Kentucky Derby 2024 post positions, odds: Fierceness the favorite, Sierra Leone a top contender

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — With a bourbon toast and a crowd situated around the new paddock terrace, Fierceness drew the 17th pole position and was named the official early morning line Kentucky Derby favorite at the race’s draw on Saturday night. Though the 17 has never won the Derby (0 for 44), Fierceness, with 5-2 odds set by Mike Bettaglia, could be ideally situated from the outside of other speed horses. Sierra Leone, who drew the 2 position, is Bettaglia’s second pick, at 5-2. Affirmed is the last winner from post two; that happened in 1978.

Fierceness’ owner, Mike Repole, has been plenty snakebit here. None of his seven horses who have reached the starting gate have placed. In 2011, his heavy favorite Uncle Mo, scratched the day before the race with a gastrointestinal illness and another favorite, Forte, was scratched last year by track vets due to a bruised hoof.

Repole, the fast-talking New Yorker who made his fortune via Vitamin Water, even has something of a star-crossed past with the city. He’s a St. John’s grad, and one of the Johnnies’ biggest boosters (he talked about the portal here earlier this week). St. John’s, of course, is coached by former Louisville coach Rick Pitino.

But this week Repole is here for the horses, and he sat front and center in the first public draw in Derby history, the horses matched with their gates in a picturesque outdoor setting beneath the iconic twin spires atop the refurbished paddock terrace.

While the Derby is steeped in tradition, the post draw has never been beholden to one particular day or time. The switch to Saturday was largely for practical purposes. It gives bettors and handicappers more time to consider the horses and the odds, plus requires horses to be at Churchill Downs by Saturday, providing veterinary access to the entrants for a full week. On the heels of last year’s Derby, where five horses, including Repole’s Forte, were scratched prior to the race, and 12 horses died in the days surrounding the race, the added scrutiny is both wise and purposeful.

But moving the draw offered a few other bonuses as well. It gave the festivities the feeling of an official kickoff for the first time. Ordinarily those affiliated with the Derby entrants gather in a private setting, race fans left to learn of the post positions and odds via a livestream. But this year organizers moved it to Saturday, and brought it to the people, if you will. While owners and trainers still gathered in a roped off area and sipped bourbon delivered by waiters, fans stood four to five deep to watch and others leaned over the rails from the private clubs above the paddock.

Afterward they resumed their evening, with races running through until 11 p.m, a steady stream of fans strolling around and enjoying the betting windows most in their Derby finery.

The switch up also gave locals a day to enjoy their track. In recent years, out of towners have started their Derby visits long before actual race day. In response Louisvillians have carved out days for themselves — first Thurby, but as that grew more popular, along came Champions Day (on Wednesday), 502’s Day (Tuesday) and Dawn at the Downs (Sunday and Monday).


2024 Kentucky Derby Odds

Post Horse Jockey Odds

1

Dornoch

Luis Sáez

20-1

2

Sierra Leone

Tyler Gaffalione

3-1

3

Mystik Dan

Brian Hernandez Jr.

20-1

4

Catching Freedom

Flavien Prat

8-1

5

Catalytic

José Ortiz

30-1

6

Just Steel

Keith Asmussen

20-1

7

Honor Marie

Ben Curtis

20-1

8

Just a Touch

Florent Géroux

10-1

9

Encino

Axel Concepción

20-1

10

T O Password

Kazushi Kimura

30-1

11

Forever Young

Ryusei Sakai

10-1

12

Track Phantom

Joel Rosario

20-1

13

West Saratoga

Jesús Castañón

50-1

14

Endlessly

Umberto Rispoli

30-1

15

Domestic Product

Irad Ortiz Jr.

30-1

16

Grand Mo the First

Emisael Jaramillo

50-1

17

Fierceness

John Velázquez

5-2

18

Stronghold

Antonio Fresu

20-1

19

Resilience

Júnior Alvarado

20-1

20

Society Man

Frankie Dettori

50-1

ALTERNATE

Epic Ride

Adam Beschizza

50-1

ALTERNATE

Mugatu

Joe Talamo

50-1

(Photo: Provider: Matt Stone / The Courier Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK)

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *