When exactly is the 2017 Kentucky Derby? That is what a lot of fans are asking themselves as we draw closer to the month of May. Once again, the annual Run for the Roses will be one of the most anticipated thoroughbred horse races of the season, not to mention that the Kentucky Derby is the first leg of the Triple Crown races.
According to Forbes, the 2017 Kentucky Derby will take place on Saturday, May 6 from Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. The Kentucky Derby is the longest-running horse race in the U.S., and this year will be the 143rd time the track announcer will utter the famous words “riders up!”
So who is favored to win the 2017 Kentucky Derby?
While the official field and post position draw announcement isn’t until next week, fans and experts know most of the horses that will be saddling up for the big race. With no official odds to speak of just of yet, these three horses are sure to be among the top favorites next Saturday afternoon at Churchill Downs: Classic Empire, McCraken, and Irish War Cry.
Mark Casse knows he has a championship horse on his hands, however, he is hoping for some more consistency from Classic Empire. Many tracks across the country are tabbing him as the early odds favorite and have him listed at 4/1 as an early Kentucky Derby prop bet.
Classic Empire had big wins at both the Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity Stakes at Keeneland and the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita early in the year. However, he was a bust with a third-place finish behind Irish War Cry and Gunnevera at the Grade 2 Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream.
Classic Empire rebounded nicely from the disappointment at Gulfstream by winning the 2017 Arkansas Derby, which is a big reason he is considered a top pick for the upcoming Kentucky Derby.
Two more horses to keep an eye on during Kentucky Derby day are McCraken and Irish War Cry.
The winner of the 2017 Wood Memorial, Irish War Cry is another horse that has a Triple Crown look to him. Irish War Cry edged out Battalion Runner, who came in second, followed by Cloud Computing, who finished the derby prep race at third overall.
With early odds listed at anywhere from 8/1 to 11/1, Irish War Cry may be a great selection in this year’s Kentucky Derby to finish in the money.
Now on to McCraken. The Kentucky native will be getting plenty of home cooking from fans on Kentucky Derby day, but does he have what it takes to pull off the big win?
Trainer Ian Wilkes has two big wins under his belt with Unbridled and Street Sense. A third with McCraken would be the icing on the cake and may be an underdog to consider on derby day. McCraken won the Kentucky Derby Jockey Stakes as a juvenile at Churchill Downs, so the level of comfort will be there for the 3-year-old. He also finished third at the 2017 Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland behind Irap and Practical Joke. With a nice draw, McCraken may be one to watch on Kentucky Derby day.
Early morning line odds on McCraken are 10/1.
Below is a look at all of the information horse racing fans will need to know about the 2017 Kentucky Derby. Also is a list of the past winners of the Kentucky Derby since 2000.
Kentucky Derby 2017: What, Where & When
- What: Kentucky Derby 2017
- Where: Churchill Downs, Louisville, Ky.
- When: Saturday, May 6, 2017
- Post time: 6:34 p.m. ET
- TV: NBC, 2:30 p.m. – 7:20 p.m.
Past Kentucky Derby winners
- 2016 Nyquist
- 2015 American Pharoah
- 2014 California Chrome
- 2013 Orb
- 2012 I’ll Have Another
- 2011 Animal Kingdom
- 2010 Super Saver
- 2009 Mine That Bird
- 2008 Big Brown
- 2007 Street Sense
- 2006 Barbaro
- 2005 Giacomo
- 2004 Smarty Jones
- 2003 Funny Cide
- 2002 War Emblem
- 2001 Monarchos
- 2000 Fusaichi Pegasus
[Featured Image by Logan Riely/Getty Images]