Kentucky Derby 2024 Contenders: Final Vegas Odds and Projections for Top Horses

Joe TanseyMay 4, 2024

LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY - MAY 03: Fierceness trains on the track during morning workouts ahead of the 150th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 03, 2024 in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Photo by Justin Casterline/2024 Getty Images)

Justin Casterline/2024 Getty Images

One horse will etch its name in history on Saturday at the 150th running of the Kentucky Derby.

Fierceness is the favored horse to capture the first leg of the Triple Crown and go after horse racing immortality over the next six weeks.

Only a handful of horses in the field can keep pace with Fierceness when he is at his best, but we are not guaranteed to witness the best race from the favored horse.

A year ago, Mage won at 15-1 odds and Rich Strike captured the 2022 event at 30-1.

Another long shot winner could emerge from the field on Saturday, but the pendulum could also swing back to the top horses in the event since they are so strong.

Kentucky Derby Odds and Post Positions

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Updated Post Positions for the 150th Kentucky Derby presented by @WoodfordReserve.

#9 Encino has scratched and #21 Epic Ride will run. #KyDerby


Fierceness is the horse to beat at the Kentucky Derby.

The Todd Pletcher-trained horse is coming off a victory at the Florida Derby and won the Breeders Cup Juvenile in November.

The Breeders Cup win showed that Fierceness can deliver in the biggest races against the best competition.

He also holds an edge in experience with Pletcher as trainer and John Velazquez aboard as the jockey. Pletcher and Velazquez own five Kentucky Derby wins and 12 Triple Crown victories between them.

Fierceness possesses all sorts of advantages from the team behind him to on-track performance and he could run away with the win.

The pre-race favorite has not been perfect in the buildup to the Kentucky Derby, as he finished third in the Holy Bull Stakes in February.

However, you can point to the Breeders Cup Juvenile win over Muth as the most impressive win in the biggest field. Muth likely would have been in the Derby field had he not been trained by the suspended Bob Baffert.

Sierra Leone, Catching Freedom and Forever Young all have 10-1 odds or lower to win at Churchill Downs. They appear to be the best competition for Fierceness.

Sierra Leone owns back-to-back victories and finished either first or second in all four of his races.

Catching Freedom won twice in 2024, including a triumph at the Louisiana Derby in March over a few other Derby contenders.

Forever Young is the best foreign horse in the field, but a foreign-bred horse has not won the first leg of the Triple Crown in over 40 years.

Honor Marie is likely the best long shot to bet on in the field. The horse owns a wealth of experience racing at Churchill Downs and took second behind Catching Freedom at the Louisiana Derby.

All of those horses could have their best races on Saturday, but if Fierceness turns in his best race, he will come away with the win. He is clearly the best horse in the field and few of his competitors can come close to reaching his best form.

Projection: 1. Fierceness, 2. Catching Freedom, 3. Honor Marie, 4. Sierra Leone

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