Following a pair of second-place finishes at the Santa Anita Derby and the San Felipe Stakes, Mor Spirit will be looking to become the first horse to claim victory in the Run for the Roses from the 17 post when he hits the track Saturday sporting 14-1 odds to win the Kentucky Derby at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
The less-than-desirable post position has done little to dampen Mor Spirit’s odds, which have climbed from 18-1 in late April.
Trained by Bob Baffert, producer of four Kentucky Derby winners, including last year’s Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, Mor Spirit last earned a trip to the winner’s circle at the Robert B. Lewis Stakes, getting past a sparse field as 3-5 chalk.
Mor Spirit needed a strong stretch run to edge Exaggerator for second place at the San Felipe Stakes, but was subsequently blown away by Exaggerator on a sloppy track at the Santa Anita Derby, once again settling for a second-place finish.
With that victory, Exaggerator rocketed up the odds for Saturday afternoon’s 142nd running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs, climbing from 35-1 to his current position at 15-2, trailing only favorite Nyquist, who remains the favorite at 3-1 odds.
Exaggerator started his spectacular run at Santa Anita from the 8 post, and will be in the middle of the field on Saturday after drawing the 11 post earlier this week.
Nyquist will be looking to maintain a perfect record with an eighth straight victory, and will start two positions over from Exaggerator at 13. In addition to maintaining his perch atop the Kentucky Derby odds, Nyquist is also pegged as a strong -240 favorite on the Kentucky Derby props board to finish ahead of Exaggerator, who trails as a +165 underdog.
Nyquist will start alongside Mohaymen, who occupies the 14 post, and leads in a head-to-head matchup with the early Kentucky Derby favorite, sporting -250 odds versus +170 odds for Mohaymen.
Mohaymen led the way early on in Kentucky Derby betting, with odds as short as 9-4 after winning his first five races, including victories in the Holy Bull Stakes and Fountain of Youth. But a disappointing fourth-place finish in a head-to-head battle with Nyquist in the Florida Derby bounced him from atop the odds table, dropping him back of Exaggerator at 8-1.
Starting from the 5 post, which has produced 13 Kentucky Derby winners since 1900, Gun Runner rounds out the favorites at 9-1, ahead of Creator at 12-1, while Destin and Brody’s Cause join Mor Spirit at 14-1.
Thumbnail photo via Pat McDonogh/Louisville Courier-Journal via USA TODAY NETWORK