LOUISVILLE, KY - APRIL 29: Midnight Interlude runs during the morning exercise session in preparation for the 137th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on April 29, 2011 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Kentucky Derby 2011 Contenders: Get To Know Some Of The Field's Horses

With the 137th running of the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, it's time to get to know some of the contenders. Scroll down for profiles.

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Kentucky Derby 2011 Contenders: Nehro, The Procrastinator's Pick

The 137th running of the Kentucky Derby will take place this Saturday, and you probably don't know anything about any of the horses. We are here to help. Today's contender is Nehro.

Name: Nehro. The procrastinator's choice in this Derby, as he's coming off back-to-back second place finishes in the Louisiana and Arkansas Derbies earned with furious late rushes. No, you don't have work to do. Nehro thinks you can chill for a while, and just read this preview. You've got time. Rushing around in life will kill you, man.

Description: Another progeny of Mineshaft, Nehro is a late charger who really might be the horse most poised to benefit from the extra quarter mile of track Churchill Downs will put in front of him. He really should get around to telling you more about his racing, but...hey, did you see this New York Times article about his owner, Ahmed Zayat? Man, he sounds crazy! Betting like six figures at a time? And lending money to Vegas gamblers? Pretty extreme guy, that fella. Hey,  Nehro has to make a phone call, but lemme read this Wikipedia article first...

/spends three hours reading the Wiki entry on the Wu-Tang clan

/talks to best friend on cellphone on company time for 45 minutes

Oh, wait, where was he....oh, he has a race to win, and he could do it but HOW DID NEHRO GET THIS FAR BEHIND? The internet's terrible like that sometimes. Before he forgets to tell you this and skips out of work early to procrastinate at home: Nehro will have to admit to having raced a lot (three races in six weeks leading up to the Derby,) being relatively inexperienced, and quite possibly cramming a lot of racing development into a small span of time.

With that being said, Nehro might very well be what many experienced procrastinators tend to be: excellent in the clutch, and devastating down the stretch. Steve Haskin calls him "a wiseguy's horse," and we think that means he's an insider's pick (or is in the Mafia, which horses would be good at because they cannot talk.) 

Likes: The internet, video games, relaxing, spending time "planning" things to do "sometime, you know, like in the future."

Dislikes: Hassling bosses, "schedule freaks," stress.

Current Odds: 1/6

Celebrity Lookalike: Dr. Dre. (Detox! Coming out any day now, right?)


Kentucky Derby 2011 Contenders: Dialed In Dumped You Without You Noticing

Name: Dialed In. He's got this, and by this means everything. He's ready for the Derby. He's written those thank-you notes you forgot about, and bought flowers for your wife, and called the glass man to fix that window you broke last week playing baseball using a basketball. He tried to warn you ahead of time, but he knows how you are, and already called the guy and had him stock a window just that size for the occasion. He also fixes all his dinners on Sunday ahead of time to save the effort and hassle during the week.

I kind of hate Dialed In already, but that's why he already sent me ... [opens envelope] ... a Target gift card? Oh, you are a devious one.

Description: Perfect, but without being perfectly annoying? Dialed In straddles the soft high end of a lot of potentially annoying positive categories all at once. He has an illustrious trainer in Nick Zito, but not too illustrious like Bob Baffert, the first guy to tell you how illustrious he is. Dialed In has an impressive pedigree -- Secretariat and Seattle Slew are back there in the family photo album if you look far enough -- but comes from a diverse enough background, racing-wise. (Mom was a sprinter! Dad was an aristocrat! And somehow those crazy kids got along.)

He's also the winner of the Florida Derby, a formidable finisher whose early indications lean towards fast paces at distance, and has the most organized desk you've ever seen in a stable. Did we just suggest that Dialed In is like Rob Lowe's character on Parks and Recreation, and is so perfect you should hate him but somehow don't? We did, though he doesn't have a desk, and not because he's a horse and cannot sit in chairs. Dialed In knows that sitting is bad for you, and prefers to work standing like Hemingway did. 

If he wins, he will yell "ANN PERKINS!" as he finishes. He will do it in horse, so you will not understand it, but that's what he'll be saying.

