2012 Kentucky Derby Contenders

Posted by Matt Cullen on Mon, Mar 12, 2012 @ 14:03 PM

QuintEvents-DerbyExperiences-Kentucky-Derby-Contenders-2012Updated: March 12, 2012. This week's top 10 contenders list compares my top 10 Kentucky Derby contenders with two expert's picks: John Asher and Jill Byrne.

John Asher joined Churchill Downs® in 1997 as a publicist and racing analyst, and moved to his current role as vice president of Racing Communications two years later.

Jill Byrne is the Director of On Air Communications and Official handicapper at Churchill Downs®. She is also a regular contributor to HRTV's racing programs.

Next Update: Monday, March 19, 2012. Be sure to subscribe to the Derby Experiences blog and follow QuintEvents on Facebook and Twitter @QuintEvents for updates on this year’s Kentucky Derby.

Top 10 Contender Picks for the Kentucky Derby

John Asher's Top 10 

Jill Byrne's Top 10 

Matt's Top 10 

1. Union Rags 1. Union Rags 1. Union Rags
2. Creative Cause 2. El Padrino 2. El Padrino
3. Hansen 3. I'll Have Another 3. Hansen
4. El Padrino 4. Creative Cause 4. Creative Cause
5. Fed Biz 5. Bodemeister 5. Alpha 
6. Gemologist 6. Gemologist 6. Fed Biz
7. Bodemeister 7. Hansen 7. Gemologist
8. Sabercat* 8. Castaway* 8. I'll Have Another
9. Alpha  9. Alpha 9. Dullahan
10. Dullahan 10. Mark Valeski 10. Empire Way*

Breaking Down the Picks

Each of us have Union Rags as our top contender for the 2012 Kentucky Derby. He is a 4-1 favorite in last Sunday's Pool 2 Future Wager and is fresh off a victory at the Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park. With his strong finishes in the Derby preps, he will likely remain the top contender for this year's Derby.

Though the top 10 lists have many of the same contenders, each of us has a dark horse pick in our top 10.

  • John Asher has Sabercat as his number eight contender. He was victorious at the Delta Downs Jackpot, which was his third consecutive win. Sabercat is currently 30-1 to win this year's Derby, but shouldn't be ignored this May. 
  • Jill Byrne's dark horse contender is Castaway at number eight. He won by five furlongs at Santa Anita earlier this month and is currently sitting at 45-1 odds. If pedigree is any indication on how he will perform, Castaway is the son of former Kentucky Derby winner, Street Sense!
  • My Kentucky Derby dark horse is Empire Way. He is currently a long shot at 37-1, but he is one of the strongest contenders at long distance tracks. He showed great closing speed at the Robert B. Lewis Stakes, which made him my pick to contend in this year's Derby.


Who is your favorite in this year's Kentucky Derby? Share your thoughts below. 

Ready for the first Saturday in May? See your contenders face off at Churchill Downs® in the "Run for the Roses" at the Kentucky Derby! Get Official Ticket Packages from Churchill Downs® now!

Topics: Archive

Subscribe to Our Blog

About the Bloggers

Kristen Doolan

Kristen Doolan was born and raised a Florida State Seminole. Making her way from Florida to North Carolina, Kristen achieved her B.S. in Business Administration, Marketing at The University of North Carolina Wilmington. She is an avid traveler, college football addict, beach bum and loves spending time with her family and friends. 


Jazzy Morgan

Jazzy Morgan is originally from London, England and a die-hard Manchester United Fan. She grew up in Connecticut and made the move down south in 2011 where she attended Winthrop University and received her B.S. in Family & Consumer Sciences and a minor in Marketing. Jazzy enjoys traveling, working out, reading her monthly Vogue & Cosmo and keeping up with fashion trends.


Evan Chronis

Evan Chronis was born in Omaha, Nebraska but has made his home in south Charlotte for almost two decades. A Tar Heel born and bred, Evan received his B.A in Media and Journalism from UNC-Chapel Hill. He is an avid Boston sports fan thanks to his family’s New England roots, and a fanboy of Wes Anderson films.