Kentucky Derby Picks 2017: Predictions and Odds for All Horses in the Lineup

David McCracken@crackemcFeatured 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

The 2017 Kentucky Derby is inching closer and closer to a reality, as 20 horses and jockeys will take the track at Churchill Downs this Saturday, May 6, for a chance to cement their new names in history.

Out of the 20 horses competing, only a handful are truly contenders. Now that post positions have been set, all that's left is the race is itself. Let's take a look at the field of competitors heading into the race with updated post positions, odds and predictions for each horse. 

2017 Kentucky Derby Post Positions, Odds
Post PositionHorseJockeyOddsPrediction
1Lookin At LeeCorey Lanerie+280011th
2Thunder SnowChristophe Soumillon+16008th
3Fast and AccurateChanning Hill+660019th
4UntrappedRicardo Santana Jr.+500017th
5Always DreamingJohn Velazquez+4004th
6State of HonorJose Lezcano+400018th
7GirvinMike Smith+16006th
8HenceFlorent Geroux+220010th
9IrapMario Gutierrez+250013th
10GunneveraJavier Castellano+12007th
11Battle of MidwayFlavien Prat+280014th
12SonneteerKent Desormeaux+330020th
13J Boys EchoLuis Saez+330012th
14Classic EmpireJulien Leparoux+4251st
15McCrakenBrian Hernandez Jr.+6502nd
16TapwritJose Ortiz+250015th
17Irish War CryRajiv Maragh+6503rd
18GormleyVictor Espinoza+16005th
19Practical JokeJoel Rosario+16009th
20PatchTyler Gaffalione+330016th
OddsShark

Don't take your eyes off Classic Empire 

LOUISVILLE, KY - MAY 03: Classic Empire with Martin Rivers gallops at Churchill Downs on May 03, 2017 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Alex Evers/Eclipse Sportswire/Getty Images)
Eclipse Sportswire/Getty Images

Barring some unforeseen circumstances, it would be a shock if Classic Empire doesn't enter the winner's circle Saturday, as he is the bonafide favorite heading into the 143rd edition of the Kentucky Derby.

Although Classic Empire will be starting at the 14th pole position, a position that has seen only two horses win the race, according to OddsShark, there isn't another horse out there that can beat him when he's at his best. 

Now fully healed from his foot abscess that slowed him down earlier this year, Classic Empire has the breakaway speed, strength and endurance to blow away his competition. And even if he falls behind, there aren't many horses in the world that has the ability to close the distance like he can.

Classic Empire showed in the Arkansas Derby last month that he is never out of the race, and jockeys from other horses in the field need to be wary of this otherwise they'll be left in the dust.  

Keep on Dreaming 

LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY - MAY 03: Always Dreaming, owned by Brooklyn Boyz Stables and trained by Todd Pletcher, exercises in preparation for the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 3, 2017 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Scott Serio/Eclipse Sportswir
Eclipse Sportswire/Getty Images

If there is a horse that can give Classic Empire a run for his money, Always Dreaming could easily be that contender.

With +400 odds (bet $100 to win $400), it's clear that OddsShark fancies the horse's chances in the race, and for good reason. After winning the 2017 Florida Derby with relative ease as he broke away from the field in the final lengths of the race, Always Dreaming is a legitimate threat to win it all.

But while he has the potential to put on a show, he has been inconsistent in the lead up to the race, particularly in practice sessions earlier this week, per Mike Welsch of Daily Racing Form. 

It could be that Always Dreaming just needs some time to adjust to the track at Churchill Downs, but it could also be that Always Dreaming might be a little tired from a busy April and extensive training. Only a couple days out from competition, don't be surprised to see Always Dreaming struggle if he can't get his legs under him before the race.

Wild card

LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY - MAY 01: McCraken, owned by Whitham Thoroughbreds LLC and trained by  Ian R. Wilkes, is walked after exercising in preparation for the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 1, 2017 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Douglas DeFeli
Eclipse Sportswire/Getty Images

McCraken has been turning heads all week during practice sessions and has seen his stock rise significantly over the past couple of days.

Steve Byk and Marcus Hersh from Daily Racing Form were both impressed with McCraken's performance during morning sessions going into Thursday, and with +650 odds, he might be a better's favorite on Saturday. 

Known for his ability to kill off a race and finish strong, McCraken is a real possibility to knock off Classic Empire and the other contenders in the Derby.

If he can build up a quick lead, the odds would quickly shift in his favor to take home first place and the $2 million purse.