The 143rd edition of the Kentucky Derby might be one of the tightest editions of the race in recent years.
In 2016, there was no doubt that Nyquist would blaze through the competition, but this year's field of 20 horses is different. Classic Empire has the best odds heading into Saturday at +425, but that won't stop bettors putting their life savings on Always Dreaming, who the odds-on favorite just a day ago, currently at +450.
The Kentucky Derby never disappoints, and horse racing fans are in for a real treat on Saturday at Churchill Downs. But before the race begins, here's all the viewing information you'll need to know ahead of time to watch the Derby.
2017 Kentucky Derby Info
Post Time: Saturday, May 6 at 6:34 p.m. ET
Live Stream: NBC Sports Live
|2017 Kentucky Derby|
|1||Lookin At Lee||Corey Lanerie||Steve Asmussen||+3300|
|2||Thunder Snow||Christophe Soumillon||Saeed bin Suroor||+1800|
|3||Fast and Accurate||Channing Hill||Mike Maker||+6600|
|4||Untrapped||Ricardo Santana Jr.||Steve Asmussen||+5000|
|5||Always Dreaming||John Velazquez||Todd Pletcher||+450|
|6||State of Honor||Jose Lezcano||Mark Casse||+3300|
|7||Girvin||Mike Smith||Joe Sharp||+1600|
|8||Hence||Florent Geroux||Steve Asmussen||+1600|
|9||Irap||Mario Gutierrez||Doug O’Neill||+1800|
|10||Gunnevera||Javier Castellano||Antonio Sano||+1200|
|11||Battle of Midway||Flavien Prat||Jerry Hollendorfer||+2000|
|12||Sonneteer||Kent Desormeaux||Keith Desormeaux||+4000|
|13||J Boys Echo||Luis Saez||Dale Romans||+2800|
|14||Classic Empire||Julien Leparoux||Mark Casse||+425|
|15||McCraken||Brian Hernandez Jr.||Ian Wilkes||+600|
|16||Tapwrit||Jose Ortiz||Todd Pletcher||+2800|
|17||Irish War Cry||Rajiv Maragh||Graham Motion||+600|
|18||Gormley||Victor Espinoza||John Shirreffs||+1800|
|19||Practical Joke||Joel Rosario||Chad Brown||+2500|
|20||Patch||Tyler Gaffalione||Todd Pletcher||+3300|
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Despite how good Classic Empire is when healthy, he is not a clear favorite to win on Saturday. That has nothing to do with his ability—it just goes to show how stiff some of this year's competition is.
Aside from himself and Always Dreaming, there are four other legitimate horses who could raise some eyebrows on Saturday during the most exciting two minutes in sports.
Either McCraken, Irish War Cry, Gunnevera and Thunder Snow could wind up in the winner's circle. In the lead-up to this race, these horses have stood out in practice sessions, impressing onlookers with their respective gallops around the track.
Mike Watchmaker of Daily Racing Form even picked Irish War Cry to upset Classic Empire and Always Dreaming in the Run for the Roses.
Mike Watchmaker @DRFWatchmaker
I’m picking Irish War Cry. I’m not concerned post 17 is 0 for 38. Post 16 is 4 for 45, post 15 is 5 for 55, so it’s a statistical anomaly.2017-5-3 16:17:44
Thunder Snow is clearly on the outside looking in with +1800 odds, but he might be a smart side bet for anyone willing to put some money down on a low-risk, high-reward bet.
It's hard not to root for Thunder Snow and it's not just because of his underdog status. After spending 42 hours in quarantine ahead of the race, he was able to get out and gallop on the track.
Clearly, he's trying to take in the week and enjoy every moment of it, per Barbara Livingston of Daily Racing Form.
Barbara Livingston @DRFLivingston
THUNDER SNOW sure looked happy to be out of quarantine and on-track....and, despite this photo, he's a very handsome colt! #kentuckyderby https://t.co/LNA4SkzASv2017-5-3 00:10:33
There has been a lot of attention on McCraken and Irish War Cry over the past couple of days, and for good reason. But one name that just won't go away is Gunnevera, who everyone in horse racing knows is capable of winning it all, but for some reason he has flown under the radar this past week.
Even his owner, Solomon Del-Valle, has faith that Gunnevera will shock the field, per Lenny Shulman of Blood Horse.
"Gunnevera is going to be different," Del-Valle said, "because he is going to win all three in the Triple Crown."
Not only does Del-Valle believe he'll win on Saturday, but he thinks that Gunnevera can make history.