The opening leg of the Triple Crown gets underway this weekend, as one of the biggest betting events on the U.S. sporting calendar is staged at Churchill Downs. The Kentucky Derby celebrates its 150th anniversary on Saturday, and a talented crop of horses aged three will be looking to add their name to the esteemed previous winners of the Derby.

Kentucky Derby Information

A field of 20 runners is expected to go to post for the 150th Derby on Saturday, with the field competing over a distance of 1 1/8 miles. Only runners aged three are able to compete in the Triple Crown, and the Derby is traditionally the most-watched and attended horse race in the U.S.

Secretariat holds the speed record, with the Hall of Famer being one of just two winners to have completed the race in under two minutes.

Kentucky Derby Odds

There has been little movement in the odds since the draw last weekend, with Sierra Leone and Fierceness competing for favoritism, with both currently available at +300. Japanese raider Forever Young is available at +850, with Catching Freedom and Just a Touch priced up at +1000 and +1200, respectively. Honor Marie and Stronghold could be interesting outsiders at +2000.

Kentucky Derby Leading Contenders

Sierra Leone

Chad Brown continues his chase for a first Derby winner this weekend with the extremely talented Sierra Leone. This son of Gun Runner has won on both starts this year, including most recently in the G1 Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland when finishing over a length clear of Just A Touch.

His only defeat came in the G2 Remsen, but that narrow defeat to Dornoch could be put down to the muddy conditions at Aqueduct.

Fierceness

Todd Pletcher holds one of the star contenders this year, as G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile champion, Fierceness, looks for a third Grade One prize. This three-year-old was in stunning form when landing the G1 Florida Derby by a dominant 13-length margin, and he is one of just two runners that have clocked a Beyer Speed Figure of 100+.

Solid claims on form, but questions remain surrounding his ability to battle in big fields.

Honor Marie

Honor Marie could be one of the potential value angles in the Derby this year after exceeding all expectations for D Whitworth Beckman.

The three-year-old was narrowly beaten by Catching Freedom on his previous start in the G2 Louisiana Derby, but the fact that he has high-class winning form at Churchill Downs could be integral to his chances this weekend for British jockey Ben Curtis.

Forever Young

Japanese raider Forever Young is trained by Yoshito Yahagi. This runner has won on all four career starts to date, and he has been incredibly impressive in the Middle East throughout the winter. He is an excellent stayer, and that could be a key factor this weekend.

He was last seen winning the G2 UAE Derby by two lengths from Auto Bahn, with many experts believing that the performance would have scored a 100+ rating had it been on American dirt.

Kentucky Derby Prediction

Honor Marie is our big long shot play in the Derby this year, with previous winning experience at Churchill Downs being a massive factor. Fierceness should finish in the first third, while Forever Young looks capable of battling for a place.

West Saratoga may be a huge outsider, but we could see the three-year-old running a strong race from a promising draw to finish in the frame after previously winning under the Twin Spires.

Win: Honor Marie

Trifecta Box: Honor Marie/ Fierceness/ Forever Young/ West Saratoga