Mike Battaglia was Churchill Downs’ morning chances maker for 46 years since 1974. The 2020 Kentucky Derby will indicate oddsmaker Mike Battaglia’s 47th year assigning morning line odds into the Kentucky Derby field.
Morning line odds, which are chances given to horses at a race prior to the beginning of gambling as a prediction how the linemaker believes the public will bet and are assigned at post position draw.
Battaglia has correctly called that the Derby favored at a 78 percent clip and is 36-for-46.
Morning line odds were first published in the official Kentucky Derby Day program in 1949, though recordings prior to 1949 are incomplete.
Battaglia’s winning morning-line favorites, since his first year in 1974:
Justify, 2018: 3-1 2.90-1
California Chrome, 2014 5-2 2.50-1
Orb, 2013 7-2 5.40-1
Big Brown, 2008 3-1 2.40-1
Foolish Pleasure, 1975 9-5 1.90-1
Cannonade/Judger,1974 8-5 1.50-1
Pre-Battaglia Day lineup favorites to have won, 1949-1973
Secretariat/Angle Light, 1973 1-1 1.50-1
Riva Ridge, 1972 9-5 1.50-1
Majestic Prince, 1969 7-5 1.40-1
Carry Back, 1961 5-2 2.50-1
Tim Tam, 1958 8-5 2.10-1
Needles, 1956 2-1 1.60-1</p
Hill Gail/Top Blend, 1952 6-5 1.10-1
This year’s Kentucky Derby has already gone through its share of changes and adjustments from date, to crowds to prep races, but perhaps the biggest change may be the actual field size, or actual numbers of runners who will be trying to make the gate on the first Saturday in September.
The Kentucky Derby field has been limited to 20 starters since 1975, the year after 23 horses contested the 100th anniversary of the Derby. Until this year, at least 20 horses have entered the race every year since 2004, and in 19 of the last 21 years. Overall there’s been a field of 20 horses on 21 occasions, the first happening in 1923 when 21 horses went to the post, and there has been at least 16 starters in each of the last 21 years.
Largest Field: 23 in 1974 (100th running)
Smallest Field: 3 in 1892 and 1905
Total Starters: 1,923 from 1875 through 2019
Avg. Field Size: 13.3 from 1875 through 2019
Fields of 20 or More: 21 15 or More
Fields of 15 or More: 68
Fields of 14 or Less: 78
Churchill Downs reintroduced the also-eligible rule in 2012. Up to 24 horses may be entered in the race on Wednesday of Derby Week, including four horses that can remain eligible to compete beyond the official time of entry . One or more of the “also eligible” horses could be allowed to run in their respective race if members of the original field scratch from the race prior to the official “scratch time” of 9 a.m. ET on Friday (Kentucky Oaks Day), which is the official opening of advance wagering on the Derby.
Horses with the highest point total s in the “Road to the Kentucky Derby” races would “draw -in” to the field first. The same rules apply for the Kentucky Oaks, which has a maximum field size of 14. An eight-horse also-eligible list was instituted in 1983 and 1984, but advance wagering on the Kentucky Derby was negated because of refunds after late scratches. Although the 20-horse limit for the Kentucky Derby has been in existence since 1975, 21 horses were permitted to contest the 1981 Derby due to a legal issue.
The Draw will be held on September 1st at 10:45 ET.
|Tiz the Law||Barclay Tagg||Manny Franco|
|Authentic||Bob Baffert||John Velazquez|
|Art Collector||Tom Drury||Brian Hernandez, Jr.|
|Honor A.P.||John Sherriffs||Mike Smith|
|Ny Traffic||Saffie Joseph, Jr||Paco Lopez|
|King Guillermo||Juan Carlos Avilla||Samy Camacho|
|Thousand Words||Bob Baffert||Florent Geroux|
|Money Moves||Todd Pletcher||Javier Castellano|
|Max Player||Steve Asmussen||Ricardo Santana, Jr.|
|Enforceable||Mark Casse||Adam Beschizza|
|Major Fed||Greg Foley||James Graham|
|Storm the Court||Peter Eurton||Julien Leparoux|
|Attachment Rate||Dale Romans||Joe Talamo|
|Sole Volante||Patrick Biancone||Luca Panici|
|Finnick the Fierce||Rey Hernandez||Martin Garcia|
|Winning Impression||Dallas Stewart||Joe Rocco, Jr.|
|Necker Island||Chris Hartman||Miguel Mena|
Miriam Lee has always been a horse racing fan thanks to trips to the tracks in her home state of Maryland with her father as kid. She owns an OTTB and is an advocate for promoting the sport among her peers. Miriam studies communication arts at Hood College and will receive her master’s degree in 2021, which she plans to use for a career in screenwriting. Her all-time favorite racehorse is Man O War.