The Kentucky Derby 2017 results are in, and the favorite Always Dreaming used a late surge to win on a sloppy track.
Lookin at Lee came in second place, Battle of Midway finished third, and the one-time favorite Classic Empire took fourth place.
The Kentucky Derby results were not much of a surprise for those following Always Dreaming this year. The horse had a fantastic run in 2017, including a win in the Florida Derby.
As Brisnet noted, Always Dreaming was seen as the best chance for trainer Todd Pretcher to improve an otherwise woeful record at the annual Run for the Roses.
“His trainer is 1-for-45 in the Kentucky Derby but Always Dreaming has been prepared differently than predecessors who peaked too early,” the report noted. “He stepped up when making his stakes debut in the Florida Derby.”
Leading into the Kentucky Derby, there was no clear favorite among the pack. While the past few years the Run for the Roses has been dominated by the favorites — Nyquist last year, California Chrome before — this year there were a pack of horses considered in the running to win it.
Though Classic Empire and McCracken were seen as favorites on Friday at 6-to-1, Always Dreaming had become the favorite by Saturday afternoon at 9-to-4 odds.
But even with Always Dreaming the favorite, there wasn’t a lot of confidence among horse racing experts that he would win.
“The colt is deservedly among the favorites after a terrific Florida Derby and very strong workouts since,” Melissa Hoppert and Joe Drape wrote in the New York Times. “He has been hard to handle here, prompting a change of equipment and exercise riders by his trainer. Don’t blame you if you bet him big or throw him out altogether.”
After a spate of sloppy weather including rain storms that left a mud-soaked Kentucky Oaks on Friday night, there looked to be a chance that the Kentucky Derby 2017 results might not be affected by the weather. By midday, the sun was shining in Louisville and the track was upgraded from “sloppy” to “good” by 4 p.m. ET.
It’s Kentucky Derby Day! See what makes the First Saturday in May so special https://t.co/BGdJBEXCjX— Melissa Hoppert (@MHoppertNYT) May 6, 2017
But that didn’t last long. By 4:15 p.m., the rain started once again and continued through the 10th race.
“Any chance of the track being upgraded to good or wet fast seemed to be remote.The track was downgraded to sloppy just as the sun came out about 30 minutes before race 11,” the Los Angeles Times reported. “Weather radar showed another cell was headed to the Louisville area as the Kentucky Derby was still about two hours away.”
That left many bettors looking for the horses with a history of running well on sloppy tracks — with Thunder Snow, Hence, Classic Empire, Tapwrit, Battle of Midway, and Gormley all coming in with a strong record, the Los Angeles Times noted.
Those conditions led to some worry among trainers leading up to the Kentucky Derby, when it was expected to be muddy and sloppy.
“It’s disappointing,” Classic Empire’s assistant trainer Mark Casse told Block News Alliance. “I’m from Louisville. I want everybody to be able to come out and have a great Derby Day. But for us, you train your horse his whole life for this moment, and then to be tested in conditions he’s never seen, it’s not ideal.”
Unlike past years, the results from the Kentucky Derby 2017 likely won’t set up the chances for a Triple Crown. With no clear favorite in the Kentucky Derby, the chances of Always Dreaming pulling off wins in both the Preakness and Belmont Stakes is seen as remote.
The full results and payouts for the Kentucky Derby 2017 can be found here.
[Featured Image by Logan Riely/Getty Images]