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.
Top 10 Contender Picks for the Kentucky Derby
|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.