Kentucky Derby 2017: Odds, Pedigree, Jockey Info for Favorites and More Horses

Scott PolacekFeatured ColumnistMay 4, 2017

LOUISVILLE, KY - MAY 03: Classic Empire, owned by John Oxley and trained by Mark E. Casse, with Martin Rivers aboard exercises in preparation for the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 03, 2017 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Alex Evers/Eclipse Sportswire/Getty Images)
Eclipse Sportswire/Getty Images

American Pharoah snapped a 37-year Triple Crown drought in 2015, and a deep field of 20 horses will strive to take the first step toward another one Saturday during the 143rd running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs.

Arkansas Derby winner Classic Empire and Always Dreaming are the favorites to join the list of legendary horses, but challengers such as McCraken and Irish War Cry have their eyes on the garland of roses as well.

With that in mind, here is a look at the odds and jockey information for all 20 horses (per Joe Osborne of OddsShark, as of Wednesday at 5 p.m. ET), as well as the pedigrees of the contenders.


Odds and Jockeys

1Lookin at LeeSteve AsmussenCorey Lanerie28-1
2Thunder SnowSaeed bin SuroorChristophe Soumillon16-1
3Fast and AccurateMike MakerChanning Hill66-1
4UntrappedSteve AsmussenRicardo Santana Jr.50-1
5Always DreamingTodd PletcherJohn Velazquez4-1
6State of HonorMark CasseJose Lezcano40-1
7GirvinJoe SharpMike Smith16-1
8HenceSteve AsmussenFlorent Geroux22-1
9IrapDoug O'NeillMario Gutierrez25-1
10GunneveraAntonio SanoJavier Castellano12-1
11Battle of MidwayJerry HollendorferFlavien Prat28-1
12SonneteerKeith DesormeauxKent Desormeaux33-1
13J Boys EchoDale RomansLuis Saez33-1
14Classic EmpireMark CasseJulien Leparoux4.25-1
15McCrakenIan WilkesBrian Hernandez Jr.6.5-1
16TapwritTodd PletcherJose Ortiz25-1
17Irish War CryGraham MotionRajiv Maragh6.5-1
18GormleyJohn ShirreffsVictor Espinoza16-1
19Practical JokeChad BrownJoel Rosario16-1
20PatchTodd PletcherTyler Gaffalione33-1



The listed pedigrees are from the Kentucky Derby's official website.

Lookin at LeeLookin At Lucky and Langara Lass
Thunder SnowHelmet and Eastern Joy
Fast and AccurateHansen and Heidi's Dance
UntrappedTrappe Shot
Always DreamingBodemeister and Above Perfection
State of HonorTo Honor and Serve
GirvinTale of Ekati
HenceStreet Boss and Floating Island
IrapTiznow and Silken Cat
GunneveraDialed In
Battle of MidwaySmart Strike and Rigoletta
SonneteerMidnight Lute and Ours
J Boys EchoMineshaft
Classic EmpirePioneerof the Nile
Irish War CryCurlin
GormleyMalibu Moon and Race to Urga
Practical JokeInto Mischief and Halo Humor
PatchUnion Rags


Jockey-and-Pedigree Combination to Target: Classic Empire

Garry Jones/Associated Press

There is plenty to like about Classic Empire if you are picking a winner that goes beyond his pedigree and jockey Julien R. Leparoux.

Classic Empire thrived as a juvenile with wins at the Breeders' Futurity and Breeders' Cup Juvenile and then captured the Arkansas Derby in impressive fashion. The win in Arkansas was especially important because it came after a third-place finish at the Holy Bull Stakes.

According to the Kentucky Derby's official website, Classic Empire finished third largely due to a foot abscess and then dealt with back issues in the aftermath. The Arkansas Derby victory proved he is ready to race at the highest level, and the resurgence will continue at the Kentucky Derby.

He also received what Dan Wolken of USA Today called an "ideal post position" with the No. 14 gate and doesn't have to worry about getting pinned on the inside.

While all of that serves as encouragement for those supporting Classic Empire, his pedigree does as well. His sire, Pioneerof the Nile, was also the sire of American Pharoah. American Pharoah thrilled the horse-racing world with a dominant Triple Crown performance just two years ago, so high-stakes victory is certainly in Classic Empire's blood.

What's more, Leparoux boasts a formidable resume and will not be intimidated by the pressure of the Kentucky Derby.

The Kentucky Derby's official website noted he won the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Jockey in 2009 with 21 notable stake-race victories. He also counts six wins at the Breeders' Cup World Championships and will look to add to his impressive career atop one of the best horses in the field Saturday.