Justify installed early 3-1 favorite for Kentucky Derby

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A few hours before being installed as the 3-1 morning-line favorite for the 144th renewal of the GI Kentucky Derby, all eyes were on the unbeaten 'TDN Rising Star' Justify (Scat Daddy) Tuesday morning beneath the Twin Spires. He also trains Solomini, who landed the No. 17 post and was installed as a 30-1 long shot by Churchill Downs' oddsmaker Mike Battaglia.

The fact that cryptocurrencies are permeating even the most traditional events like the Run for the Roses is perhaps not surprising.

Bob Baffert had reason to both bemoan and celebrate Tuesday's draw. And most importantly, one huge factor that will undoubtedly affect the outcome of the bets - post position - was just determined an hour or so ago today.

He's likely to pay more mind to his primary contender anyway. "The favorite is going to be Justify". Per Childs Walker of the Baltimore Sun, Baffert is pleased with the result.

"Now he has to get in with a 20-horse field and break well", Baffert said.

Previous Derby guests include Britain's Princess Margaret, boxer Muhammad Ali, US presidents Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard Nixon, Hollywood legends Lana Turner and Bing Crosby, baseball star Babe Ruth and in recent years, singer Justin Timberlake, actor Jack Nicholson, Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and National Football League star Eli Manning. Trainer Todd Pletcher, who has two Derby victories on his resume, has four horses in this year's race. He'll have the guidance of jockey Mike E. Smith, a four-time Triple Crown victor who ranks second in all-time earnings, according to Equibase.

The six horses to perhaps focus on are Justify (+425), Mendelssohn (+525), Bolt D'Oro (+625), Audible (+725), Magnum Moon (+805) and Good Magic (+850).

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One of the third-place finishers was Curlin in 2007.

"It's better than Vegas I'll be honest with you", she said. They're going to have those horses ready. If he doesn't do it, Magnum Moon, another "rookie" horse, could do it. Some of that credit belongs to jockey Javier Castellano, who tops Smith on the aforementioned all-time earnings list.

He's bred for the distance as a son of two-time Horse of the Year Curlin, and the people behind him know what it takes to win the Derby. Unfortunately, though he finished second in the Preakness and third in the Belmont, the Derby was the last win of his career. He garnered buzz by winning Dubai's UAE Derby by a record 18 ½ lengths.

Battaglia said that he wrestled with making the second choice before settling on Mendelssohn, who won the UAE Derby as well as the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf.

O'Brien wasn't at the draw and Mendelssohn won't hit the Churchill Downs dirt strip until Wednesday after clearing quarantine.

Go And Go routed his USA opposition in the third leg of the American Triple Crown with that year's Kentucky Derby hero Unbridled only fourth.

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