The 2017 Kentucky Derby has four clear-cut favorites atop the betting board led by Classic Empire at +425 (wager $100 to win $425). But an unfavorable post position for Classic Empire at No. 14 gives three other horses – Always Dreaming (+450), McCraken (+600) and Irish War Cry (+600) – a solid shot to win the 143rd Run for the Roses at Churchill Downs in Louisville on Saturday as well.
Odds courtesy of OddsShark.com
Only two horses have ever won the Kentucky Derby from the No. 14 spot, with the last coming way back in 1961 (Carry Back). One favorable trend for Classic Empire though is the fact that the favorite has won the first Triple Crown race each of the last four years.
Classic Empire won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile last year and will be trying to follow in the footsteps of Nyquist (2016) and Street Sense (2007) as previous winners of both that race and the Kentucky Derby. Classic Empire also won the Arkansas Derby.
Always Dreaming would seem to have a better chance from the No. 5 post position, with nine other horses winning the Kentucky Derby from that spot, the last being California Chrome in 2014. Trained by Todd Pletcher, Always Dreaming won the Florida Derby and could be his second horse to win the Kentucky Derby after Super Saver in 2010.
McCraken drew post position No. 15, which has actually seen more winners than No. 14. Five horses have won the Kentucky Derby from the No. 15 spot, the latest being Triple Crown winner American Pharoah two years ago.
McCraken won his first four starts but suffered a minor ankle injury on February 28 and finished third in the Blue Grass Stakes on April 8 as the 8-to-5 favorite behind winner Irap and Practical Joke, who are listed at +1800 and +2500 to win the Kentucky Derby, respectively.
Irish War Cry will start from the No. 17 position, and he will attempt to become the first horse ever to win from there. He won the Wood Memorial on April 8 and also the Holy Bull Stakes on February 4, beating out 1-2 favorite Classic Empire, who finished third.