Kentucky Derby 2017 Contenders: Lineup and Pedigree for All Entries in the Field

Nate Loop@Nate_LoopFeatured ColumnistMay 1, 2017

LOUISVILLE, KY - APRIL 30:  A horse gets a bath as the sun rises at Churchill Downs on April 30, 2017 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Alex Evers/Eclipse Sportswire/Getty Images)
Eclipse Sportswire/Getty Images

The 2017 Kentucky Derby is on Saturday, the famous horse race that every year, no matter the winner, produces a Triple Crown hopeful. 

Few horses follow through on the initial promise after winning the The Run for the Roses, with the most recent two being American Pharoah (2015) and Affirmed (1978). The unlikelihood of a horse going on to win both the Belmont and Preakness Stakes in no way puts a damper on the Derby, as the race is one of the biggest events in sports and often provides plenty of drama. 

The final draw for the Kentucky Derby field is on Wednesday, but the points leaderboard on the Derby's official site gives an idea of which thoroughbreds will get a post at Churchill Downs in Louisville. 

Here's a look at the top-ranked horses and their pedigree info in the buildup to the big race. 

StandingHorseTrainerJockeyPedigree
1GirvinJoe SharpMike E. SmithCatch the Moon by Tale of Ekati
2Classic EmpireMark E. CasseJulien. R LeparouxSambuca Classica by Pioneer of the Nile
3GormleyJohn A. ShirreffsN/ARace to Urga by Malibu Moon
4IrapDoug F. O'NeilMario GutierrezSilken Cat by Tiznow
5Irish War CryH. Graham MotionRajiv MaraghIrish Sovereign by Curlin
6Thunder Snow (IRE)Saeed bin SuroorChristophe SoumillonEastern Joy by Helmet
7Always DreamingTodd A. PletcherJohn R. VelazquezAbove Perfection by Bodemeister
8GunneveraAntonio SanoJavier CastellanoUnbridled Rage by Dialed In
9Practical JokeChad C. BrownJoel RosarioHalo Humor by Into Mischief
10J Boys EchoDale L. RomansRobby AlbaradoLetgomyecho by Mineshaft
11State of HonorMark E. CasseJose LezcanoState Cup by To Honor and Serve
12TapwritTodd A. PletcherJose L. OrtizAppealing Zophie by Tapit
13HenceSteven M. AsmussenN/AConsequential by Mr. Prospector
14Fast and AccurateMichael J. MakerN/AIt's Heidi's Dance by Hansen
15McCrakenIan R. WilkesBrian Joseph Hernandez Jr.Change Water by Pretense
16Battle of MidwayJerry HollendorferFlavien PratPolly Lee by Midway Circle
17PatchTodd A. PletcherN/AWindyindy by Union Rags
18UntrappedSteven M. AsmussenN/AExit Three by Trappe Shot
19Lookin at LeeSteven M. AsmussenN/ALangara Lass by Lookin at Lucky
20SonneteerJ. Keith DesormeauxKent J. DesormeauxGay Sonnet by Soy Numero Uno
21Royal MoJohn A ShirreffsGary L. StevensRoyal Irish Lass by Uncle Mo
22Local HeroSteven M. AsmussenN/ALiam's Dream by Hard Spun
23Master PlanTodd A. PletcherN/APrincess Polly by Jet Master
24PetrovRon MoquettN/ASaracina by Flatter
KentuckyDerby.com, PedigreeQuery.com

The early favorites for the Kentucky Derby are Classic Empire and Always Dreaming, per OddsShark's Mike Dempsey.

Classic Empire has five wins in seven career races, including a victory at the Arkansas Derby on Apr. 15 and at the Breeders' Cup Juvenile race in November of last year. The colt is second on the Kentucky Derby leaderboard, with 132 points, and has strong bloodlines in Pioneerof the Nile, which finished second at the 2009 Kentucky Derby.

Always Dreaming has won his past two races, the most recent a breezy victory at the Grade 1 Florida Derby on April 1, a race that saw fellow Kentucky Derby hopeful Gunnevera finish third. Always Dreaming has little in the way of high-stakes racing experience, which apparently hasn't dampened bettors spirits, but HorseRacingNation.com's Brian Zipse warned against the horse's lack of experience.

"In the Florida Derby, his first attempt against good horses, he had a perfect trip and never faced adversity," Zipse said. "Unless he is even better than I think, he is sure to face serious adversity on Saturday. A little headstrong since arriving to Louisville, I wonder if he will be up to the test."

While those two are the early betting favorites, there is no major consensus like there has been for recent winners like American Pharoah in 2015 or Nyquist in 2016.

"I think it's as wide open as we've seen in a long time," trainer Dale Romans said, per the Los Angeles Times' John Cherwa.

Girvin may be the points leader, but his most recent wins have come in Grade 2 stakes. Gunnevera is more of a mixed bag, though he hasn't finished worse than fifth in a race and has a couple of runnings in Grade 1 events.

One of the less notable contenders from the expected 20-horse field could also have a breakthrough moment and surprise everyone. The large field and the race's status as a table-setter for the Triple Crown is a big reason why it's considered one of the most exciting, adrenaline-packed events in sports.

  

Race info courtesy of HorseRacingNation.com unless otherwise noted.

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