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No European horse has ever won the Kentucky Derby. It's nearly time for the Kentucky Derby and today we get a great way to celebrate the iconic race. Juddmonte Farms' last Derby starter was Empire Maker, who was second as the favorite in 2003, and trainer Bill Mott has not saddled a horse in the race since 2009. It's called the "Apollo curse", and Magnum Moon falls into that catagory. At two, he was second behind Good Magic in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. Mendelssohn dominated the UAE Derby in his dirt debut, winning by 18 3/4 lengths, and looks like an intriguing contender.

As always, experience matters. The last time a "rookie" - aka a horse that didn't race as a 2-year-old - won the Kentucky Derby was in 1882, when a horse named Apollo came in first.

Magnum Moon made his debut on January 13 and has swept his four races. He has only run in one stakes race and he has not raced at a track other than Santa Anita.

There are two things working against Justify at the Kentucky Derby. "But if Curlin couldn't do it, it's going to be hard for anybody to do it". But this horse has the pace to get up to and into a nice position. Justify broke his maiden at Santa Anita Park on February 18 and posted a 6 1/2-length allowance win March 11 before winning the Santa Anita Derby. My Boy Jack's last race was a victory in the Lexington Stakes, a 1 1/16-mile race at Keeneland.

So what makes the Kentucky Derby so special?

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Mendelssohn is looking to become the first Derby victor of a different sort. In addition, Daily Racing Form awarded Mendelssohn a 106 Beyer Speed Figure for that effort, the highest figure awarded to a victor on the Road to the 2018 Triple Crown. To see him atop his horse watching his latest Derby charge at work leaves no doubt about his energy or desire. Bolt d'Oro has won four of six career starts for trainer and owner Mick Ruis. Mendelssohn might indeed be great, but he won't be at the top of my ticket.

Vino Rosso (12-1 odds, post 18) - Here's another hunch bet, this time for folks who savor a nice Burgundy.

Excited as Lukas is to be back with Bravazo, he is even more encouraged about the 2-year-old prospects he has coming up. The four-time victor is savoring being part of horse racing's crown jewel. Firenze Fire is the biggest longshot at +8050. "Just worry about preparing your horse, that's all you can do". Yet a few other threats loom as feasible choices to win Saturday's Run for the Roses. Yet there might be too much speed in his pedigree and not enough stamina. Pletcher won the race past year with Always Dreaming. What happened after that is better off forgotten: he ran seven more times but only hit the board once. Her dam's stakes-winning progeny didn't win past nine furlongs, either.

The co-fourth choices are Audible and Bolt d'Oro at 8-1. Noble Indy 30:1 20.

Justify is a heavy 3-to-1 favorite to win the 2018 Kentucky Derby, and he deserves that type of recognition.


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