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I Want Revenge made early Kentucky Derby favorite
Associated Press

Jockey Joe Talamo takes Kentucky Derby hopeful I Want Revenge for a workout for the 135th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs Tuesday.

 

Associated Press

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Published: 4/29/2009 1:51 PM | Updated: 4/29/2009 7:05 PM

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- I Want Revenge was made the early 3-1 favorite for the Kentucky Derby, with Pioneerof the Nile and Dunkirk sharing second-favorite status Wednesday in the full field of 20 horses.

I Want Revenge is coming off eye-catching victories on dirt in the Gotham Stakes and Wood Memorial at New York's Aqueduct after leaving California and the synthetic surfaces there.

"I Want Revenge should definitely go off as the favorite," Churchill Downs oddsmaker Mike Battaglia said.

Trained by Jeff Mullins and ridden by 19-year-old jockey Joe Talamo, I Want Revenge drew the No. 13 post position.

"It ended up perfect," Talamo said. "It's just what we wanted -- to be outside of the early speed. I think it worked out great."

Pioneerof the Nile and Dunkirk were made the co-second favorites at 4-1. Santa Anita Derby winner Pioneerof the Nile drew the No. 16 post, while lightly raced Dunkirk will be next door in the No. 15 spot.

Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert carried his 4-year-old son, Bode, to the post position board, where the child named for Olympic skier Bode Miller hung Pioneerof the Nile's silks.

"I was set on 10 or 16," Baffert said. "He hasn't had that dirt experience, he'll get less dirt kicked on him out there than on the inside."

Friesan Fire was the fourth choice at 5-1, while the other 16 entries carried double-digit odds.

"I think the top four will be the top four in the betting," Battaglia said. "I don't think there's any doubt about that."

Friesan Fire will leave from the No. 6 hole.

Larry Jones, the colt's trainer, saddled filly Eight Belles to a second-place finish last year behind Big Brown. She broke both ankles past the first turn and had to be euthanized on the track.

"This horse is going to have a whole lot of the same style as Eight Belles," Jones said. "She had a wonderful trip in there, hopefully we can repeat that. Hopefully we'll be in a running position and be able to go turning for home."

This year's draw returned to Churchill Downs after being conducted in front of a huge crowd in downtown Louisville in recent years and shown on ESPN.

The draw began with a traditional "pill pull" where the horses' entry blanks were drawn simultaneously with a numbered pill to determine what order the horses' connections picked their position in the starting gate.

After a five-minute break to strategize, the actual posts were selected by representatives of each of the 20 starters.

The field, from the rail out, is West Side Bernie (30-1), Musket Man (20-1), Mr. Hot Stuff (30-1), Advice (30-1), Hold Me Back (15-1), Friesan Fire (5-1), Papa Clem (20-1), Mine That Bird (50-1), Join in the Dance (50-1), Regal Ransom (30-1), Chocolate Candy (20-1), General Quarters (20-1), I Want Revenge (3-1), Atomic Rain (50-1), Dunkirk (4-1), Pioneerof the Nile (4-1), Summer Bird (50-1), Nowhere to Hide (50-1), Desert Party (15-1), Flying Private (50-1).