With less than two weeks remaining until the 143rd running of the Kentucky Derby there looks to be more competition at the top of the betting board than in previous years.
Odds courtesy of OddsShark.com
Three horses have separated themselves from the rest of the potential Derby field, with Classic Empire and Always Dreaming listed as +500 co-favorites. Irish War Cry is not far behind as the +650 third choice to win the first Triple Crown race of the year at Churchill Downs on Saturday, May 6.
Classic Empire was the best juvenile horse in the country last year, winning the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, but he finished a disappointing third behind Irish War Cry and Gunnevera in the Holy Bull Stakes on February 4.
It was later announced that an abscess on Classic Empire’s foot was to blame, although a longer than expected recovery resulted in a successful return as he won the Arkansas Derby on April 15. His sire Pioneerof the Nile also produced 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah.
Always Dreaming is one of Todd Pletcher’s horses, and he looks to be the best of his bunch, earning a victory at Tampa Bay Downs on January 25 before winning the Florida Derby on April 1. Irish War Cry finished first in the Wood Memorial on April 8, and he also won the Holy Bull Stakes back on February 4 to qualify for the Kentucky Derby.
The next group of contenders to win the 2017 Kentucky Derby below the top three include McCracken (+900), Gunnevera (+1200), Gormley (+1400), Practical Joke (+1400), Battalion Runner (+1600), Girvin (+1600) and Thunder Snow (+1600).
Girvin sits atop the Kentucky Derby points standings with 150 while Classic Empire ranks second (132) and Gormley third (125). The only horse in the Top 5 not previously mentioned is Doug O’Neill’s Irap (113), who is +2000 to win the Kentucky Derby.
Irish War Cry (110) is fifth in the Kentucky Derby points standings followed by Thunder Snow (100) and Always Dreaming (100), which are tied for sixth, Gunnevera (84) in eighth and Practical Joke (74) in ninth. J Boys Echo (63) rounds out the Top 10, and he is one of the longest shots at +3300, ahead of just four other horses on the latest board.