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Justify opens as early favourite for 2018 Kentucky Derby

Justify has opened as the early 3/1 favourite for the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on Sunday
Justify favoured to win Kentucky Derby
Bob Baffert talks with the media during the morning training for the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Bookmakers have opened Justify as the favourite for the 2018 Kentucky Derby on Sunday.

There isn't much splitting the field of 20 in the betting but the Santa Anita Derby winner has been popular with punters for the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs.

Unbeaten after three runs, the Bob Baffert-trained colt has a combined winning margin of 20 lengths to date and it wasn't surprising to see bookmakers open him at such short odds.

"It's one of the toughest Derbies I've ever seen," said Bob Baffert. "All the important horses got good draws."

The draw will be the easiest thing for Justify to overcome as the colt didn't race as a two-year-old. No horse has won the Kentucky Derby having not raced as a two-year-old since Apollo in 1882.

Four-time Derby winner, D. Wayne Lukas, believes both Justify and 6/1 chance Magnum Moon have what it takes to break the curse.

"I don't buy into the Apollo curse or whatever at all, mainly because Bob Baffert and Todd Pletcher (trained of Magnum Moon) have got the horses," Lukas said.

"Todd's going to have his ready and Baffert is going to have his."

Todd Pletcher has four horses in the field with Magnum Moon, Audible, Vino Rosso and Noble Indy. Pletcher will line up his 52nd Kentucky Derby entrant this Sunday and despite some poor barrier draws, he's happy going forward.

"Having three of the four horses in the auxiliary gate wasn't what we were hoping for," Pletcher said. "Sometimes you can work out good trips from out there.

"We've got four terrific riders."

If all 20 horses start, the winner will receive $1.432 million and betting for the 144th edition of the Derby is set to break records.

The Kentucky Derby is the first leg of the US Triple Crown, which also features The Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes.

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