Likes: That tie you're wearing! But you should let him re-tie it for you, since you don't know how handsome you'll really feel in a tie until you wear it in a double windsor. See! Doesn't that feel so much better? He made you an omelet with egg whites, too, and really wants you to read this article in the New Yorker about Guatemala while you do it. Also, have you had your cholesterol checked lately? Because he made you a doctor's appointment with his guy, who you'll just love. 

Dislikes: Messy workspaces, negative people. But he thinks they could just be happier if they got a little more sunshine, at least 40 minutes of light cardio a day, and took refined sugars out of their diet.

Odds: 1/4. But he's pretty sure he's got this one...[puts on horse-sized sunglasses]...DIALED IN. Ha, he's sorry about that, but it was just sitting there.

Celebrity Lookalike: Well, duh.


Kentucky Derby 2011 Contenders: Master Of Hounds Keeps It Classy

The 137th running of the Kentucky Derby will take place this Saturday, and you probably don't know anything about any of the horses. We are here to help. Today's contender is Master of Hounds.

Name: Master of Hounds. I say, you will not find a classier name find in this Derby. Welcome to Master of Hounds' estate. Please, never mind Buxley. He is simply tasting the wine to ensure it's not gone round the bend. Nothing sadder than a corked Burgundy, is there Buxley?


He lost an eye in the service. Master of Hounds would tell you how, but Her Majesty requests his silence on the matter, and his by extension, as he was brought into the Crown's confidences late one night after several bottles of that very wine. Master of Hounds is a horse of his word, and will remain so. 

Description: Oh, he is not of the common clay, and certainly did not come from your plebeian American ranks to soil his hooves with the filth of Churchill Downs dirt to lose. A grandson of the illustrious Mr. Prospector, he has the burdens the elites always feel when confronted with their predecessors, as ten of Mr. Prospector's progeny of varying degrees of relation have gone on to win the Derby. (Mr. Prospector had the misfortune to run his Derby in the same year as Secretariat.) (P.S. Sorry about that. Sincerely, Cruel Fate.) 

He is also, like many aristocrats, a cosmopolitan underachiever. With no major wins to his name, Master of Hounds has spent his youth toddling about the racetracks of Ireland, Dubai, and England, finishing in the top three several times but never threatening for a win. He will also be racing his first race on dirt, and you know how nobles are about actually getting their hooves dirty. 

Nevertheless, his pedigree and freshly polished monocle will undoubtedly draw some significant betting come post time, and his freshly pressed tuxedos and impeccable table manners will undoubtedly draw the fillies at the post-race festivities. Remember that, peasants: even in defeat, he will still be nobility, and that is something you can never take from him.The odds are not good at the moment, but nobles are used to being singular cases. That said, more cheese and toast points, Buxley. Master of Hounds requires nourishment for maximum haughtiness.

Likes: Mustique in the winter. Richard Branson is such the gent, if a bit of a ruffian after a few drinks. The rustic but refined wines of the Italian Piedmont. The Real Housewives of Atlanta, because one must stay in touch with the common people, and he does find NeNe to be a compelling Medusa figure. 

Dislikes: The Royals. Not even proper horsemen, if you ask him. The tragedy of the common people finding St. Barthes. The barbaric tax bracket he currently occupies in England. Anarchists. Kim Zolciak, since he has seen superior wigs on Karl Lagerfeld's drag queens. Poor people. The savagery of being bumped down to business class.

Odds: 1/25

Celebrity Lookalike: Prince Philip.


Kentucky Derby 2011 Contenders: Archarcharch, A Party On Horseshoes

Name: Archarcharch. Possibly the only Derby contender with a typo for a name. Note: never name horses when you've had too much coffee. 

Description: Robust and un-pedigreed? Call him the Michael Caine of the group so far, since he's steady, good for the distance, and despite the unspectacular bloodlines could place himself among the great nobility of his profession. He's an Arkansas Derby winner, has excellent closing ability when he's reined in, and probably could carry off a Cockney accent and thick-rimmed eyeglasses with aplomb. The stylish high-value blue-collar horse, if you will, of this Derby Field. 

He also sounds, um, ready to party?

"He got here early enough that he got acclimated to the weather. By being here early I think it helps a lot. He just loves Churchill Downs. He feels ready to party; he’s ready to dance to any kind of music. He can dance.”

