Kentucky Derby 2017 Lineup: Post Positions for All Entries of 143rd Race

Steve Silverman@@profootballboyFeatured ColumnistMay 3, 2017

McCraken hopes to have a big effort in Saturday's Kentucky Derby.
McCraken hopes to have a big effort in Saturday's Kentucky Derby.Associated Press

The countdown is officially on for the Kentucky Derby as post positions have been drawn, and trainers and jockeys are now able to figure out strategies that can lead to the winner's circle.

The first Saturday in May is often the most anticipated day of the year in the Sport of Kings, and this year's Kentucky Derby should be no different. A full field of 20 horses will go to the post at Churchill Downs Saturday evening.

2017 Kentucky Derby Details

Where: Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky

Post Time: Saturday, May 6, at 6:34 p.m. ET

Watch: NBC

Live StreamNBC Sports Live

TicketsScoreBig.com

2017 Kentucky Derby Post Positions and Odds
Post PositionHorseJockeyTrainerOdds
1Lookin At LeeCorey LanerieSteve Asmussen28-1
2Thunder SnowChristophe SoumillonSaeed bin Suroor16-1
3Fast and AccurateChanning HillMike Maker66-1
4UntrappedRicardo Santana Jr.Steve Asmussen50-1
5Always DreamingJohn VelazquezTodd Pletcher4-1
6State of HonorJose LezcanoMark Casse40-1
7GirvinMike SmithJoe Sharp16-1
8HenceFlorent GerouxSteve Asmussen22-1
9IrapMario GutierrezDoug O’Neill25-1
10GunneveraJavier CastellanoAntonio Sano12-1
11Battle of MidwayFlavien PratJerry Hollendorfer28-1
12SonneteerKent DesormeauxKeith Desormeaux33-1
13J Boys EchoLuis SaezDale Romans33-1
14Classic EmpireJulien LeparouxMark Casse19-4
15McCrakenBrian Hernandez Jr.Ian Wilkes13-2
16TapwritJose OrtizTodd Pletcher25-1
17Irish War CryRajiv MaraghGraham Motion13-2
18GormleyVictor EspinozaJohn Shirreffs16-1
19Practical JokeJoel RosarioChad Brown16-1
20PatchTyler GaffalioneTodd Pletcher33-1
OddsShark

While horses like Always Dreaming and Classic Empire are favored, there is an excellent chance that a long shot can win the race. 

This race at Churchill Downs is not necessarily about the most talented runner winning; the crowded field means tactics will play at least as important a role as speed.

Veteran jockeys have to use all their knowledge and experience to avoid the pitfalls of getting boxed in or being caught way outside if they are going to have a legitimate chance of winning.

McCraken is not a long shot at plus-650 (per Odds Shark, which translates to 13-2 in traditional horse-racing odds), but he should have an excellent chance to put his imprint on the race.

McCraken has performed extremely well at Churchill Downs, winning all three of his starts over the course. His running style seems to suit the 1 ¼-mile race as he enjoys coming from off the pace and turning it on down the stretch.

The horse will start out of the No. 15 position, and he is trained by Ian Wilkes and ridden by Brian Hernandez Jr.

McCraken is the feisty sort, according to owner Clay Whitham. 

"He came out of nowhere," Whitham told Terry Frei of the Denver Post. "He really has an interesting personality. He is very much full of himself. He feels like he must be a champion. He's a lot of fun to be around and he's a challenge for his trainer and his groom."

Irish War Cry
Irish War CryMichael Reaves/Getty Images

Irish War Cry will go postward with the same 13-2 odds as McCraken, and this horse opened a lot of eyes when he started his career by winning three races in a row.

While that streak came to an end, Irish War Cry won the Wood Memorial with Graham Motion as his trainer and Rajiv Maragh in the saddle. 

He will start from the No. 17 hole.

J Boys Echo is a true long shot with odds of 33-1, but he is the son of Mineshaft and that means he should be able to handle the Derby distance. 

He is trained by Dale Romans, and he was well-prepared and strong in the Gotham when he had an excellent trip on the rail for victory.

J Boys Echo is a competitive horse who has been training well and has impressed handicappers like Steve Haskin of the Blood-Horse. He is favorably positioned out of the 13th hole.

Practical Joke starts out of the 19th hole, and that means he must have a sharp start or he could easily get shuffled back in the field.

Trained by Chad Brown and ridden by Joel Rosario, Practical Joke has failed to win in his last three starts, and that explains why he is no better than a 16-1 shot at this point.

However, he won two important races as a two-year-old in the Champagne and the Hopeful, so he has shown he can run with quality horses.