LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Zandon and filly Nest are the morning-line favorites for the 148th Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks, respectively, at Churchill Downs, which will host both marquee races at full capacity for the first time since 2019.
Zandon, trained by Chad Brown, drew 3-1 odds on Monday and will start from the No. 10 post among 20 horses for the $3 million marquee event for 3-year-olds. The colt moved to second in Derby points behind Epicenter after rallying from the back of the field to win last month’s Blue Grass at Keeneland in Lexington. He has two wins, a second-place finish and a third in four career starts.
Epicenter, initially expected to be the Derby favorite following consecutive graded stakes wins including the Louisiana Derby in March, is the 7-2 second betting choice after drawing the No. 3 post. Messier, one of two colts trained by Tim Yakteen after he took over this spring for suspended Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, is the 8-1 third choice and will start from the No. 6 post.
Yakteen’s other entrant, Santa Anita Derby winner Taiba, is a 12-1 choice from the No. 12 post.
This weekend’s races will go off without Baffert after Churchill Downs suspended him for two years following Medina Spirit’s failed postrace drug test and eventual disqualification as the winner of last year’s Derby.
For the Oaks, Nest drew the No. 4 post among 14 fillies and is the 5-2 favorite for Friday’s $1.25 million, 1 1/8th-mile race. The Todd Pletcher-trained horse is coming off a dominant 8 1/4-length victory over Cocktail Moments in the Ashland Stakes at Keeneland, her third in a row and second this year.
Kathleen O. is the 7-2 second choice from the No. 10 post, with Echo Zulu the 4-1 third choice from the No. 7 post.