Horse racing’s most exciting period of the year begins Saturday — with an approximate post time of 6:24 p.m. — at the 141st running of the Kentucky Derby. A full field of 20 horses is set to take the track, with 5-2 favorite American Pharoah — starting from post 17 — in prime position to take the 11/4 mile Run of the Roses, which airs on NBC.
The odds may favor Pharoah, but there are more than a few sleeper horses capable of winning — not all of them with the greatest odds. Here’s a look at a few 3-year-olds to consider beyond American Pharoah, Dortmund (3-1 odds) and Carpe Diem (8-1).
Post 3 Materiality (12-1)
Although he did not race as a 2-year old — the last Derby winner to do so was Apollo in 1882 — the Florida Derby winner trained by Todd Pletcher should be near the front early and may have the endurance not to fade.
Post 7 El Kabeir (30-1)
Arabic for “the boss,” El Kabeir should be familiar to those who frequent Aqueduct. His jockey, three-time Kentucky Derby winner Calvin Borel, rode 50-1 longshot Mine That Bird to a Derby victory in 2009.
Post 10 Firing Line (12-1)
A pair of narrow losses to Dortmund indicate that these colts aren’t separated by much. Gary Stevens, 52, hopes to ride Firing Line to his fourth Kentucky Derby victory.
Post 11 International Star (20-1)A stretch-runner sired by 2000 Kentucky Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus, International Star won his third consecutive race at the March 28 Louisiana Derby.
Post 14 Frosted (15-1)
Another stretch-runner to watch, Frosted bested the favored El Kabeir at the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct last month. Distance isn’t expected to be an issue with this colt.
Post 18 Upstart (15-1)
A consistent colt that hasn’t run a bad race, Upstart finished second to Materiality in Florida and beat Frosted in the Jan. 24 Holy Bull Stakes. This is yet another horse poised to make its move late.