The Kentucky Derby: five reasons why you shouldn't miss it

Jockey John Velazquez celebrates atop Always Dreaming after

Two local Kentucky Derby parties are open to all: the Junior League of Colorado Springs at The Gold Room and the Axe and the Oak Whiskey House at Ivywild School.

Previous Derby guests include Britain's Princess Margaret, boxer Muhammad Ali, US presidents Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard Nixon, Hollywood legends Lana Turner and Bing Crosby, baseball star Babe Ruth and in recent years, singer Justin Timberlake, actor Jack Nicholson, Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and National Football League star Eli Manning. If you transported those horses back to, say, 1990, a number of trainers would tell you there's no way those horses could have been fit enough to run 1 1/4 miles.

He's bred for the distance as a son of two-time Horse of the Year Curlin, and the people behind him know what it takes to win the Derby.

Justify, who made his debut on February 18, was about as impressive as a 3-year-old can be in winning the Santa Anita Derby.

His connections also have excellent credentials outside of the 2015 Kentucky Derby. He has only run in one stakes race and he has not raced at a track other than Santa Anita.

In 1955, American author William Faulker, a victor of the Pulitzer Prize and Nobel Prize and a Southerner like Rice, covered the race for Sports Illustrated.

After all, with 20 3-year-olds stretching out to 1 ΒΌ miles for the first time, there's bound to be a few (maybe more than a few) that don't get an opportunity to run their race.

There's a lot to like about the next horse on this list.

Magnum Moon, like Justify, is unbeaten and posted an impressive victory at the Arkansas Derby. But 12 winners have come from those slots including five from gate 16, where Magnum Moon was placed in Tuesday's draw. If Mendelssohn can pull off a victory at Churchill Downs, it would be the first European trained horse to win the big race.

Over the past 81 races, 61 horses have entered the Kentucky Derby without racing at 2.

Audible is the last of the horses with odds of less than 10-1. He'll be coming from farther behind than Justify, but drawing post 11 should give his three-time Derby-winning jockey Victor Espinoza plenty of opportunity to secure a good position in the first half of the field while saving some ground. Audible posted a speed rating of 105 at the Holy Bull Stakes and performed even better at the Florida Derby with a rating of 107.

The obstacles begin, of course, with a loaded field of horses that is bigger than anything Justify has ever seen. At this price, he might be worth putting in some exotics following this performance. He got a lucky break on May 1, when he drew the No. 7 post.

The other longshot to watch is Enticed.

Justify will attempt to become the first horse since 1882 to win the Kentucky Derby without having raced as a two-year, known as the Curse of the Apollo in honour of the last horse to achieve that feat. This horse finished behind Vino Rosso at the Wood Memorial, but he was dominant at the Gotham Stakes. He's just 3-for-3, but he's for real - and he's got the modern master in Baffert guiding him.

"It seems like everything that we used to fear in Kentucky Derby history has gone down, so why not that?"

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