LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- His role as the Kentucky Derby favorite
confirmed, Brother Derek now needs only to figure out how to win
from the far, far outside.
Lawyer Ron will have the same challenge.
Brother Derek was installed as the 3-1 favorite Wednesday
despite drawing the No. 18 post position. Only one horse has ever
won the Derby from that spot -- Gato Del Sol in 1982.
"How can I complain about my post?" trainer Dan Hendricks
said. "We're here. This is the greatest race in the world. And the
18 hole is not too bad the way the speed is set up in the race."
Unbeaten this year and winner of the Santa Anita Derby, Brother
Derek will be ridden by Alex Solis in a crowded field of 20
In California, Brother Derek won easily while racing on the lead
against small fields. In his only race with a large field, the bay
colt finished fourth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile leaving from the
No. 13 post.
But with expected speed horses Sinister Minister and Sharp Humor
starting inside Brother Derek, Hendricks says his colt will simply
follow 4-1 co-second favorite Lawyer Ron, who drew the No. 17 post.
"We should be able to follow Lawyer Ron," Hendricks, paralyzed
from the waist down because of a motocross accident in 2004, said.
"With his high cruising speed, Alex should be able to set him up
where ever he wants to be. If it rains, the outside post will
benefit us even more."
Undefeated Barbaro, who drew the No. 8 post, was also 4-1.
Churchill Downs oddsmaker Mike Battaglia made up his mind
Brother Derek would be the favorite following the Santa Anita
"I think the California horses were very strong this year,"
Battaglia said. "He won impressively."
Lawyer Ron comes into the Derby with a six-race winning streak.
Trainer Bob Holthus was happy his colt will start from the outside.
"Fifteen would have been ideal, but it was already taken,"
Holthus said. "I didn't want to get trapped on the inside --
there's a lot of speed on the inside. If we can follow somebody,
we'll be in good shape."
Illinois Derby winner Sweetnorthernsaint, ridden by two-time
Derby winning jockey Kent Desormeaux, was the fourth choice at
Trainer Bob Baffert will seek his fourth Derby win with three
entries: Wood Memorial winner Bob and John, Blue Grass winner
Sinister Minister and Santa Anita Derby runner-up Point Determined.
All were listed at 12-1.
A.P. Warrior, at 15-1, gives John Shirreffs a chance to repeat
after sending out Giacomo to victory last year at 50-1 odds.
Shirreffs went with post No. 10, the same spot Giacomo won from.
"It was so lucky for us last year," Shirreffs said. "It's a
A third Derby winning trainer has a horse in the field: Barclay
Tagg, who won in 2003 with Funny Cide, will try again with unbeaten
Showing Up, the Lexington Stakes winner and 20-1 choice, leaving
from the No. 6 post.
Three trainers have two horses in the field -- Todd Pletcher with
Bluegrass Cat and Keyed Entry; Steve Asmussen has Private Vow and
Storm Treasure; and Kiaran McLaughlin has Jazil and Flashy Bull.
For the first time, an owner will send out two unbeaten horses
in the same Derby -- Gretchen and Roy Jackson's Lael Farm owns
Showing Up, who is 3-for-3, and Barbaro, who is 5-for-5.
Absent from this year's Derby will be Hall of Fame trainers D.
Wayne Lukas, a four-time winner, and Nick Zito, a two-time winner
who sent out five horses in last year's race.
Also out of this year's race are recently retired Hall of Fame
riders -- Gary Stevens, Jerry Bailey and Pat Day, who combined to
win six Derbies.
Since the 20-horse rule began in 1984, the race went off with
the maximum field only last year. There have been 19 starters five
times under the rule, most recently in 2000.
With 23 horses entered, only the top 20 graded-stakes earners
made the field.
Sunriver was ranked 21st on the graded stakes earnings list,
while others left out were Lewis Michael and Hemingway's Key.
Kentucky Derby television coverage begins Saturday, May 6 at 5 p.m. ET on NBC Sports.