In just a few hours, the annual famous phrase “Riders up!” will be announced as the 143rd Kentucky Derby will take place from Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. The Kentucky Derby is the most popular American race when it comes to thoroughbred horse racing, and once again this afternoon, tens of thousands of fans will witness history live from Churchill Downs while millions of others will watch the action live on television or streaming online all across the globe.
Unlike any other sporting event outside of the Super Bowl, the Kentucky Derby will not only be one of the most-watched sporting events of the year, it will be the most wagered on as well. Betfirm indicates that nearly $200 million or more will be legally wagered on today’s two-minute race, with the possibility of the number doubling depending on legal online wagering.
While the Kentucky Derby displays the best three-year-old horses in the world doing what they do best, it is also known for being one of the biggest horse racing parties thrown every year as well! This one race is great for the economy in and around Louisville, Kentucky, and it is good business for race tracks across the country that will be fielding bets on the Derby.
A UPI report indicates that the 2017 Kentucky Derby field and odds were first posted on Wednesday, May 3, as they were made official during the derby draw from Churchill Downs. With a field of 20 horses getting ready to put their best foot forward this afternoon, many horse handicapping experts believe that this is really a four horse race – with Classic Empire and Always Dreaming leading the way.
Always Dreaming captured the 2017 Florida Derby earlier this year, and this horse has Triple Crown capabilities. An offspring of the great Bodemeister, Always Dreaming is currently listed at 4/1 odds and may fall a bit more before post time.
Todd Pletcher, who trains Always Dreaming (No. 5 post, 5-1 co-second choice), was pleased with the Florida Derby winner’s latest workout and believes that his horse has a great shot a winning this afternoon.
“The horse is moving fantastic. We want to be able to control that energy and I think we’ve made big strides in doing that overnight,” Pletcher told The Blood-Horse publication. “I would much rather be in this position than to come in with a horse not feeling good or hanging his head.”
Right behind Always Dreaming on the odds favorites board is Classic Empire. The 2017 Arkansas Derby winner is listed at 5/1 on the morning line, but those odds will most likely get shorter before the horses enter the gate.
The other two favorites that are on many folks’ radar are McCraken and Irish War Cry.
McCraken will start from the No. 5 post, while Irish War Cry, the winner of the 2017 Wood Memorial, will try to become the first horse to win the Kentucky Derby from the No. 17 post.
Outside of the top four favorites mentioned above, do any of the other 16 have a shot at pulling off an upset at the 2017 Kentucky Derby?
It looks doubtful on paper, but races are determined on the track, not by handicapping experts!
Race fans can watch all of the 2017 Kentucky Derby live nationally on NBC starting at 2:30 p.m. ET. If you are on the go, you can also watch the Kentucky Derby streaming live online through your tablet or cell phone by downloading the NBC Sports App. If you can’t catch the Kentucky Derby live, be sure to check back here for the results as they will be posted in the comments section below.
Below is a look at the complete field, post positions, and current odds to win the 2017 Kentucky Derby. Post time for the big race is set for approximately 6:30 p.m. ET.
2017 Kentucky Derby Lineup and Odds
1. Lookin At Lee — Corey Lanerie (28/1)
2. Thunder Snow — Christophe Soumillon (16/1)
3. Fast and Accurate — Channing Hill (55/1)
4. Untrapped — Ricardo Santana Jr. (50/1)
5. Always Dreaming — John Velazquez (4/1)
6. State of Honor — Jose Lezcano (40/1)
7. Girvin — Mike Smith (16/1)
8. Hence — Florent Geroux (22/1)
9. Irap — Mario Gutierrez (25/1)
10. Gunnevera –Javier Castellano (12/1)
11. Battle of Midway — Flavien Prat (28/1)
12. Sonneteer — Kent Desormeaux (33/1)
13. J Boys Echo — Luis Saez (33/1)
14. Classic Empire — Julien Leparoux (5/1)
15. McCraken — Brian Hernandez Jr. (6/1)
16. Tapwrit –Jose Ortiz (25/1)
17. Irish War Cry — Rajiv Maragh (7/1)
18. Gormley — Victor Espinoza (16/1)
19. Practical Joke — Joel Rosario (16/1)
20. Patch — Tyler Gaffalione (33/1)
[Featured Image by Andy Lyons/Getty Images]