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The 145th Running of the Kentucky Derby

It’s the most exciting two minutes in sports, combined with several hundred gallons of mint juleps and perhaps the greatest collection of hats America has ever seen, as 20 horses are slated to go to the post at 6:50pm ET Saturday for the 145th run for the roses at the Kentucky Derby. The stakes are higher than ever this year as the purse has been bumped by a cool million from $2 million to $3 million, with the winner taking home $1.86 million, with $600,000 for the runner-up, $300,000 for third, $150,000 to fourth, and $90,000 to fifth.

With this year’s 4-to-1 favorite, Omaha Beach, scratched with a cough on Wednesday, our new favorite is Game Winner, a huge, muscular horse with a 2018 Eclipse Award for best 2-year-old male and a $1.1 million win at the 2019 Breeder’s Cup, at 5-to-1.

And because it’s Derby time, we’re contractually obligated to discuss Game Winner’s legendary trainer Bob Baffert, who comes into the race with three horses — Game Winner, Improbable (6-1), and Roadster (6-1) — and a chance to tie trainer Bobby Jones’ record of six Derby wins. In addition to his five Derby wins, Baffert has twice had a horse win the Triple Crown: American Pharoah in 2015, and Justify in 2018.

But enough of the glory hounds! Let’s look to the bottom of the board for inspiration, where we find a two-way at 50-to-1 between Gray Magician and Master Fencer. Gray Magician finished second in each of his last two races, most recently at  1 3/16ths in the UAE. And then there’s Master Fencer, the great unknown of the Derby, who’ll be making his U.S. debut after launching his career in Japan, but his mom’s name is Sexy Samurai, so he’s got that much going for him, which is nice.

Complete Odds for the 2019 Kentucky Derby

  • Game Winner 5-1
  • Roadster 6-1
  • Improbable 6-1
  • Maximum Security 10-1
  • Tacitus 10-1
  • Code of Honor 15-1
  • Win Win Win 15-1
  • War of Will 20-1
  • Tax 20-1
  • By My Standards 20-1
  • Vekoma 20-1
  • Plus Que Parfait 30-1
  • Cutting Humor 30-1
  • Haikal 30-1
  • Long Range Toddy 30-1
  • Spinoff 30-1
  • Country House 30-1
  • Bodexpress 30-1
  • Gray Magician 50-1
  • Master Fencer 50-1

Coverage of The 145th Kentucky Derby runs from 12pm to 2:30pm ET Saturday on NBC Sports, before moving over to NBC from 2:30 pm to 7:15 pm.