Here are all the horses running in the Kentucky Derby 2018

(Photo by Scott Serio/Eclipse Sportswire/Getty Images)
(Photo by Scott Serio/Eclipse Sportswire/Getty Images) /

The “Fastest Two Minutes in Sports” kicks off Triple Crown season at Churchill Downs. Here are the horses set to race Saturday in the 144th Kentucky Derby.

On Saturday, the seersucker suits and garish hats will come out in full force as folks congregate at Churchill Downs in Louisville. The scene will play out at race tracks across the country as people gather to drink mint juleps, place bets, and watch to see who wins the Kentucky Derby.

Who will be on the line for the big race this year? The field should be full, with 20 horses in the starting gate on Saturday for the first leg of the Triple Crown. An additional qualifier waits in the wings to see if anybody scratches ahead of post time.

Keep reading for more information about each of the horses in contention for the first jewel of the Triple Crown.

1. Firenze Fire

  • JOCKEY: Paco Lopez
  • OWNER: Mr. Amore Stables
  • TRAINER: Jason Servis
  • BREEDER: Mr. Amore Stables

Firenze Fire is a longshot in large part because he drew the post on the rail. In five graded stakes, Firenze Fire has won just once. That victory came in the horse’s stakes debut in the Champagne Stakes at Belmont Park. Firenze Fire opened the 2018 campaign with victory in the Jerome Stakes at Aqueduct.

2. Free Drop Billy

  • JOCKEY: Robby Albarado
  • OWNER: Albaugh Family Stables
  • TRAINER: Dale Romans
  • BREEDER: Helen K. Groves Revokable Trust

The winner of the Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity back in October 2017, Free Drop Billy has not won since in four graded races. Trainer Dale Romans has won just only one Triple Crown race, the 2011 Preakness Stakes with Shackleford, despite his consistent presence. Drawing an inside post did not do any favors for Free Drop Billy.

3. Promises Fulfilled

  • JOCKEY: Corey Lanerie
  • OWNER: Robert J. Baron
  • TRAINER: Dale Romans
  • BREEDER: David Jacobs

The winner of the Fountain of Youth Stakes in early March followed up that victory with a ninth-place finish at the Florida Derby. Promises Fulfilled has experience at Churchill Downs, winning the Maiden Special Weight at six furlongs back in September 2017 and showing in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes in late November.

4. Flameaway

  • JOCKEY: Jose Lezcano
  • OWNER: John C. Oxley
  • TRAINER: Mark E. Casse
  • BREEDER: Phoenix Rising Farms

Flameaway has also raced previously at Churchill Downs, but it was hardly an event to remember. The horse finished sixth in the Iroquois Stakes last September. Since the turn of the calendar into 2018, though, Flameaway won the Sam F. Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs and placed at the Tampa Bay Derby and Blue Grass Stakes.

5. Audible

  • JOCKEY: Javier Castellano
  • OWNER: Winstar Farm/China Horse Club International/SF Racing
  • TRAINER: Todd Pletcher
  • BREEDER: Oak Bluff Stables

Audible arrived at Churchill Downs on a hot streak. The horse won its last two races to enter the Kentucky Derby as one of the favorites. Audible won the Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Park by five and a half lengths in early February. He then turned around and won the Florida Derby. Last year’s Preakness-winning jockey, Javier Castellano, is hunting for his first Kentucky Derby win.

6. Good Magic

  • JOCKEY: Jose Ortiz
  • OWNER: e Five Racing Thoroubreds/Stonestreet Stables
  • TRAINER: Chad C. Brown
  • BREEDER: Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings

Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Good Magic most recently won the Blue Grass Stakes over a field full of Kentucky Derby contenders. Son of 2007 Preakness Stakes and Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Curlin, Good Magic has the pedigree to contend at Churchill Downs. He also has a solid jockey in reigning Belmont Stakes champ Jose Ortiz.

7. Justify

  • JOCKEY: Mike Smith
  • OWNER: China Horse Club/Head of Plains Partners/Starlight Racing/WinStar Farm
  • TRAINER: Bob Baffert
  • BREEDER: John D. Gunther

Bob Baffert, the man who trained the most recent Triple Crown winner, has another horse that could potentially challenge for the honor. Justify took the Santa Anita Derby by three lengths over Bolt d’Oro to secure a post position in the Kentucky Derby. The horse will try to overcome the same curse of Apollo that his sire tried to conquer after being held back from racing as a juvenile. (No horse has pulled it off since Apollo in 1882.)

8. Lone Sailor

  • JOCKEY: James Graham
  • OWNER: Tom Benson
  • TRAINER: Thomas M. Amoss
  • BREEDER: Alexander Groves Matz

After finishing second in the Louisiana Derby, Lone Sailor comes to Kentucky hoping to finish top three in an even bigger field of contenders. Tom Benson’s horse has not won since breaking maiden. Lone Sailor is a long shot to beat out a field of more accomplished competitors.

9. Hofburg

  • JOCKEY: Irad Ortiz Jr.
  • OWNER: Juddmonte Farms
  • TRAINER: William I. Mott
  • BREEDER: Juddmonte Farms

Lightly raced, Hofburg is nevertheless one of the early favorites to make noise at this year’s Kentucky Derby. Hofburg is trying to break a 46-year drought for horses breaking from the No. 9 post at the Kentucky Derby. After finishing second in the Florida Derby, it will be interesting to see how the horse follows up at Churchill Downs.

10. My Boy Jack

  • JOCKEY: Kent Desormeaux
  • OWNER: Don’t Tell My Wife Stables/Monomoy Stables
  • TRAINER: J. Keith Desormeaux
  • BREEDER: Brereton C. Jones

The fraternal duo of Desormeaux and Desormeaux train and ride My Boy Jack. Older brother J. Keith is the trainer, while his Hall of Fame jockey little brother Kent rides the horse to glory. My Boy Jack won the Lexington Stakes just three weeks before the Kentucky Derby.

