11:57 Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve (Grade 1) (Dirt) (3yo) 1m 2f

It’s that time of year again. The first Saturday in May. The Run for the Roses. Time for one horse to become immortal and another 19 to lick their wounds and hope to recover from an audacious task that proved too big.

As always, we bring you “Why he’ll win and why he won’t” for the 148th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs.

1. Mo Donegal - Todd Pletcher/Irad Ortiz Jr

Why he’ll win. Todd Pletcher and Irad Ortiz Jr. in his corner, that’s a good start. Stamina-laden, proven at nine furlongs, comes off a win in the Wood Memorial. Five starts under his belt, which is considered experienced these days. Handled second-choice Zandon in December.

Why he won’t win. Inside post limits his choices. Joel Rosario stuck with Epicenter. Just seems to lack the pizzazz or presence of a Derby winner.

2. Happy Jack - Doug O’Neill/Rafael Bejarano

Why he’ll win. I’ll get back to you on that.

Why he won’t win. Just 1-for-4 in his career. Walloped by double digits in three straight losses. Trainer Doug O’Neill removing blinkers for this, it’s a bad sign when a trainer is still tinkering this close to showtime.

3. Epicenter - Steven Asmussen/Joel Rosario

Why he’ll win. A head away from winning his last five starts, including the Risen Star and Louisiana Derby. Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen and Eclipse Award winner Joel Rosario at the controls. Possesses enough natural speed to find a niche early. The most consistent, proven horse in a field full of questions.

Why he won’t win. Asmussen has yet to win a Kentucky Derby and he rides a 72-race losing streak in Kentucky (as reported by handicapper Ed DeRosa). Of course, the all-time winningest trainer has 14 entries at Churchill Downs between when I type and when Epicenter walks in the gate, so that skid could be long gone. Or not.

4. Summer Is Tomorrow - B Seemar/Mickael Barzalona

Why he’ll win. Battle tested with seven starts from November to March, including a runner-up finish in the UAE Derby. Brereton Jones breeds durability.

Why he won’t win. Failed to hold off Crown Point when stretching to a mile and 3/16 miles in the UAE Derby. Just two wins from six starts against restricted sprinters in Dubai before stretching out.

5. Smile Happy - Kenneth McPeek/Corey J Lanerie

Why he’ll win. Hardened after tough seconds behind Epicenter and Zandon. Two wins, two seconds from four starts. Talented and could still be improving.

Why he won’t win. Form is form, no match for the favourite and second choice.

6. Messier - Tim Yakteen/John R Velazquez

Why he’ll win. Won the Robert B. Lewis by 15 lengths in February. By Empire Maker (stamina) out of a Smart Strike mare (more stamina). And John Velazquez is the most definitive jockey of our generation.

Why he won’t win. 0-for-1 since leaving Bob Baffert to join Tim Yakteen. Couldn’t handle stablemate Taiba in the Santa Anita Derby.

7. Crown Pride - Koichi Shintani/Christophe-Patrice Lemaire

Why he’ll win. The Japanese are winning everything!

Why he won’t win. Makes his American dirt debut after three races in Japan and one in Dubai. His unorthodox training methods are leaving American trainers in bewilderment and befuddlement.

8. Charge It - Todd Pletcher/Luis Saez

Why he’ll win. By Tapit out of I’ll Take Charge. Pletcher wins. Luis Saez wins. Rounding into his best form after an erratic trip in the Florida Derby.

Why he won’t win. Makes his fourth start since January 8th. Erratic trip showed he’s not ready for another furlong and more rivals.

9. Tiz The Bomb - Kenneth McPeek/Brian Joseph Hernandez Jr

Why he’ll win. Battled tested with eight starts. Rides a two-race win streak into this.

Why he won’t win. Best form is on turf and synthetic. Trounced in his most recent start on dirt, a 20-length drubbing behind White Abarrio in the Holy Bull.

10. Zandon - Chad C Brown/Flavien Prat

Why he’ll win. Emerged with a facile score in the Blue Grass. Smooth breezes leading up to this. There’s a Derby with Chad Brown’s name on it somewhere, sometime. And Tom Law says he’ll win.

Why he won’t win. Couldn’t handle Mo Donegal or Epicenter in previous meetings. Blue Grass proves it wasn’t an ace test.

11. Pioneer Of Medina - Todd Pletcher/Joe Bravo

Why he’ll win. Pletcher?

Why he won’t win. Another one with blinkers coming off, never a good sign. Simply not good enough.

12. Taiba - Tim Yakteen/Mike E Smith

Why he’ll win. Two wins from two starts, including the Santa Anita Derby. Mike Smith at the controls. Bob Baffert still in the mix, even though the $1.7 million son of Gun Runner runs in Tim Yakteen’s name.

Why he won’t win. Horses can’t win the Derby in their third start and the sport simply doesn’t deserve any more Bob Baffert-themed tears or jeers.

13. Simplification - Antonio Sano/Jose L Ortiz

Why he’ll win. Consistent as a jar of peanut butter. Jockey Jose Ortiz is a magician. Works are steady.

Why he won’t win. White Abarrio has thumped him twice and we don’t like White Abarrio.

14. Barber Road - John Alexander Ortiz/Reylu Gutierrez

Why he’ll win. Because a $30,000 maiden claimer graduate would be a good story.

Why he won’t win. $30,000 maiden claimer graduates don’t win the Derby.

15. White Abarrio - Saffie A Joseph Jr/Tyler Gaffalione

Why he’ll win. Because Florida is a proven launching pad to the Derby, and this horse has dominated Florida. Trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. produces head-shaking numbers.

Why he won’t win. He looked more like the last man standing at the end of the bar at the end of the night when winning the Florida Derby.

16. Cyberknife - Brad H Cox/Florent Geroux

Why he’ll win. Jockey Florent Geroux stays here. Brad Cox wins everything, everywhere. Dominated the Arkansas Derby in his most recent start.

Why he won’t win. The three-year-old crop at Oaklawn Park hasn’t looked the strongest this year.

17. Classic Causeway - Brian A Lynch/Julien R Leparoux

Why he’ll win. Toyed with rivals in front-running tour de forces in the Sam F. Davis and Tampa Bay Derby. Trainer Brian Lynch is shrewd.

Why he won’t win. It all came unhinged in a last-place finish in the Florida Derby and sometimes shrewdness is overruled when it comes to the Derby.

18. Tawny Port - Brad H Cox/Ricardo Santana Jr

Why he’ll win. Brad Cox.

Why he won’t win. Epicenter, Smile Happy, Zandon and Tiz The Bomb shellacked him in the Risen Star and Jeff Ruby before a win in the Lexington three weeks ago. And Kentucky is about bourbon, not port.

19. Zozos - Brad H Cox/Manuel Franco

Why he’ll win. Cue the Brad Cox button. Won his first two and finished second behind Epicenter in stakes debut, sometimes that kind of test catapults horses to bigger things.

Why he won’t win. Sometimes the catapult snags.

20. Rich Strike - Eric R Reed/Sonny Leon

Why he’ll win. In a world asunder, it just makes sense that a $30,000 claim, waiting to get in the race, shocks the world.

Why he won’t win. He’s only just got in the race…what a story.

Also eligible

Rattle N Roll

Why he’ll win. Because announcer Travis Stone has been practicing his best Bill Haley and the Comets’ call of “...Shake, Rattle N Roll…Shake, Rattle N Roll…”

Why he won’t win. He’s not even in the race. Yet.

Selections: 1. Epicenter,

2. Crown Pride, 3. Zandon.