04/12/2011 5:18PM

Churchill Downs linemaker calls The Factor the Derby favorite

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Mike Battaglia, the morning-line maker for Churchill Downs, would make The Factor the 7-2 favorite for the Kentucky Derby if the May 7 race were run today, according to a release from Churchill. Dialed In and Uncle Mo are co-second choices on Battaglia's early line at 4-1.

Two major Kentucky Derby preps will be run this Saturday, with The Factor heading the $1 million Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park and Santiva topping the $750,000 Blue Grass at Keeneland. Two-year-old champion Uncle Mo had been the early Kentucky Derby favorite before his third-place finish in last Saturday's Wood Memorial at Aqueduct.

"We all realize that a lot can change between now and the first Saturday in May, but if they were drawing the field for the race today, I’d make The Factor the 7-2 morning line favorite," Battaglia said.

Battaglia's complete early line is limited to horses in the top 20 on the graded earnings list, which determines the Derby field if more than 20 horses enter. The full list:

The Factor (7-2); Dialed In (4-1); Uncle Mo (4-1); Soldat (10-1); Toby’s Corner (10-1); Midnight Interlude (12-1); Mucho Macho Man (12-1); Animal Kingdom (15-1); Pants On Fire (15-1); Santiva (20-1); Shackleford (20-1); Comma to the Top (30-1); Jaycito (30-1); Stay Thirsty (30-1); Astrology (50-1); Decisive Moment (50-1); J P’s Gusto (50-1); Master of Hounds (50-1); Twice the Appeal (50-1); and Watch Me Go (50-1).

Updated Kentucky Derby odds from Mike Watchmaker, Daily Racing Form's national handicapper, will be available Thursday in the next edition of Derby Watch.

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