The 2017 Kentucky Derby is approaching on the rails, with The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports taking place on Saturday, May 6.
Favourites have performed well in recent Kentucky Derby races, and Always Dreaming and Classic Empire will be heavily backed as punters study the form.
Talented horses have prevailed in the past few years, and the field is currently wide open with a strong line-up.
Here is a look at the early odds:
|2017 Kentucky Derby: Early Odds|
|Classic Empire||+400 (bet $100 to win $400)|
|Irish War Cry||+800|
|Conquest Mo Money||+2500|
|J Boys Echo||+2800|
|Lookin At Lee||+5000|
|State of Honor||+5000|
|Battle of Midway||+5000|
|Fast and Accurate||+6600|
The Run for the Roses has been dominated by the race-day favourite for five years, and a couple of horses have been given early backing as the world-famous derby takes place at Louisville's Churchill Downs.
The 143rd edition sees Classic Empire as the early favourite, with Always Dreaming marginally in his shadow.
Classic Empire initially struggled as a three-year-old, hampered by injury and a number of contradictory performances.
However, the 2016 champion juvenile has recently been back to his best and appears ready to edge the competition.
According to Bovada (h/t OddsShark.com), both colts reside at 5-1, equally vying for the public's affection.
Classic Empire's success at the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile was countered by a failure in the Holy Bull (G2) at Gulfstream Park, making punters think again about placing an early bet.
Always Dreaming was victorious in April's Florida Derby (G1) and will be controlled by irrepressible jockey John Velazquez at the Kentucky Derby.
The Triple Crown event always produces incredible excitement, and Irish War Cry could prevail if the joint-favourites fade early.
Much like Classic Empire, the horse has found new energy and form in recent weeks after initially winning the Holy Bull.
Gunnevera and McCraken provide value at 10-1, per Bovada, and the leading five horses could all step up to the plate on race day due to their versatility and range of talents.