Here is a look at the 20 horses entered for Saturday's Kentucky Derby, including sire, trainer and a comment on their racing history.
The horses are listed roughly in my order of preference.
Also attached is a list of the first three finishers in key preps, in chronological order of running.
UNCLE MO (Indian Charlie): Todd Pletcher. Third in the Wood Memorial -- his first career defeat and then found to be suffering gastrointestinal problems. Worked last week at Churchill Downs, getting 5 furlongs in 1:01 4/5. Pletcher said the time was "sort of in the range of what we were looking for," adding there were signs Uncle Mo was "back to his old self." Still a questionable starter with decision maybe not until Derby Day.
ARCHARCHARCH (Arch): Jinx Fires. Arkansas Derby winner, previously won Southwest but finished third behind The Factor in the Rebel. Runs from off the pace, which might help mitigate his No. 1 post position -- if jockey Jon Court can get through traffic.
DIALED IN (Mineshaft): Nick Zito. The Florida Derby winner. Winner of three of four career starts, lost only to older stablemate Equestrio in 3-year-old debut while prepping for Florida Derby. Broke his maiden last fall at Churchill Downs. Runs from off the pace. Well-drawn in stall No. 8.
SANTIVA (Giant's Causeway): Eddie Kenneally. Won the Kentucky Jockey Club at Churchill Downs in November. Second in the Risen Star in his first start this year behind Mucho Macho Man. Then ninth in the Blue Grass over Keeneland's synthetic surface.
TWICE THE APPEAL (Successful Appeal): Jeff Bonde. Sunland Derby winner. Had to drop to $30K maiden claimers to get first win after six losses, all but one on synthetic or grass. Much better on real dirt, second in Turf Paradise Derby then won the Sunland Park Derby. But those were against lesser opponents.
SOLDAT (War Front): Kiaran McLaughlin. Second in Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf but made all three starts this year on dirt, winning the Fountain of Youth after setting a pressured pace but then failed badly in the Florida Derby, finishing fifth, 10 1/2 lengths behind Dialed In. Was that a one-time flop or is he a "need to lead" type?
MIDNIGHT INTERLUDE (War Chant): Bob Baffert. Santa Anita Derby winner, beating Comma to the Top by a head while coming off his maiden win. Has won from the lead but won Santa Anita Derby after stalking the pace. Starts from No. 15.
NEHRO (Mineshaft): Steve Asmussen. Runner-up by a neck each time in Louisiana and Arkansas derbies behind Pants on Fire and Archarcharch. But he has only one career win. Another late runner who will need racing luck from gate No. 19.
MUCHO MACHO MAN (Macho Uno): Kathy Ritvo. Won Risen Star at Fair Grounds, fourth in Holy Bull at Gulfstream and third in Louisiana Derby behind Pants on Fire and Nehro. Only two wins from eight starts. Does he have distance issues? Or is he the "forgotten horse" who will jump up to provide this year's upset win?
COMMA TO THE TOP (Bwana Charlie): Peter Miller. Won 5 straight to close last year. Fourth in El Camino Real Derby and San Felipe, then front-running second in Santa Anita Derby. Pace candidate but distance questions. Miller originally said he wouldn't run in the Derby but the bug bit and here he is. Patrick Valenzuela, who hasn't won the Kentucky Derby since Sunday Silence beat Easy Goer in 1989, takes over the ride.
PANTS ON FIRE (Jump Start): Kelly Breen. Upset Louisiana Derby winner after stalking the pace. Just two wins from eight starts. Rosie Napravnik tries to become the first female jockey to win the Derby, starting from gate No. 7 and likely will be on or near the lead.
SHACKELFORD (Forestry): Dale Romans. Florida Derby runner-up at nearly 70-1 odds, set pace and just nipped a head by Dial Up. Distant fifth in Fountain of Youth in first stakes try. Was the Florida Derby for real? Can he get to the lead from post No. 14 and keep enough in reserve for the long stretch run?
STAY THIRSTY (Bernardini): Todd Pletcher. Fifth in Breeders' Cup Juvenile, won Gotham after stalking the pace, then seventh, beaten 16 3/4 lengths in Florida Derby. Owned by the Mike Repole, who also owns Uncle Mo. Another who should be close to the lead.
TWINSPIRED (Harlan's Holiday): Mike Maker. He's appropriately named. But he's also a synthetic-track specialist, winner of the WEBN at Turfway and second behind Brilliant Speed in the Blue Grass at Keeneland. Dismal in his only dirt try -- that at Remington Park.
BRILLIANT SPEED (Dynaformer): Tom Albertrani. Nothing in two maiden tries on dirt in New York last summer, moved way up on turf at Belmont and Gulfstream, rallied from last to win Blue Grass by a nose over Twinspired in his first try on artificial. Dynaformer offspring are always dangerous in big races. Despite the name, should be running late -- if at all.
MASTER OF HOUNDS (Kingmambo): Trained in Ireland by Aidan O'Brien. Finished sixth in Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf with a challenging trip. Only previous start this year was a second, by a nose, in UAE Derby at Meydan over Tapeta on World Cup night. That 1 3/16 mile was his first try past a mile and the 1 1/4 quarter should be no sweat. The one prep in the desert is the question.
DECISIVE MOMENT (With Distinction): Juan Arias. Made his money at Delta Downs during the winter -- second in Delta Jackpot, won the Jean Laffite. Fifth in Risen Star against better, second in the Spiral behind Animal Kingdom. Pace presser.
ANIMAL KINGDOM (Leroidesanimaux): Wayne Catalano. Jumped up from optional claimer to win Spiral Stakes at Turfway. From four starts, two wins on synthetic, seconds on dirt and turf.
WATCH ME GO (West Acre): Kathleen O'Connell. Won the Tampa Bay Derby at better than 40-1 odds, then finished sixth in the Illinois Derby, beaten 17 lengths in a weak field. Overall 4-for-10 and the No. 20 post position won't help.
DERBY KITTEN (Kitten's Joy): Mike Maker. Five tries without breaking his maiden last year at four different tracks. Dropped to 7 1/2 furlongs at Gulfstream in January to finally win, then copped minor stakes at Gulfstream before jumping up to win the Lexington at Keeneland. All previous tries were on turf except one off-the-turf at Belmont where he ran seventh, beaten 27 1/2 lengths.
Results of key Kentucky Derby preps, in chronological order:
Louisiana Derby: Pants on Fire, Nehro, Mucho Macho Man
Spiral Stakes: Animal Kingdom, Decisive Moment, Twinspired
Sunland Derby: Twice the Appeal, Astrology, Ruler on Ice
Florida Derby: Dialed In, Shackelford, To Honor and Serve
Santa Anita Derby: Midnight Interlude, Comma to the Top, Mr. Commons
Wood Memorial: Toby's Corner, Arthur's Tale, Uncle Mo
Illinois Derby: Joe Van, Zoebear, The Fed Eased
Blue Grass: Brilliant Speed, Twinspired, King Congie
Arkansas Derby: Archarcharch, Nehro, Dance City
Lexington: Derby Kitten, Prime Touch, Casper's Touch