I've been reading the press, some sharp bettors and twitter for the past week or two, and conventional wisdom says the big Beyer horse - Bodemeister - will be chalk for Derby 138. Some even think he'll be as low as 3-1.
Without the benefit of seeing the draw, I think this won't be the case. I believe Union Rags will be the favorite for four reasons:
1 - The buzz on this colt is still stout, despite the loss and the lack of a big 2012 Beyer. The clocker types are going ga-ga over him.
2 - Familiarity breeds betting dollars. Last year in the Juvenile, a million or more viewers watched him, and thought he was miles better than Hansen. Not a day goes by it seems that someone says he traveled further than the circumference of Mars more than the winner. There are fans, both casual and rabid, wanting to see him get revenge and make the Trakus number look like gold. Think Zenyatta. She was 4-5 against Blame in the Breeders Cup Classic. Everyone saw her close from St. Louis to almost run him down. She'd probably would have been 1-5 in a rematch two weeks later. People love closers who almost win.
3 - The "Trip Over The Track". Churchill can be quirky, and loving Churchill - which he seems to - makes him a formidable first choice.
4 - He's currently the chalk in offshore books and at Betfair, despite the Bode-Beyer talk.
Unless Bodemeister draws an advantageous middle post, and Union Rags draws outward of 17 or the rail or two hole, I think he's a slam dunk for favoritism come the First Saturday in May.