And a revision: we may have the Michael Caine of horses, or we may have the Andrew W.K. of horses, since he likes to party, dance, and will dance to any music. (He can't mean dubstep when he says "any music," though. This looks really unsafe for people, much less an animal with four knees to potentially break.)

The downside of being the party horse is that you might party too hard, flame out early, and then end up at home on the couch nursing some Alka-Seltzer and orange juice the next morning with a splitting headache. Archarcharch does tend to go a bit too fast on the backstretch, and could end up stuck in the pack at Churchill Downs if he's not kept in check, especially given the pattern of racing that's been successful in the Derby recently.

Likes: Partying. People who like to party. Party supplies, but not crepe paper, because when that stuff gets wet it sticks to things like nothing you've ever seen in your life. They should really make buildings out of it.

Dislikes: People who don't like to party, downers, haters, and bouncers. Always gotta have some beef with the triple Arch because he's on the Party Wagon, and they're just stuck on burros wishing they were bound for the same sweet spot on the Oregon Trail of Partying. Go take your Jack3d and let ol' Arch have his party in peace, hater.

Current Odds: 10/1 to win. 1/1 of PARTY, though, and if you can't do math that's like a billion percent certainty. (Horses can't do math.)

Celebrity Lookalike: Andrew W.K., if only in spirit.


Kentucky Derby 2011 Contenders: Pants On Fire, Whose Owners Are INSANE

The 137th running of the Kentucky Derby will take place this Saturday, and you probably don't know anything about any of the horses. We are here to help. Today's contender is "Pants On Fire," who is in a hurry because he is a race horse, and because his pants are on fire. 


DESCRIPTION: EASY I AM THE HORSE WEARING PANTS THAT ARE ON FIRE BECAUSE MY OWNERS ARE REALLY FUNNY PEOPLE LIKE THAT---whoa, let's calm down for a second. It's not all flames and burning finery with Pants on Fire. The horse is a lurking contender in the Derby based on a couple of factors, none of which include actually putting pants on the horse and setting them on fire.

Pants On Fire has a quality upset on his record in the form of his victory at the Louisiana Derby, where he outpaced Mucho Macho Man down the stretch and took home the race's $600,000 purse for a win. More importantly, Pants on Fire automatically qualified for the Derby with the winnings and avoided any further racing wear and tear in the lead-up to the Derby. Considering how stressful it already is to be named "Pants on Fire," this has to be good news for the horse and its trainers. 

Pants On Fire will also be the only horse in the race piloted by a female jockey. Cindy Napravnik will be just the sixth woman to ever run in the Derby, and since no woman has ever finished higher than 11th in the race, expect your father to make a "female drivers" comment if she does not finish higher than---HEY THAT IS SEXIST AND I AM ALREADY UNDER A LOT OF PRESSURE NOW IF I WIN THE RACE WILL YOU PLEASE PUT THESE OUT WHAT DOES A STALLION HAVE TO DO AROUND HERE FOR A FIRE EXTINGUISHER AND THESE ARE CORDUROY ARE YOU PEOPLE CRUEL AND INSANE?

Likes: Muddy tracks, actually. Should the weather go south at Churchill Downs expect more than a few wagers to swing his way. Also: enjoys pantslessness, not being on fire. 

Dislikes: Insane owners approaching with pants, fire, other horses snickering at his name, suggestions he might have a social disease.

Current odds: 1/15

Celebrity Horse Look-A-Like: Djimon Hounsou, but wearing pants that are on fire OH COME ON YOU KNOW YOU WANT TO ROOT FOR A HORSE THAT WEARS PANTS THAT ARE ACTUALLY ON FIRE---


Kentucky Derby 2011 Contenders: Mucho Macho Man, The Zombie Horse

The 137th running of the Kentucky Derby will take place this Saturday, and you probably don't know anything about any of the horses. We are here to help. Our second preview focuses on Mucho Macho Man, the only horse in the field who has come back from the dead.

Name: Mucho Macho Man. After his sire, Macho Uno. On his farm he was referred to as "Lazarus,"  however.

“A few minutes later he called back and said, ‘I think this foal is dead, he just doesn’t look alive.’

“When we arrived, Jeff and his wife were there and they’re standing over the foal and praying. I was doing my own praying on the way there. When I arrived I looked at him and he was lifeless, and I couldn’t see any breathing. I started rubbing him and finally I just stopped and we all prayed together. Just then this sucker jumped up and started running. He didn’t just stand up he jumped up and then ran off from the mare. It was bizarre."

