The 143rd edition of the Kentucky Derby is upon us as some of the finest horses and jockeys in the world will compete at the famous Churchill Downs for their place in racing history this Saturday, May 6.
Twenty horses will compete for the $2 million purse, but only one will be declared the winner.
There is a wide field of contenders this year, but the horse that just won't go away is Classic Empire, who has the best odds to win across the board, according to Odds Shark. Coming off a dramatic win at the 2017 Arkansas Derby just a couple weeks ago, there might not be a horse with more momentum than Classic Empire.
But before we get into any more analysis, let's take a quick look at the latest odds for each horse in the 2017 Kentucky Derby.
|2017 Kentucky Derby|
|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 post draw will take place at 11 p.m. ET Wednesday morning, The draw will be broadcast on NBC Sports and is available to stream via the NBC Sports App. Full schedule details are available on the Kentucky Derby website.
Top Horses to Know
At +1000, McCraken has the fifth-best odds going into Wednesday's race, but while he may be polling very high at the moment, there haven't been many horses that have looked more prepared and ready to hit his stride over the past few days.
Per Daily Racing Form's Marcus Hersh, McCraken was all systems go in his training sessions.
There will be stiff competition from the upper echelon of contenders, but look for McCraken to be there until the end. Known for his knack for strong finishes, it wouldn't be a surprise to see him find his to the front of the pack.
And with experience at Churchill Downs (three wins), McCraken appears to be looking quite comfortable heading into Wednesday, per At The Races' Steve Byk.
There's a reason why Classic Empire is the odds-on favorite at Churchill Downs this year: He's quite simply the fastest horse on the track on any given day.
After a slow start to 2017, Classic Empire quieted his critics with an impressive—and equally dramatic—victory at the 2017 Arkansas Derby, leaving horse-racing fans and pundits in awe of his speed down the stretch.
His trainer, Mark E. Casse, was so impressed with his horse's workout prior to Wednesday's action that he wishes the race was taking place immediately, per BloodHorse's Erin Shea:
Now healthy after dealing with a foot abscess that resulted in his third-place finish at the Grade 2 Holy Bull Stakes earlier this year, Classic Empire is the horse to beat.
Irish War Cry
While Always Dreaming is another contender to keep your eye on, his unsteadiness and inconsistency on the track has been concerning, per Daily Racing Form's Mike Welsch.
Because of this uncertainty, look for Irish War Cry to be a name that comes up a lot in the days to come before the derby.
At +800, Irish War Cry has the third-best odds, according to Odds Shark, and his jockey Rajiv Maragh said that he has looked very calm and collected in preparation for the derby, per Claire Novak of BloodHorse:
"His workout was fantastic, he was in such a great flow and he did it well within himself. This horse is just such a fabulous horse to ride because he does anything you ask of him.
"The horse is a very settled horse, very quiet-mannered. He doesn't seem to get bothered by anything, really, so I would be really surprised if he was to have any ill effects from the big crowd or anything like that.
"He can do whatever he wants in the race, and I'm not even the least bit concerned that he's going to be manageable in the race. I'm totally confident he will be."
Look for Irish War Cry's stock to go up as the race inches closer and closer as the anticipation for this Saturday's race continues to mount.