LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- A trainer flooding the field with five horses. A black jockey trying to make history, and a woman rider, too. Louisville coach Rick Pitino seeking a double -- champions in racing and basketball. He's sure in the right place.
The 19-horse field for Saturday's Kentucky Derby is balanced, with no definitive favorite.
Orb is the prerace choice, just barely. Nearly overshadowed is his trainer, Shug McGaughey, who really, really wants this race. Doug O'Neill trying to win back-to-back. And then there's the threat of rain, which has done in some of the best-laid plans on race day.
It sure looks like a topsy-turvy Derby.
"I don't think we've got Secretariat in this bunch, even Seattle Slew," four-time Derby-winning trainer D. Wayne Lukas said, "so I think it's going to boil down to the trip and the pace and a lot of other things."
Todd Pletcher will saddle a record-tying five horses -- undefeated and early second choice Verrazano, Revolutionary, Overanalyze, Palace Malice and Charming Kitten.
"We laid out a plan to get here with them, and it's all come down pretty much like we hoped," said Pletcher, who has one Derby win with 31 previous starters.
Relative unknown Kevin Krigger will be aboard Goldencents, trying to become the first black jockey to win since Jimmy Winkfield in 1902.
"I'm going to ride us the race that should get us to the Kentucky Derby winner's circle," said Krigger, a native of St. Croix, Virgin Islands, who began his U.S. career at Golden Gate Fields.
The colt is partly owned by Pitino, whose Cardinals won the NCAA championship last month. Pitino was recently elected to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, so a Derby win would complete the ultimate trifecta.
Rosie Napravnik wants to grab history for herself, too. No female jockey has ever won the Derby, although she came closest, with a ninth-place finish in 2011. Napravnik will ride 15-1 long shot Mylute.
"He feels great, he's acting great, and I'm very confident heading into the Derby," she said.