11. Bolt d’Oro

  • JOCKEY: Victor Espinoza
  • OWNER: Ruis Racing
  • TRAINER: Mick Ruis
  • BREEDER: WinStar Farm

Bolt d’Oro and Victor Espinoza are based on the west coast, with most of his racing occurring at Del Mar and Santa Anita Park. Victor Espinoza, a three-time Kentucky Derby winner, will pilot Bolt d’Oro. A win in the San Felipe Stakes in March and placing at the Santa Anita Derby in April are signs that things could break favorably for trainer Mick Ruis.

12. Enticed

  • JOCKEY: Junior Alvarado
  • OWNER: Godolphin Racing
  • TRAINER: Kiaran P. McLaughlin
  • BREEDER: Godolphin

Enticed won the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes in Louisville last November, so the horse already has some familiarity with Churchill Downs. That can be a critical component of success, simply knowing what one is doing and where one is at. That familiarity could boost Enticed into the field of favorites.

13. Bravazo

  • JOCKEY: Luis Contreras
  • OWNER: Calumet Farm
  • TRAINER: D. Wayne Lukas
  • BREEDER: Calumet Farm

The winner of the Risen Star Stakes also spent some time at Churchill Downs as a juvenile. And, like other horses that have some familiarity with the site, it occurs as something that could be beneficial come race day. Can the Calumet Farm product regain that victorious spirit at Churchill Downs this weekend?

14. Mendelssohn

  • JOCKEY: Ryan Moore
  • OWNER: Derrick Smith/Mrs. John Magnier/Michael Tabor
  • TRAINER: A.P. O’Brien
  • BREEDER: Clarkland Farm

Mendelssohn is one of the favorites to win the Kentucky Derby on Saturday. The global traveler won the Patton Stakes and the UAE Derby before setting sights on Churchill Downs. Could the wins in Ireland and on the Arabian Peninsula translate to victory in the Fastest Two Minutes in Sports?

15. Instilled Regard

  • JOCKEY: Drayden Van Dyke
  • OWNER: OXO Equine
  • TRAINER: Jerry Hollendorfer
  • BREEDER: Katierich Farms

Instilled Regard won the Lecomte Stakes, but the horse has had a flighty career. The hot-and-old horse had his big break at the Lecomte in November, but since then has responded with a pair of graded stakes out of the money.

16. Magnum Moon

  • JOCKEY: Luis Saez
  • OWNER: Lawana and Robert Low
  • TRAINER: Todd Pletcher
  • BREEDER: Ramona S. Bass

Magnum Moon comes to the Kentucky Derby on something of a roll as a three-year-old. He used a late sprint to win the Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn over Solomini and Combatant. Then the horse beat out Quip, Solomini, and Combatant in the Arkansas Derby in April. This Pletcher horse has quite a pedigree, boasting Seattle Slew as one great-grandsire and Unbridled as another.

17. Solomini

  • JOCKEY: Flavien Prat
  • OWNER: Zayat Stables 
  • TRAINER:  Bob Baffert
  • BREEDER:  Glenna R. Salyer DVM

Solomini is fighting against history, as no horse has ever won from the No. 17 post at the Kentucky Derby since gates were introduced in 1930. The horse has yet to win a graded stakes race, but has finished in the money in five straight. Further, all have been on dirt, foreshadowing a possibility for a good option for anyone looking at exotic parimutuel options.

18. Vino Rosso

  • JOCKEY: John Velazquez
  • OWNER: Repole Stable/St. Elias Stable
  • TRAINER: Todd Pletcher
  • BREEDER: John D. Gunther

Back in April, Vino Rosso won the Wood Memorial as a favorite from the outside post. This time, the horse comes to Churchill Downs as one of Todd Pletcher’s best chances to repeat as trainer of a Kentucky Derby winner. John Velazquez was on Always Dreaming last year in the Run for the Roses, and he will be atop Vino Rosso this year hoping to repeat as winning jockey.

19. Noble Indy

  • JOCKEY: Florent Geroux
  • OWNER: WinStar Farm/Repole Stable
  • TRAINER: Todd Pletcher
  • BREEDER: WinStar Farm

Third in the Risen Star Stakes and winner of the Louisiana Derby, Noble Indy comes to Churchill Downs as a solid if unspectacular competitor. He has less experience and drew an unfavorable outside post. Noble Indy is almost certainly not Todd Pletcher’s best chance to win a Triple Crown among his four horses in the field.

20. Combatant

  • JOCKEY: Ricardo Santana Jr.
  • OWNER: Winchell Thoroughbreds/Willis Horton Racing
  • TRAINER: Steven Asmussen
  • BREEDER: Paget Bloodstock

Combatant started as a juvenile at Churchill Downs, winning his second maiden on the dirt track. The horse followed up with a pair of runner-up finishes, but has faded in his last two outings. Perhaps a return to Churchill Downs will open things up, though an outside post is not going to favor Combatant. He is probably no Big Brown, the last horse to win from outside back in 2008.

Next: 20 short stories about the 2018 Kentucky Derby horses

Also Eligible: Blended Citizen (will race with scratch)

  • JOCKEY: Kyle Frey
  • OWNER: Greg Hall/Sayjay Racing
  • TRAINER: Doug O’Neill
  • BREEDER: Ray Hanson

Blended Citizen is sitting right on the bubble in terms of making the field. All the horse needs is one more scratch and he will be among the starters in the gates. Winner of the Jeff Ruby Steaks (formerly Spiral Stakes) at Turfway Park, the horse has not run memorably on dirt. But dreams still could come true for this last contender in the field.