And now you have met the unstoppable zombie horse of the competition. IT HAS THE SIGHT, I TELL YOU.

Description: May not actually be a zombie, since zombies are slow and unstoppable and Mucho Macho Man has shown a tendency to make his move mid-race and fade toward the end as he did in the Louisiana Derby. (He did run that race missing one shoe, and still salvaged a third place finish.) Is a very intelligent horse whose late development can be read one of two ways: he is either poised to mature at just the right moment to make a serious run in the Derby, or is just shy of his potential and not ready for the distance of the race. Is probably psychic or can talk to ghosts like all others who have been into the great beyond and come back, but cannot tell you about it because he is a horse, and cannot talk. Inconsistent, but you would be, too, if you could get distracted by the mystical power to read people's minds.

Likes: The ability to predict the future he brought back with him from the afterlife, a talent that helps him avoid things like falling tree branches, sudden swerves by other horses on the track, and vaccinations he doesn't feel like getting.

Dislikes: Horse ghosts. Man, they never shut up. Randy Savage jokes. People singing "Macho Man" by the Village People, since duh, he's not even a man, man. Macho Horse, please, if you must sing. 

Current odds: 1/12

Celebrity Horse Lookalike: Like a sensitive Count Chocula.

For more serious analysis of the 2011 Kentucky Derby, head to SB Nation's And Down The Stretch They Come.


Kentucky Derby 2011 Contenders: Midnight Interlude Is Here To Please, Ladies

The 137th running of the Kentucky Derby will take place this Saturday, and you probably don't know anything about any of the horses. We are here to help. Our first preview of the Kentucky Derby contenders covers the basics of Midnight Interlude, the Derby's horse most likely to meet you at the door wearing only a towel and holding a champagne bottle.

Name: Midnight Interlude. Because "Quiet Storm" wasn't quite obvious enough.


Hey, girl. Midnight Interlude here.

Description: The surprise winner of the Santa Anita Derby is one of three possible Bob Baffert entries into the Run for the Roses, but forget about all those other horses, girl. Midnight Interlude may have been on the track practicing this morning, but it's you that's been running around in his head all day. You like D'Angelo? Midnight has him playing in my stall like this all the time, girl.

Have you been working out?  He doesn't mean to be rude, but Midnight Interlude couldn't help but notice how toned you're looking. As an athlete, Midnight Interlude appreciates a lady who takes care of themselves. No, please: come in. he apologizes for the mess, but you see Mr. interlude has been busy serving as a late replacement for Mr. Baffert for the injured Jaycito. He's left these chocolate-covered strawberries and champagne glasses out, just sitting here! How careless of Midnight to do that.

But do try one, please. Midnight Interlude can't possibly eat them all by himself.

Midnight Interlude doesn't want to lead you on, girl. He wants you to saddle up and ride with him, but he's not like those other horses. The Santa Anita was only his fourth start, and even though he won Midnight needs you to remember something: he's tender, and new to this game. Be gentle with him, even with his super closing speed and stamina down the stretch.

The candles? Oh, how silly of him not to mention that. They're going green here in the stables. He could turn on the lights, but this is so much easier on the eyes, don't you think? Not that you need the help in that department, girl. [/winks] Look exotic oils and fragrances! How did these ever get out here? 

[puts on Ready for the World]

Likes: Whatever pleases you, girl. As for Midnight's personal preferences? High thread-count sheets, long walks in the pasture, and just spending time to make things right for whatever you're feeling. Also: "Reasons," by Earth, Wind, and Fire; Secret deodorant, because Midnight's comfortable enough to admit it really is strong enough for a man; the movie The Joy Luck Club, because Midnight was separated from his mother at a young age, too, and understands the struggles of the beautiful ladies in that film.

Dislikes: Fillies who be playin', shallow lovers not ready for the real.

Current Odds: 1/15, though your chances of finding love and ultimate satisfaction with a smooth luva like Midnight Interlude remain a solid 1/1, ladies.

Celebrity Horse Lookalike: Sensitive crooner Joe.

For more serious analysis of the 2011 Kentucky Derby, head to SB Nation's And Down The Stretch They Come.

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