Justify Wins 2018 Kentucky Derby

The 2018 Kentucky Derby ended with Justify taking home the crown at the 144th Run for the Roses. He won in 2 minutes and 4.2 seconds.

The historic Kentucky Derby kicks off the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing, so Justify will now face added pressure to become just the 13th horse to take that title. He could be the first since American Pharoah accomplished the feat in 2015.

ESPN notes that Justify was the ninth undefeated Kentucky Derby winner, since he still has not lost a race. He is also the first horse since 1882 to win as a two-year old.

According to CBS Sports, this year's favorite was Justify, trained by Bob Baffert and ridden by Mike Smith. Justify was the 5/2 favorite. My Boy Jack and Mendelssohn had 6-1 odds just before the race began. The biggest longshot at the race was Instilled Regard, who had 86-1 odds.

According to USA Today, Justify became the favorite after going 3-for-3 in his first three races, just 11 months after his racing debut. However, all three wins came against small fields in California and he took the lead early on in the races. Inexperienced horses do not do well at the derby.

USA Today notes that Good Magic was a good underdog to put your support behind, since it won two races before the derby, but was overlooked. His trainer gave him a four-month break from racing, which could explain why people were sleeping on him.

The other horses on the track this year were Audible, Mendelssohn, Bold d'Oro, Magnum Moon, Vino Rosso, Hofburg, Lone Sailor, Free Drop Billy, Promises Fulfilled, Flameaway, Enticed, Noble Indy, Firenze Fire, Solomini, Bravazo and Combatant.

This year's Kentucky Derby was defined by the rough weather. According to the Louisville Courier Journal, it became the wettest Kentucky Derby ever, with the National Weather Service recording 2.61 inches of rain at Louisville International Airport by 4:30 p.m. The NWS also issued a flash flood warning for part of Jefferson County, but did not include Churchill Downs.

National Weather Service meteorologist Kyle Wilkins told the Courier Journal more rain was expected before the derby kicked off. The flash flood warning expired at 6:30 p.m.

"Today's record is going to grow," Wilkins said.

The previous wettest Kentucky Derby was in May 1918, when 2.31 inches fell and Eterminator won.


Last year's winner was Always Dreaming, ridden by John Velazquez and trained by Todd Pletcher. Although Always Dreaming is still racing, he is not taking part in the 2018 Kentucky Derby. He was still in Louisville this week, racing in the Alysheba Stakes at Churchill Downs. Backyard Heaven won the race on Friday, with Always Dreaming coming in fifth.

Photo credit: Mary Meek/Eclipse Sportswire/Getty Images