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Unlikely Kentucky Derby Favorite Zandon Eyes $1.9M Prize

  • The Kentucky-bred colt is a 3-1 favorite in the 148th Run for the Roses.
  • Favorable post position No. 10 should be an advantage for Zandon.
Michael Clevenger-Courier Journal
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On Saturday, 20 horses will compete in the 148th Kentucky Derby — and an unexpected favorite has emerged from a wide-open field.

Despite ranking a distant second to Epicenter in Derby qualifying points, Zandon is the 3-1 favorite, thanks mostly to a favorable post position.

The Kentucky-born colt, sold to owner Jeff Drown for $170,000 in 2020, will start from the coveted 10th gate, while Epicenter (7-2) will run from No. 3. 

Add top trainer Chad Brown and Derby-winning jockey Flavien Prat, and Zandon is perfectly placed to win the Run for the Roses.

  • In four career starts, Zandon has two wins, a second, and a third. In 2022, he won the Blue Grass Stakes and has earned $613,500 ($713,000 in his career).
  • Brown is seventh all-time in career earnings ($224.5M) but has never trained a Derby winner in six starts. His overall win (25%) and win-place-show (59%) rates per start are tops all-time.
  • Prat ranks 58th in all-time earnings — $106M, including $7.6M in 2022 — with 88 wins, 70 seconds, and 40 thirds. He won the 2019 Derby with 65-1 long shot Country House.

Since the starting gate was implemented in 1930, the 10th position has the second-most Derby wins (9) behind the fifth spot (10), so Zandon is expected to make the most of it.

The winner of the Derby (6:57 p.m. ET post time, NBC) will receive $1.86 million of the $3 million purse.

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