Always Dreaming came into the 2017 Kentucky Derby as the co-betting favorite and lived up to his hype by winning the race by more than two lengths over Lookin At Lee.
The Kentucky Derby win capped off a meteoric rise to stardom for Always Dreaming, who was ridden by John Velazquez. The horse didn't run in a stakes race until April 1 when he won the Florida Derby over heavy hitters like State Of Honor and Gunnevera.
NBC Sports @NBCSports
Watch 'Always Dreaming' win the 143rd running of the @KentuckyDerby! #KentuckyDerby #DerbyDay https://t.co/GA3YppZLRY2017-5-6 23:00:59
Here is the full payout information for the 2017 Kentucky Derby:
|2017 Kentucky Derby Payout Information|
|Lookin At Lee||-||$26.60||$15.20|
|Battle of Midway||-||-||$20.80|
|$2 Exacta (5-1)||$1 Trifecta (5-1-11)||$1 Superfecta (5-1-11-14)|
|2017 Kentucky Derby Purse (Approx. $2 Million)|
|1||Always Dreaming||Brooklyn Boyz Stable, MeB Racing, Teresa Viola Racing, St. Elias Stables and West Point Thoroughbreds||John R. Velazquez||$1,240,000|
|2||Lookin At Lee||L and N Racing||Corey Lanerie||$400,000|
|3||Battle of Midway||Don Alberto Stable and WinStar Farm||Flavien Prat||$200,000|
|4||Classic Empire||John C. Oxley||Julien R. Leparoux||$100,000|
|5||Practical Joke||Joel Rosario||Chad Brown||$60,000|
Being the betting favorite at the Kentucky Derby has been great in recent years, per SportsCenter:
The favorite wins again for the 5th straight year. Always Dreaming wins the Kentucky Derby!2017-5-6 22:57:21
Thanks to the win, Always Dreaming earned $1.24 million for his ownership group. ESPN's Darren Rovell noted this is an excellent return on investment based on what he was bought for:
Darren Rovell @darrenrovell
Derby winner Always Dreaming collects $1.24 million. Horse was bought for $350,000 in Sept. 2015.2017-5-6 22:55:09
Always Dreaming overcame a sloppy track at Churchill Downs to claim his greatest victory. Rain over the past two days covered the track in Louisville, though the clouds did part before Saturday's race to offer some traction for the competitors.
The key to success in this year's Kentucky Derby, per PaulickReport.com's Ray Paulick, was to get close to the rail:
Ray Paulick @raypaulick
#KentuckyDerby 1-2 finishers Always Dreaming & Lookin At Lee hugged rail most of the way. Incredible ride by @coreylanerie to get 2nd2017-5-6 23:43:05
Always Dreaming and Lookin At Lee were able to stay near the rail throughout the race because that's where they started. Lookin At Lee drew the first post position, while Always Dreaming opened at the fifth gate.
Even though Always Dreaming won the race as the favorite, this was a good day for bettors to collect. Runner-up Lookin At Lee and third-place finisher Battle Of Midway were not high on the list of favorites.
Per OddsShark, Lookin At Lee and Battle Of Midway were each given 25-1 odds. Battle Of Midway had a better resume to pull off a surprise at the Kentucky Derby. He finished second at the Santa Anita Derby in April.
Lookin At Lee went winless in each of his last six races coming into the Kentucky Derby. He hadn't even finished second in a race since the Breeders' Futurity Stakes last October.
R.J. Bell of Las Vegas Pregame noted that drawing the first position has been a bad spot for success in the Kentucky Derby:
RJ Bell @RJinVegas
Thinking about betting LOOKIN AT LEE today from the #1 post? Since 1964, only ONE #kentuckyderby winner started on the rail (h/t @FredFaour)2017-5-6 18:11:28
Jockey Corey Lanerie does not have an extensive resume at the Kentucky Derby. His first attempt in the race last year atop Mo Tom, who finished eighth. He put together a tremendous effort to get Lookin At Lee into contention, despite ultimately coming up just short.
Always Dreaming has made himself into a star in the sport over the last four weeks. This was the longest race of his career at 1.25 miles and showed no signs of fatigue coming down the stretch.
There are two weeks until the Preakness Stakes on May 20, but based on the results, Always Dreaming will roll into Baltimore as a heavy favorite to take the second leg of the Triple Crown.