Post time: 5:34 PM CT/6:34 PM ET
Coverage starts at 1:30 PM CT/2:30 ET on NBC
Crowd: 150,000 expected at Churchill Downs
I've been correct on the last 3 winners of the Derby, California Chrome in 2014, Triple Crown winner American Pharoah in 2015 (what a horse, first since Affirmed in 1978 to win the Triple Crown), and Nyquist last year. Haven't had as much success with the last 3 Preakness and Belmont predictions, but this year is a new year, so charged up for this year's Triple Crown season. Feel good about the favorite in this one. The 3 year old's trainer, Todd Pletcher, is an experienced hand who won the Derby in 2010 with Super Saver. The 50 year old Pletcher has 4,000+ victories and counting. Jockey John Velazquez, 45, won the Derby aboard Animal Kingdom in 2011. Velazquez, born in Carolina, Puerto Rico, has approximately 5,590 victories on his resume. Both Pletcher and Velazquez have 2 Belmont victories as well. Like this dynamic duo and I really like this horse, which is extremely impressive looking. Like the horse's genealogy, too, as his sire is Bodemister which won the 2012 Arkansas Derby and was runner-up at the 2012 Derby and Preakness respectively. This colt won the Florida Derby at 1 1/8 miles in on April 1st, won on Gulfstream Park in Florida on March 4th (1 1/8 miles), and also at Tampa Bay Downs (1 mile, 40 yards). He's 3 for 3 this year, all on dirt tracks, which is the surface at Churchill Downs. This 3 year old is a good looking, powerful horse with massively built legs. Churchill Downs got a ton of rain yesterday, but the forecast is for sunny skies beginning at noon today, and the track dries well at Churchill Downs, so expecting a fast track by post time. Irish War Cry and Classic Empire will challenge, but I'm going with the 5:1 colt to be victorious in "the Most Exciting 2 minutes in sports," capturing the 143rd Kentucky Derby.