Tipsheet: 2024 Kentucky Derby

May 4th, 2024

A full field of sophomores will travel 1 1/4 miles over the famed Churchill Downs surface in the 150th running of the $5 million Kentucky Derby (G1).

2024 Kentucky Derby Picks

  • #4 Catching Freedom
  • #19 Resilience
  • #2 Sierra Leone
  • #12 Track Phantom

2024 Kentucky Derby Wagers

  • $25 win and place #4 Catching Freedom
  • $1 Trifecta 4 with 2,12,19 with ALL
  • $1 Trifecta 4 with ALL with 2,12,19

2024 Kentucky Derby Contenders

#1 DORNOCH (20-1): Two-time Grade 1 winner finished a non-threatening fourth in the Blue Grass S. (G1) in his latest showing for Danny Gargan. The half-brother to 2023 Derby victor Mage received a tough draw on the rail and will surely be sent from the break with the aggressive Luis Saez in the silks. 

#2 SIERRA LEONE (3-1): Superb late runner is a nose from being unbeaten in his four career tries and might be moving best of all in the stretch on Saturday. The $2.3 million son of Gun Runner aced both the Blue Grass (G1) and Risen Star (G2) this season and could peak third time off the bench for conditioner Chad Brown. Tyler Gaffalione will ride the impressive colt. 

#3 MYSTIK DAN (20-1): Kenny McPeek pupil blitzed the Southwest S. (G3) prior to recording a third-place result in the Arkansas Derby (G1) in his latest endeavor. This Goldencents colt broke his maiden on the surface and he has trained well locally, too. Brain Hernandez, Jr. will be in the stirrups aboard the exotics contender. 

#4 CATCHING FREEDOM (8-1): Top pick owns a powerful turn of foot and gives every impression of a three-year-old who will thrive at 10 furlongs. One of three in the field for trainer Brad Cox, the well-bred son of Constitution will save ground early and be asked for his best approaching the turn for home with Flavien Prat in the irons. 

#5 CATALYTIC (30-1): Catalina Cruiser colt was a distant runner-up in the Florida Derby (G1) and makes his second route attempt for trainer Saffie Joseph. The Kentucky-bred will need a huge step forward in order to challenge this deep cast with Jose Ortiz up. 

#6 JUST STEEL (20-1): D. Wayne Lukas trainee was an excellent second in the Arkansas Derby (G1) most recently and appears to be an interesting long shot in the field. This Justify colt shows a trio of stakes seconds from four outings this campaign, and he concluded 2023 with a black-type win on the oval, too. Keith Asmussen will be in the stirrups. 

#7 HONOR MARIE (20-1): Stout late runner rallied to be second in the Louisiana Derby (G2) and has reportedly been training in strong fashion in advance of this major test. The win threat dominated the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) at Churchill in his two-year-old finale, and he will be dangerous if he receives a clear voyage in the race with Ben Curtis retaining the ride. 

#8 JUST A TOUCH (10-1): Second from the Cox shedrow has run a trio of very good ones to begin his career, led by a clear second in the recent Blue Grass (G1) at Keeneland. The son of Justify possesses tactical speed as well as a solid turn of foot, and I envision him being forwardly placed from the start on Saturday. Regular pilot Florent Geroux has the assignment once again. 

#9 ENCINO (20-1): Nyquist colt is a neck shy of being unbeaten from four outings for Cox. The Godolphin homebred led throughout in the Lexington S. (G3) at Keeneland in his initial try on the dirt last out and has appeal at a price with Axel Concepcion in the silks. 

#10 T O PASSWORD (30-1): The first of the pair of Japanese imports is bred to handle the distance but shows only two career outings in preparation for the Derby. The bay is quick and might be forwardly placed in the early going with Kazushi Kimura inheriting the mount. 

#11 FOREVER YOUNG (10-1): Unblemished son of Real Steel was a convincing winner of the UAE Derby (G2) in his second run of the season and could be a major player while making his U. S. debut. The Yoshito Yahagi trainee has looked good on the surface since arriving in Kentucky, and the late runner will be a force with a forward move under the guidance of Ryusei Sakai. 

#12 TRACK PHANTOM (20-1): Underrated son of Quality Road is battle-tested and will wear blinkers for the initial time for Steve Asmussen. The speedy colt has never run a bad one in his lifetime, and he will be forcing the pace from the break with Joel Rosario. I feel that the Kentucky-bred will be the one to catch at the top of the lane on Saturday. 

#13 WEST SARATOGA (50-1): Grade 3 winner got up for second in the Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3) at Turfway Park in his last assignment. The Larry Demeritte trainee has been first or second in each of his trio of local races to date, but he will need a big move forward to make the frame in this contest with Jesus Castanon riding. 

#14 ENDLESSLY (30-1): Mike McCarthy pupil is the wildcard in the field for me. The Oscar Performance three-year-old is an excellent performer on the turf and synthetic, evidenced by his Jeff Ruby (G3) romp, and will try the dirt for the first time in a tough spot. If the bay takes to the surface, then he has an exotics chance at a big price under Umberto Rispoli. 

#15 DOMESTIC PRODUCT (30-1): Chad Brown trainee punched his Derby ticket with a game score in the Tampa Bay Derby (G3) in his latest venture. This Practical Joke colt shows excellent Late Pace figures, but he has still yet to prove that he is capable of firing with the best in his division at this stage of his development. Irad Ortiz, Jr. will be on board.

RELATED: Brisnet Late Pace rating report for the 2024 Kentucky Derby

#16 GRAND MO THE FIRST (50-1): Florida Derby (G1) third has checked in third in four straight following two wins to begin his career. The Victor Barboza, Jr. trainee will need major improvement to have a say in the event with Emisael Jaramillo in the controls. 

#17 FIERCENESS (5-2): Champion son of City of Light blitzed his foes in the Florida Derby (G1) in his final Derby prep and will be a force if he produces his best race on Saturday. The Todd Pletcher pupil has reportedly been training in lights-out fashion leading up to the event, and his post draw should allow him to have a clear voyage throughout, as well. John Velazquez will be in the irons atop the favorite.

RELATED: 2024 Kentucky Derby Speed rating report

#18 STRONGHOLD (20-1): Phil D’Amato charge has done little wrong in his lifetime and comes in flying under the radar. The Santa Anita Derby (G1) victor smoked a bullet half-mile in his last serious drill in California followed that with a nice local move on Sunday, and it’s a good thing that he graduated on this strip against an excellent field, as well. Antonio Fresu will pilot the potential live long shot. 

#19 RESILIENCE (20-1): Wood Memorial (G2) star took a nice step forward with the addition of blinkers in his run at Aqueduct most recently for trainer Bill Mott. The son of Into Mischief is bred to run all day and has the gate presence to be within range around the back side. I like the bay at a big price with Junior Alvarado taking the reins. 

#20 SOCIETY MAN (50-1): Gargan pupil ran the race of his life when runner-up in the Wood (G2) at 106-1 odds last time out. The Good Magic gelding has posted a pair of solid drills beneath the Twin Spires as of late, and if his last was not a fluke, then he could potentially earn a minor slice of the pie with Frankie Dettori up. 

#21 EPIC RIDE (50-1): First on the also-eligible list will need a defection to be in the gate on Saturday. This Blame colt was a solid third in the Blue Grass (G1) while making his dirt debut, but he is hard to back with confidence if he draws into the main body of the field with Adam Beschizza on board. 

#22 MUGATU (50-1): Jeff Engler trainee has yet to hit the board from a trio of career outings on the dirt and looks to be in an impossible spot against this group. If the son of Blofeld gets in the race, then Joe Talamo will ride the colt.