UPDATE FRIDAY MAY 6th: Uncle Mo has now been scratched and will NOT run in the Kentucky Derby tomorrow. Check the latest odds updated from BoDog at the bottom of this post.

2011 Kentucky Derby Free Picks, Odds and Preview – Favorites to Win and Horses to Bet On: For more than 130 years, the first Saturday in May has played host to the Kentucky Derby. Arguably the most prestigious event in horse racing, the Derby has been called everything from the “Run for the Roses” to the “Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports.” The one and one-quarter mile event is the first leg of the Triple Crown – a feat that hasn’t been accomplished since Affirmed in 1978.

The races leading up to the Derby have done nothing but create confusion. Pre-race favorites have fallen, and this year’s race has already been labeled wide-open by horse racing aficionados. This year’s group of three year olds has been called mediocre based on the numbers, but it doesn’t take a bunch of elite horses to produce a great race.

More than 155,000 spectators will flock to Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky to witness to sip mint juleps and witness the historic, and even more will place a bet on the race. The Kentucky Derby is without question one of the most popular sporting events to bet on in the United States. There is a lot of money up for grabs, but bettors that want to cash in have to back the right horse.

The Favorites

Until a third-place run in the Wood Memorial Uncle Mo was on his way to being the heavy favorite for the 2011 Kentucky Derby. Since the surprising defeat, it was discovered that the horse was dealing with some intestinal issues. A treatment plan has already begun, and at full strength, there is no reason not to think that Uncle Mo can’t return to the same form that had him on track to be the overall favorite.

The Florida Derby is widely considered the toughest race leading up to the Kentucky Derby, and Dialed In came from worst to first and bested the field to pick up the win. In a year when favorites have been falling left and right, the horse that came out on top on the biggest stage to date has to get heavy consideration. Dialed In is that horse, even if the competition in the Florida Derbey wasn’t as deep as in past years.

Potential Sleepers

While the Wood Memorial was supposed to be secure Uncle Mo’s status as the Derby favorite, the race turned out to be a coming out party for Toby’s Corner. The horse went from a relative unknown to an intriguing possibility for bettors the second he topped Uncle Mo. If Toby’s Corner can pull off the upset once, there is at least a chance he could do it again at Churchill Downs.

Entering the Arkansas Derby, The Factor was in the mix to be the overall favorite for the Kentucky Derby. However, a lackluster run made the horse just another name on a growing list of favorites to flop during the prep races. That being said, a horse doesn’t get in the mix to be the favorite without stringing together a few strong runs. Maybe his one bad performance exposed his flaws, or maybe it was simply an off day. Either way, The Factor has flashed enough talent to draw the interest if bettors at the Derby.

The Factor’s loss was Archarcharch’s gain in the Arkansas Derby. The horse was a longshot to win the prep race, but he did. He won’t be a favorite to win in Louisville either, but he just might do that, too. At any rate, Archarcharch has proven he can hang and beat quality horses. In a year when races haven’t exactly gone as predicted, an argument can be made for any horse with a winning background.

Horses to Avoid

In the most recent prep race for the Kentucky Derby, Brilliant Speed became the latest surprise winner in 2011. He won the Blue Grass Stakes at Keenland, but the win doesn’t carry as much weight some of the other horses’ wins. The Blue Grass is run on an artificial track surface, while the other prep races and the Kentucky Derby are held on natural surfaces. Brilliant Speed didn’t perform nearly as well on the natural tracks, and that could come back to haunt him at Churchill Downs.

Despite dominating the Illinois Derby, Joe Vann might not make the final cut for the Kentucky Derby. The race is a Grade III event at Hawthorne Race Course, and with so many owners with horses in Grade I and Grade II events planning on entering the Derby, Joe Vann may be an odd man out. Even if he does make the race, the horse could struggle against the most stacked field he will have faced.

Check the latest LIVE 2011 Kentucky Derby Odds and Favorites from SBG Global Racebook.

UPDATE MAY 7th KENTUCKY DERBY DAY! Check out our 2011 Derby Day Final Picks and Predictions to Win the 137th Kentucky Derby Article.
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Get more 2011 Kentucky Derby Predictions on NSAwins.com from Expert Kentucky Derby handicappers.