Kentucky Derby Preview

Optimizer
Text: Gene Menez
Photo: Bill Frakes/SI

Optimizer

Post Position: 2; Odds: 50-1

The Tuesday defection of Mark Valeski allowed trainer D. Wayne Lukas to enter his record 44th starter in the Kentucky Derby in Optimizer. The 76-year-old Lukas, who has won the race four times, is trying to surpass Charlie Whittingham as the oldest trainer to saddle a Derby winner. Lukas will have to do so with one of the longest shots in the field, a late-running type who finished second in the Rebel Stakes in March but has not placed better than sixth in three other starts this year.

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