2018 Kentucky Derby one-liners

Profile Picture: Kellie Reilly

May 5th, 2018

If you’re looking for a quick take on each Kentucky Derby (G1) contender, you’ve come to the right place. After all of the virtual ink has been spilled and opinions hashed out, it can help to have one final distillation of the essentials.

So in post position order, here we go:

#1 FIRENZE FIRE: Since his career high in last October’s Champagne (G1), distance-challenged colt is 0-for-3 at two turns and looking for a softer spot.

#2 FREE DROP BILLY: Breeders’ Futurity (G1) winner has been convincingly beaten in four subsequent starts and needs to turn the tables on several rivals to factor.

#3 PROMISES FULFILLED: Likely pacesetter stole the Fountain of Youth (G2) but got burned in an early scrum in the Florida Derby (G1), the latter scenario likelier to repeat here.

#4 FLAMEAWAY: Gritty all-surface performer capitalized on beneficial set-up in Sam F. Davis (G3) but must show more than his ensuing runner-up efforts in Tampa Bay Derby (G2) and Blue Grass (G2).

#5 AUDIBLE: Once-beaten colt jumped up massively in Holy Bull (G2) and Florida Derby (G1) and hopes that Gulfstream Park form transfers to Churchill Downs.

#6 GOOD MAGIC: Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1)-winning champion got back in the groove in the Blue Grass, and may be sitting on a peak effort Saturday.

#7 JUSTIFY: Unbeaten Santa Anita Derby (G1) hero has all of the hype as a Bob Baffert-trained favorite, but must overcome the “Apollo curse” against Derby hopefuls who were unraced at two.

#8 LONE SAILOR: Louisiana Derby (G2) near-misser must retain his focus and move forward again if he is to make his presence felt.

#9 HOFBURG: Juddmonte blueblood stepped up from a maiden win to finish second in the Florida Derby, but the lightly-raced type will have to deal with navigating a 20-horse field from well off the pace.

#10 MY BOY JACK: Southwest (G3) and Lexington (G3) winner will hit his best stride late but might lag too far back early and have too much ground to make up.

#11 BOLT D’ORO: Multiple Grade 1 winner at two has turned in three strong efforts in defeat, most recently when second to Justify, and must not become a “forgotten horse” here.

#12 ENTICED: Godolphin colt captured the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) over this track last fall and added the Gotham (G3), but got slammed literally and figuratively by Vino Rosso in the Wood Memorial (G2).

#13 BRAVAZO: Calumet Farm homebred made the most of a beneficial set-up in the Risen Star (G2), but even forgiving his bizarre miscue in the Louisiana Derby, he needs a career-best to factor.

#14 MENDELSSOHN: Beholder’s half-brother is the most compelling international shipper to try the Derby, but the Aidan O’Brien trainee faces an entirely different scenario from his only other dirt experience when crushing the UAE Derby (G2).

#15 INSTILLED REGARD: $1.05 million Arch colt looked poised for big things over the winter when placing in the Los Alamitos Futurity (G1) and taking the Lecomte (G3), but must do better than his ensuing fourths in the Risen Star and Santa Anita Derby.

#16 MAGNUM MOON: Undefeated Arkansas Derby (G1) and Rebel (G2) hero is another saddled with the “Apollo Curse” as an unraced juvenile, along with questions about his drifting out at Oaklawn Park.

#17 SOLOMINI: Disqualified first-past-the-post in the Los Alamitos Futurity has placed in all of his stakes appearances, including the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and Arkansas Derby, and promises to fight for a share.

#18 VINO ROSSO: Wood Memorial winner finally put it all together after trying to figure the game out for a while, but can’t get away with any mental lapses or scrimmaging down the lane here.

#19 NOBLE INDY: Once-beaten colt showed great resolve to battle back in the Louisiana Derby, but the forwardly-placed type has a tall task from post 19.

#20 COMBATANT: Frequent stakes bridesmaid clearly has ability, but his rallies throughout the prep series at Oaklawn never quite looked like getting there.

For more details, consult the free Brisnet past performances as well as the Betting Guide for Derby 144.

Justify photo by Bob Newell/