The 2011 Kentucky Derby should last less than two minutes on Saturday at Churchill Downs, but it's the buildup to the race that creates the excitement. In the week leading up to the race, the field is analyzed, contenders are chosen and odds are set. It's not just for fun: Betting the Kentucky Derby is a big business. And will the race right around he corner, it's time to make a few picks.
Here are a few horses to keep in mind when picking a winner for the 2011 Kentucky Derby. In addition to the picks below, check out SB Nation's Kentucky Derby StoryStream for more on the odds and picks.
Dialed In (9/2): This one is obvious as Dialed In is the favorite heading into the race. But being the favorite in the Kentucky Derby, especially in a field as weak as this year's doesn't mean as much as you'd think. With 19 horses set to enter the starting gates, a lot can happen.
Twice the Appeal (7/1): This horse gets thrown into the mix thanks to Calvin Borel. But Twice the Appeal isn't all that appealing, at least on paper. When the morning line was released, he was at 20/1, but was bet down quickly on Friday thanks to the mount; Calvin Borel has won the last two Kentucky Derbies and raced them masterfully. Still, the odds shifting as they have is odd, and doesn't add up considering the horse.
Nehro (7/1): Nehro is a legitimate 7/1 and though he'll have to come from the No. 18 gate, he could have a shot. Nehro has the speed to get after it and make a late run and is, rightfully, listed among the top contenders.
Soldat (17/1): Could be an intriguing value bet at 17/1. In the morning line, Soldat was listed at 12/1, but has slipped since and the odds seem ripe for value.
Mucho Macho Man (12/1): The name is awesome and the horse is a good one, as well. Starting in the No. 13 spot is decent, and puts Mucho Macho Man right in the middle of the pack. He's one to watch and root for, if only to hear an announcer screaming his name down the stretch.
Midnight Interlude (10/1): I watched Midnight Interlude run at the Santa Anita Derby and came away liking his chances. It helps Midnight Interlude is a Bob Baffert horse and Baffert is trying for the Churchill Downs double after winning the Oaks on Friday. I wouldn't be surprised to see Midnight Interlude make waves on Saturday.
Pants on Fire (9/1): There's two reasons to keep an eye on Pants on Fire: The name and the jockey. Rosie Napravnik is a jockey to root for and could become the first woman to win the Kentucky Derby. In the Kentucky Oaks, she ran an excellent race from the outside, but came up just a hair short at the wire. Oh, and Pants on Fire is a great name for a horse.
ArchArchArch (13/1): Again, a great name for a horse. ArchArchArch is a legitimate contender, but starting on the rail creates even more difficulty at the Kentucky Derby. Everyone wants the rail and with space at a premium, traffic could be a problem. Nevertheless, keep an eye on ArchArchArch on Saturday.
Pick: I honestly haven't got a clue here, and this field is mind-boggling. I'm tempted to go with chalk and pick Dialed In, simply by default. I wouldn't be surprised to see Midnight Interlude and Mucho Macho Man make a run, as well as Nehro if he can overcome the outside starting position, which I don't think will be a problem.
Let's go with Dialed In to win, with Midnight Interlude and Mucho Macho Man coming up just short.
The Kentucky Derby gets underway on Saturday at Churchill Downs. Stay with our 2011 Kentucky Derby StoryStream for previews, odds and analysis up to and throughout the derby. For more on the race, head over to SB Nation's Kentucky Derby StoryStream or check out And Down The Stretch They Come.