Early Look at 2018 Kentucky Derby Contenders 

Road to the Kentucky Derby Starts Soon with 2018 Prep Races

The 144th Kentucky Derby is more than seven months away, but the Road to the Kentucky Derby begins next month. The 2018 Kentucky Derby prep race schedule will be released soon, and the races start in September and run through April; less than a month before the 2018 Kentucky Derby.

You can bet on the winner of the Kentucky Derby well in advance of the big race, as the Kentucky Derby Future Wager (KDFW) is offered. There are four KDFW pools with the first one released in November. To get you ready for some of the horses you will see in the early pool, we’re put together a list of the early Derby contenders. Some of these horses will drop from the list along the way, while others will start to gather momentum and garner more media attention as they compete in and win some of the Kentucky Derby prep races.

One of the most anticipated and watched Kentucky Derby prep races is the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. This year’s race is Nov. 4 at Del Mar racetrack just North of San Diego, CA. The race is often a preview for some of the expected runners in the Kentucky Derby and Triple Crown races. In 2016, Classic Empire won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile on his way to a 4th place finish in the 2017 Kentucky Derby and runner-up finish in the Preakness Stakes.

If you’re handicapping and betting on the Kentucky Derby prep races, then bet with a proven leader at TwinSpires; a Churchill Downs company.


Rank Horse  (Sire) Trainer Last Start Next Start
1 Copper Bullet (More Than Ready) Steve Asmussen 1st, 2017 Saratoga Special Stakes (G2) ???
2 Run Away (Run Away and Hide) Simon Callaghan 1st, Best Pal Stakes at Del Mar Del Mar Futurity
3 Mojovation (Quality Road) Todd Pletcher 1st, Saratoga MSW (7/29/17) Hopeful Stakes
4 He Hate Me (Algorithms) Horacio DePaz 1st, 2017 Tremont Stakes ???
5 Firenze Fire (Poseidon’s Warrior) Jason Service 1st, 2017 Sanford Stakes Hopeful Stakes
6 Ten City (Run Away and Hide) Kenny McPeek 1st, 2017 Bashford Manor Stakes (G3) Ellis Park Juvenile
7 Dak Attack (Ghostzapper) Dale Romans 1st, Churchill Downs MSW (6/15/17) Ellis Park Juvenile
8 Kowboy Karma (Kodiak Kowboy) Larry Jones 1st, Strike Your Colors Stakes ???
9 Hollywood Star (Malibu Moon) Dale Romans 2nd, Saratoga Special Stakes (G2) ???
10 National Flag (Speightstown) Todd Pletcher 1st, Saratoga MSW (8/5/17) Hopeful Stakes
11 Free Drop Billy (Union Rags) Dale Romans 2nd, Sanford Stakes Hopeful Stakes
12 Shangroyal (Shanghai Bobby) Wesley Ward 1st, Belmont Park MSW (7/8/17) Hopeful Stakes
13 Sporting Chance (Tiznow) D. Wayne Lukas 1st Saratoga MSW (7/22/17) Hopeful Stakes
14 What A Catch (Justin Phillip) Todd Pletcher 1st, Rockville Centre Stakes ???
15 Oskar Blues (Speightstown) Kenny McPeek 1st, Saratoga MSW (8/12/17) ???
16 Soul Streit (Maclean’s Magic) Bob Baffert 1st, Del Mar MSW (8/13/17) ???
17 Coltandmississippi (Pioneerof the Nile) Todd Pletcher 1st, Saratoga MSW (8/12/17) ???
18 Airtouch (Tapit) Todd Pletcher 2nd, Saratoga MSW (8/12/17) ???
19 Tempestad (Uncle Mo) Todd Pletcher 3rd, Saratoga Special Stakes (G2) ???
20 Serengeti (Algorithms) Bob Baffert 6th, Best Pal Stakes (G2) ???

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