Will The 2024 Kentucky Derby Have A Full 20-Horse Field?

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Written By Eli Hershkovich | Last Updated
Kentucky Derby Odds

With the home stretch for Kentucky Derby odds approaching, the field is closer to being finalized. Only 18 horses entered the starting gate in last year’s race. Will the 150th Run for the Roses feature a full field of 20? Barring any more scratches, yes.

No. 9 Encino has scratched but No. 21 Epic Ride now draws into the field to maintain 20 horses in the race. One more also-eligible remains, No. 22 Mugatu; however, there is a deadline for him to get into the race. So there is still a possibility less than 20 horses will run in the Derby. We’ll explain more below.

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2024 Kentucky derby Morning Line odds

Post PositionHorseMorning line oddsUpdated Kentucky
Derby odds
TrainerJockey
1.Dornoch20-122-1Danny GarganLuis Saez
2.Sierra Leone3-15-1Chad BrownTyler Gaffalione
3.Mystik Dan20-116-1Kenny McPeekBrian Hernandez
4.Catching Freedom8-18-1Brad CoxFlavien Prat
5.Catalytic30-132-1Saffie JosephJose Ortiz
6. Just Steel20-122-1D. Wayne LukasKeith Asmussen
7.Honor Marie20-113-1Whit BeckmanBen Curtis
8.Just A Touch10-110-1Brad CoxFlorent Geroux
9. EncinoScratchedScratchedBrad CoxAxel Concepcion
10.T O Passowrd (JPN)30-147-1Daisuke TakayanagiKazushi Kimura
11.Forever Young (JPN)10-16-1Yoshito YahagiRyusei Sakai
12.Track Phantom20-140-1Steve AsmussenJoel Rosario
13.West Saratoga50-123-1Larry DemeritteJesus Castanon
14.Endlessly30-147-1Michael McCarthyUmberto Rispoli
15.Domestic Product30-128-1Chad BrownIrad Ortiz
16. Grand Mo The First50-145-1Victor BarbozaEmisael Jaramillo
17.Fierceness5-27-2Todd PletcherJohn Velazquez
18.Stronghold20-135-1Philip D’AmatoAntonio Fresu
19.Resilience20-129-1Bill MottJunior Alvarado
20.Society Man50-146-1Danny GarganFrankie Dettori
21.Epic Ride50-144-1John EnnisAdam Beschizza
22. MugatuScratchedScratchedJeff EnglerJoseph Talamo

At the time of publication, 21 horses remain entered in the Kentucky Derby field, with a maximum of 20 allowed to run in the race. If one more scratch takes place before 9 a.m. ET Friday, No. 22 Mugatu will draw in and help maintain a full 20-horse field.

If a scratch happens after 9 a.m. ET Friday, only 19 horses will run on the first Saturday in May and Mugatu will remain a scratch.

When there are scratches from the Derby field, horses move inward by one slot in the starting gate. For example, if Mugatu draws into the field, he would run as No. 22 on horse racing betting apps and wear a No. 22 saddle cloth but break from post position No. 20. When Encino scratched, horses numbered 10-20 moved inward in the starting gate by one post.

Remember that 2022 victor Rich Strike emerged via this same also-eligible caveat, breaking from post No. 20. He galloped all the way to cashing in 80-1 odds, teaming up with Big Brown (2008) as the only Derby winners to begin their conquest from post No. 20.

The biggest winner of Saturday’s post-position draw was arguably the initial betting favorite Fierceness, now priced ahead of Derby points standings leader Sierra Leone. Drawing to the far outside, with the other speedy horses on the inner posts, greatly increases the odds of Todd Pletcher’s prized contestant enduring a trouble-free run on the first turn. Fierceness should also be positioned to pace-press, rather than being pressed himself, down the stretch.

Generally, a horse that has to showcase its speed early will have less energy to expend in the waning moments of the race.

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