04/28/2011 2:40PM

Kentucky Derby questions: Who is the horse to beat?

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Who is the horse to beat?

Dialed InBrad Free: Dialed In. Mile and one-quarter ideal for improving colt, two-time Derby winner Zito knows how job gets done, low odds main knock.

Marcus Hersh: Dialed In. Win over the track, best overall 2011 form, master Derby trainer, the right running style, and likely ability to get the distance.

Dan Illman: Dialed In. Prepped creatively by Nick Zito against elders, then swept past the field in the Florida Derby. Other top contenders subsequently stubbed their toes.

Byron King: Soldat. He shows a favorable sheet figure pattern − a top, followed by minor regression, and then a bigger drop off. Potential rebounder.

Dave Litfin: Soldat. He has raced under a range of conditions, and the Florida Derby was the first time he’s been worse than second. Tactically, his connections surely learned that he dislikes kickback and/or being inside horses.

Photo: Dialed In. Credit: Bob Coglianese

Mike Watchmaker: Nehro. He has shown a strong late kick and is vastly improved. In a closely matched Derby, you want a colt moving in the right direction.

Mike Welsch: Dialed In. At this juncture he would have to be considered the horse to beat, but only by the slimmest of margins.

MORE QUESTIONS:
• After Uncle Mo's disappointing third in the Wood Memorial, does he deserve another chance?
• Which horses are live longshots, and what should their approximate odds be?
• Which horse can't you wait to bet against?
• Which horse hasn't won a prep race but can win the Derby?
• Not one of the most recent major prep races produced a winning Beyer Speed Figure of 100. How does that change the way you will handicap the Derby?
• Which prep race is most likely to be misinterpreted?
• Among the surprising prep race winners, which one is for real?
• Who is the horse to beat?