The eyes of the horse racing world will be on Churchill Downs on Saturday as the prestigious Kentucky Derby takes centre stage.
The 146th edition of the Derby will be the second leg of the 2020 Triple Crown, following on from the running of the Belmont Stakes earlier in the season.
Tiz the Law was an impressive winner of that race and is odds on favourite in the horse racing betting to follow up this weekend.
A victory in the Derby would set-up the enticing prospect of Tiz the Law attempting to become the 14th horse to complete the treble in the Preakness Stakes during early October.
Read on as we take a look at some of the main contenders for the Kentucky Derby and predict who we think will win the race.
Tiz the Law
Tiz the Law will head into the Derby as a worthy favourite having reeled off four successive victories during the current campaign.
He won twice at Gulfstream Park earlier in the season, before romping home in the Belmont Stakes and Travers Stakes in his most recent outings.
The way he powered to the front in those latter two events was hugely impressive and it is difficult to imagine him not stealing the headlines in the Derby.
The only blemish on his record came at Churchill last season when he finished third on a sloppy track, but conditions should be more suitable this weekend.
Tiz the Law has looked a class apart this season and it would be a major shock if he failed to live up to expectations in the Derby.
Honor A. P.
Honor A. P. has never previously raced outside of California, but is rated as the biggest danger to Tiz the Law this weekend.
The horse has been brought along steadily by trainer John Shirreffs since finishing second on his debut at Del Mar just over a year ago.
He had one more run as a two-year-old, winning a Maiden Special Weight by more than five lengths from Tizamagician at Santa Anita.
Honor A. P. finished second behind Authentic in the San Felipe Stakes on his seasonal reappearance, before turning the tables over that horse in the Santa Anita Derby.
A second placed finish behind Thousand Words in the Shared Belief Stakes at Del Mar was a little disappointing, but subsequent workouts have been impressive and he could go close on Saturday.
Art Collector has built on a low-key start to the season to emerge as a genuine contender for success in the Derby.
He recorded two victories in lower grade races at Churchill, before cruising home ahead of Swiss Skydiver in the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland.
Thomas Drury Jr’s charge then produced a superb front-running performance to romp to victory ahead of Attachment Rate in the Ellis Park Derby.
He is yet to face a horse of Tiz the Law’s class, while the additional furlong in the Derby is a step into the unknown.
Art Collectors’ run style could set up the race perfectly for a closer and he may well lack the class needed to win the Debry.
Authentic took two Derby prep races at Santa Anita earlier this year, claiming comfortable victories in the Sham Stakes and San Felipe Stakes.
He was subsequently beaten by Honor A. P., before bouncing back to win the Haskell Stakes at Monmouth Park by a nose over Ny Traffic.
The horse is likely to be a front-runner alongside Art Collector, and the pair could become embroiled in a speed battle that costs them their chance of victory.
Trainer Bob Baffert is seeking a record-equalling sixth success in the race, having last won the event with Justify back in 2018.
Jockey John Velazquez is aiming to win the third Derby of his career, although a place in the top three is a more likely outcome.
Thousand Words was one of Baffert’s best hopes of winning the Derby earlier in the season, but defeats at Santa Anita and Los Alamitos appeared to expose his limitations.
However, his wire-to-wire win over Honor A. P. in the Shared Belief saw him re-establish his credentials for the race on Saturday.
Honor A. P. was unfortunate not to catch Thousand Words on that occasion and the extra distance of the Derby could prove to be problematical for Baffert’s charge.
Jockey Florent Geroux has never won the Derby in four previous attempts, with a third placed finish on Gun Runner in 2016 the nearest he has come to breaking his duck.
Baffert has claimed that Thousand Words looked a different horse in his most recent outing, but he doesn’t appeal as a likely Derby winner.
Kentucky Derby 2020 Preview: An early speed duel would suit Tiz the Law down to the ground and he looks a banker bet to win the second leg of the Triple Crown.