The 143rd running of the Kentucky Derby is scheduled for Saturday, May 6 at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. We are just 5 days away from the big race.
As of right now there are 21 horses with odds available. We can be assured at least one of those listed won’t be on the track this Saturday. That’s because the field is maxed out at 20.
For everything that you need to know about betting this race, check out my Kentucky Derby Betting Guide. I’ll also have my win/place/show picks posted shortly in my Kentucky Derby Predictions article.
Look at the Vegas Odds on Favorites to Win the 2017 Kentucky Derby
Below I have provided some insight on the five horses that currently have the best odds to win the race.
Keep in mind that these are not a representation of my five favorite horses in the field. Simply the ones who are getting the most attention at the books right now.
Ever wonder how much money is bet on the Derby? You might be surprised by how much action this event brings in. Find out how much cash is wagered in my year-by-year betting totals article.
Classic Empire (4/1)
Not a big surprise to see Classic Empire at the top of the list when it comes to the best odds to win. Classic Empire was crowned the best juvenile (2-year-old) champion in 2016, winning the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile-G1 in November.
All the hype surrounding this horse took a hit when he finished 3rd in his first race of 2017 at the Holy Bull-G2. The two horses who finished ahead of him were Irish War Cry and Gunneevera, both of which are expected to race at the Derby. Classic Empire bounced back in a big way winning the Arkansas Derby-G1 a few weeks back.
Most still are in agreement that this is the horse to beat. Classic Empire will be ridden by Julien Leparoux and has been trained by Mark Casse.
Always Dreaming (4/1)
Those that aren’t on the Classic Empire bandwagon, likely have some stock in Always Dreaming. Despite having just one stakes race under his belt, this horse is getting all kinds of praise. A big reason people are willing to overlook the experience, is the pedigree. Always Dreaming is the son of Bodemeister, who was the odds on favorite to win both the 2012 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes. For those that don’t remember, Bodemeiser finished 2nd in both races to I’ll Have Another.
Always Dreaming’s only graded race was at the Florida Derby-G1 back on the first of April. A race he won in convincing fashion by 5 lengths over runner-up State of Honor. It’s also worth noting that Gunnevera, who finished ahead of Classic Empire at the Holy Bull-G2, was third in that race.
Those that put a lot of stock in the jockey and trainer, will also be inclined to back this horse. Always Dreaming will be ridden by John Velazquez, who won the Derby on Animal Kingdom back in 2011. As for the trainer, it’s one of the best in the business in Todd Pletcher.
Irish War Cry (13/2)
Here’s a horse that is going to get some attention for that win at the Holy Bull, which featured Classic Empire. Unfortunately for Irish War Cry, he followed up that big victory with a 7th place showing at the Fountain of Youth-G2. On the bright side, he was able to rebound and win the Wood Memorial-G2 in his final tuneup for the Derby.
Now comes the big question that handicappers must figure out. Was Irish War Cry simply off his game at the Fountain of Youth or is that a cause for concern. It’s going to be interesting to see how this horse handles the big stage at Churchill Downs. There’s a lot of horses in this field that will be looking to get out to an early lead. Trainer Graham Motion and jockey Rajiv Maragh believe this horse will show up with his best effort.
Updated List of Current Betting Odds for Each Horse in the Field
|Irish War Cry||13/2|
|Lookin At Lee||28/1|
|Battle of Midway||28/1|
|J Boys Echo||33/1|
|State Of Honor||40/1|
|Fast and Accurate||66/1|