silver captured the Lexington Stakes. Jorge Chavez has the assignment on Flower Alley and will break from post 7. The colt is 20-1 in the morning line for owner Eugene Melnyk.
Coin Silver will start from post 5 with Patrick Valenzuela riding. The three- year-old is owned by Peachtree Stable and is 20-1 in the morning line.
Buzzards Bay, the surprise winner of the Santa Anita Derby, is 20-1 in the morning line. He will start from the outside post with Mark Guidry in the saddle. Buzzards Bay is trained by Jeff Mullins for Fog City Stable. The colt has won three of eight starts for $559,440.
Wilko, the winner of the 2004 Breeders' Cup Juvenile, is looking for his first win of the year. The chestnut colt was third in the Santa Anita Derby, but finished just a half-length behind Buzzards Bay. Wilko is 20-1 in the morning line and will break from post 14. Jockey Corey Nakatani regains the mount for trainer Craig Dollase. Wilko is owned by J.Paul Reddam and Susan Roy for whom he has earned $1,039,074 in 14 starts. No winner of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile has yet to win the Kentucky Derby.
B. Wayne Hughes has two colts entered in the Run for the Roses. Illinois Derby winner Greeley's Galaxy has been supplemented for $200,000 into the race and is 15-1 in the program. Derby Trial winner Don't Get Mad is 30-1 in the morning line.
Greeley's Galaxy will be ridden by Kent Desormeaux from post 9. Trained by Warren Stute the three-year-old has earned $358,480 off of three wins in four starts.
Don't Get Mad is trained by Ron Ellis and will be ridden by Tyler Baze. The bay colt will start from post 17 just one week after his Derby Trial win. Don't Get Mad has won three of six starts for $190,412.
Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel will try again to win his first Kentucky Derby with High Limit. The colt is coming off a second place finish in the Blue Grass Stakes when he was the post-time favorite. For the Derby he is 12-1 in the morning line and will break from post 6. Regular rider Ramon Dominguez will be in the saddle for owners Gary and Mary West. High Limit won his first three starts before the Blue Grass and has earned $552,000.
Four-time winning trainer D. Wayne Lukas is attempting to win for the first time since 1999 with Going Wild, who won his first two starts of the year, but has yet to win in three starts since. The colt is 50-1 in morning line and will start from post 19. His owners are Robert and Beverly Lewis who have taken the race twice. Jose Valdivia, Jr. gets back on Going Wild for the first time since December. Going Wild has earned $229,670 in nine starts.
Trainer Bob Baffert sends out Sort It Out in an attempt to capture his fourth Run for the Roses. Baffert last won the Derby in 2002 with War Emblem. Sort It Out is 50-1 in the program and will break from post 1. The chestnut colt will be ridden by Brice Blanc for owners Stonerside Stable and Preferred Partners. Sort It Out has won four of 12 starts for $272,375.
Completing the field for the Kentucky Derby are Greater Good who is 20-1 and will start from post 8. Giacomo is 50-1 and has post 10. Spanish Chestnut will start from post 13 and is 50-1. Closing Argument is 30-1 in the morning line and will break from post 18.
Post-time for the 2005 Kentucky Derby is scheduled for 6:04 ET and will be televised on NBC. The weather forecast calls for partly cloudy skies with isolated thunderstorms. The temperature when the horses leave the starting gate will be around 80.
The second leg of the Triple Crown, the Preakness Stakes, will be run on Saturday, May 21 at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore. The Belmont Stakes, the third leg, is set for June 11 at Belmont Park.
05/04 18:33:30 ET
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