Early Contenders for the 2020 Kentucky Derby

Posted by Evan Chronis on Fri, Nov 8, 2019

Every year, the best 3-year-olds on the planet compete at Churchill Downs® in the Kentucky Derby®.

But the calendar hasn't flipped over to 2020 yet, and the next Derby champion is still in its 2-year-old season. 

While we are still half a year away from the starting gates opening for the 2020 Kentucky Derby, the Breeders' Cup Juvenile and the initial Road to the Kentucky Derby races have given insight into potential contenders for next year. 

While any horse can become a contender over the following months, we're highlighting the five horses who are currently the early contenders for the 2020 Kentucky Derby

Early Kentucky Derby Contenders

Storm the Court

Owner: Exline-Border Racing, LLC
Trainer: Peter Eurton
Bred: Kentucky

Storm the Court gets top billing on this list after taking home the Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita Park at the start of November. 

The Juvenile is the biggest race of the 2-year-old calendar and typically provides a good prediction for the top Derby contenders heading into the next year. 

The win at Santa Anita was the second of Storm the Court's four race career, with his first coming in his debut race on August 10. 

While Storm the Court has the Juvenile now in hand, there is still speculation about the steed's Derby candidacy — he came into the Juvenile as a 45-1 longshot and his win was considered a massive upset in one of the messier versions of the race in recent memory. 


Owner: Godolphin LLC
Trainer: Brendan P. Walsh
Bred: Kentucky 

Maxfield was likely to be one of the favorites heading into the Breeders' Cup Juvenile but was forced to withdraw from the race due to a foot injury. 

Before the unfortunate injury, Maxfield was dominating the competition, winning his first two starts at Churchill Downs and Keeneland.  

With Maxfield's positive prospects for the Derby in 2020, expect trainer Brendan P. Walsh to take the recovery process very slow. There's a chance the Goldophin-bred horse will stay out of action for a couple of months to make a fully healthy push later on in prep season.

Tiz the Law

Owner: Sackatoga Stable LLC
Trainer: Barclay Tagg
Bred: New York

Tiz the Law could be New York's next great horse. 

In only two starts, the 2-year-old has caught the eyes of many and created a stir when it comes to his Derby contention. 

Tiz the Law impressively took home the Champagne Stakes on October 5 at Belmont Park by four lengths and before that won his first career race by 4-1/4 lengths at Saratoga. 

The colt is starting to run at a steadier pace and will only get stronger as he continues down the Road to the 2020 Kentucky Derby. 

Eight Rings

Owner: Madaket Stables LLC
Trainer: Bob Baffert
Bred: Kentucky

The Baffert-trained Eight Rings is one of the most experiences 2-year-olds in the sport, having four starts under his belt following the 2019 Breeders' Cup. 

Eight Rings name was thrust into the spotlight after a tantalizing performance at the American Pharoah Stakes at Santa Anita where he finished well in front of future Juvenile winner Storm the Court. 

Storm the Court obviously got his revenge, finishing first in the Juvenile while Eight Rings came in at a disappointing sixth. 

Every year we pick the one or two Baffert horses that could make noise at Churchill Downs in May, and currently Eight Rings is the one leading the pack. 

Dennis' Moment

Owner: Albaugh Family Stable
Trainer: Dale L. Romans
Bred: Kentucky

There's no getting around the fact that Dennis' Moment gave a disappointing performance in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile after coming in as the favorite. 

Dennis' Moment stumbled out of the gate and wasn't able to regain his footing during the 1-1/16-mile distance, finishing in a pedestrian eighth. 

But there's still reason to believe in the Romans-trained colt before we head into 2020 — Dennis' Moment took home the Iroquois Stakes at Churchill Downs on September 14 in impressive fashion. 

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