Posted: Friday May 6, 2011 1:01PM ; Updated: Friday May 6, 2011 1:48PM
Gene Menez
Gene Menez>ARCHIVE

Archarcharch among best bets in wide-open Kentucky Derby Field (cont.)

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Early Rising: Preparing for the Kentucky Derby
Source: SI
Years of preparation and training are required to enter the elite group that will race in the Kentucky Derby. Produced by Bill Frakes and Laura Heald.

Brilliant Speed

Post: No. 2 (30-1)

The Tom Albertrani-trained horse closed strongly to win the Blue Grass and should be mowing down tired horses in the stretch on Saturday as long as he handles the dirt surface. In his only two starts on dirt, he has lost by a combined 40 lengths. But those were his first ever races, back in the summer.

Shackleford

Post: No. 14 (12-1)

The Florida Derby runner-up has received a lot of positive buzz for the way he has acted and looked in the mornings since arriving at Churchill. But he was unable to hold off Dialed In during the Florida Derby, and there's nothing to suggest that he will be able to hold off the closers in the Kentucky Derby either.

Santiva

Post: No. 12 (30-1)

Santiva has already won a graded stakes around two turns at Churchill Downs (the Kentucky Jockey Club in November). Between his ability to get the 10 furlongs, his affinity for the track and his good post position, he's a wiseguy pick to hit the board at a price.

Stay Thirsty

Post: No. 4 (20-1)

He's coming off a perplexing seventh-place finish in the Florida Derby, but he outworked his highly regarded stablemate Uncle Mo this week. If you're willing to throw out what happened at Gulfstream, he belongs in the conversation for the top spot, but I'll be siding elsewhere.

Pants On Fire

Post: No. 7 (20-1)

Rosie Napravnik is trying to become the first female jockey to win the Kentucky Derby, and she has a live long shot in Pants on Fire, who should be in the garden spot tracking the early leaders. Don't be surprised if he hangs around long enough and hits the board.

Master of Hounds

Post: No. 11 (30-1)

Given the mediocrity of this group, perhaps this is the year an invader from Europe, such as Master of Hounds, finally wins the blanket of roses. But he's never raced on dirt, so I'll let someone else take that gamble.

Comma to the Top

Post: No. 6 (30-1)

Likely pacesetter Comma to the Top couldn't hold off Midnight Interlude in the Santa Anita Derby and, like Shackleford, now must outlast many other classier closers and still get an extra eighth of a mile. No thanks.

Derby Kitten

Post: No. 9 (30-1)

Twinspired

Post: No. 10 (30-1)

These two have assembled their resumes running on turf and synthetics and have no dirt success. Pass.

Decisive Moment

Post: No. 5 (30-1)

He likes to be forwardly placed but drew poorly with a post right inside the main speed horses.

Twice the Appeal

Post: No. 3 (20-1)

Twice the Appeal bested a mediocre field in winning the Sunland Derby and did so unimpressively. Even though he picks up jockey Calvin Borel, who has won three of the last four Kentucky Derbies, Twice the Appeal has no appeal here. Of course, neither did Borel's 2009 mount, Mine That Bird.

Watch Me Go

Post: No. 19 (50-1)

Long-shot Watch Me Go is only relevant because he'll be the last horse that the viewers at home will see load into the gate before the horses are sent on their way.

For more thoughts on the Kentucky Derby, follow Gene @SI_GeneMenez on Twitter.

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