Kentucky Derby 2018 picks: Our experts make their predictions

Kentucky Derby entrant Bolt d'Oro runs during a morning workout at Churchill Downs Wednesday

On Saturday, the Peacock's Kentucky Derby coverage kicks off at noon ET on NBCSN and 2:30 p.m. on NBC.

Bolt d'Oro remains a solid pick to win on Saturday, but he isn't the only horse who could have success on Saturday if it does indeed rain.

That competitive depth makes Saturday's race intriguing.

Bravazo will be a decided underdog in the 20-horse field at early odds of 50-1.

Pletcher also saddles Florida Derby victor Audible, who has a four-race win streak.

Justify won each of those races easily, though, and impressed horsemen during workouts this week in Louisville. Or Justify's trainer Bob Baffert might have the right horse.

Back then, with the world in less of a hurry, they ran it at a mile and a half instead of the current mile and a quarter, and the account didn't mention the name of the 10-1 shot Apollo until well into its verbal fray. "Her and Monomoy have similar styles as far as where we would like for them to be placed in the race".

Longshots to include in your combo wagering are two ponies that have unfavorable post positions. I will put $40 on his nose to win.

Justify's Hall of Fame jockey, "Big Money Mike" Smith, is 52 and has been on dozens of stars. Mendelssohn then went to the dirt for the first time and blew away the field by 18 lengths in the UAE Derby in Dubai. The chestnut filly charged from the No. 14 post into contention and the lead and held ground in a thrilling side-by-side stretch battle with Wonder Gadot before Monomoy Girl kept the small edge to the wire.

But a European-trained horse has never won the Kentucky Derby.

"I love the way that he attended pace in the Holy Bull [Stakes at Gulfstream Park] and the way he dropped off the very fast pace of the Florida Derby, so it shows his versatility", Pletcher said of Audible.

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"It's one of the toughest Derbies I've ever seen", Baffert told reporters. "He's a big horse, it takes him the first jump, but he's pretty athletic after that", said Smith who compared him to Point Given.

Good Magic has some big wins, capturing the Breeders Cup Juvenile and Blue Grass Stakes.

If Vino Rosso wins, Pletcher and Velazquez will be the first trainer-jockey combination to win the Derby in consecutive years since Lucien Laurin and Ron Turcotte teamed up to win with Riva Ridge (1972) and Secretariat (1973). Justify beat the Bolt by three lengths in the Santa Anita Derby. The last horse to win the Kentucky Derby without a start as a 2-year-old was Apollo.

The 2018 Kentucky Derby presents a real challenge to bettors with a top-heavy field highlighted by Justify, Mendelssohn and Magnum Moon, as well as a handful of other top choices with talent that suggests a high finish.

Pletcher said it's only a matter of time until the curse ends. He has two of the game's hottest riders on Magnum Moon (Luis Saez) and Noble Indy (Florent Geroux).

Mendelssohn is the richest horse in the Derby by any measure - either by his sale price or the $1.9 million he has earned. He may or may not win this race for a multitude of reasons-inexperience, trouble coming out of the gate, etc.

"There's so many other things that can go wrong that I don't even worry about that", Baffert said. So when says he likes both Justify and Magnum Moon, despite their inexperience, you pay attention. "Todd's going to have his ready, and Baffert is going to have his".

In recent years, handicappers have had to wade through a pile of mediocrity to pick out the best of a so-so cache of horses.

"It's good to be back with a horse that has a legitimate chance of winning", he said. Like the exacta box, you're betting three horses as a trifecta in every possible order, technically resulting in six different bets.

GY: I think as a longshot, Hofburg (Tapit) is going to run pretty good.

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