Kentucky Derby 2017 Contenders: Odds, Jockey and Pedigree Info for Top Favorites

Michelle Bruton@@michelle_nflFeatured ColumnistMay 4, 2017

LOUISVILLE, KY - MAY 03: Mccraken gallops 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

Whether you're a casual observer who loves mint juleps and big hats or a hardcore bettor looking to win big, the Kentucky Derby has something for everyone.

This year, the "Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports" features an even field of horses, which should make for even more excitement...and possibly even more heartbreak if you don't place your bets properly.

Luckily, we have all the information you need on the favorites heading into Saturday's race, including odds, jockey info and the horses' pedigrees.

Moreover, we'll take a look at some trends that should also help you place your bets, big or small, courtesy of OddsShark.

First, let's take a look at all the horses in this year's field following the results of Wednesday's post position draw: 

Kentucky Derby Odds, Jockey and Pedigree Info
1Lookin at LeeSteve AsmussenCorey Lanerie
2Thunder SnowSaeed bin SuroorChristophe Soumillon
3Fast and AccurateMike MakerChanning Hill
4UntrappedSteve AsmussenRicardo Santana Jr.
5Always DreamingTodd PletcherJohn Velazquez
6State of HonorMark CasseJose Lezcano
7GirvinJoe SharpMike Smith
8HenceSteve AsmussenFlorent Geroux
9IrapDoug O'NeillMario Gutierrez
10GunneveraAntonio SanoJavier Castellano
11Battle of MidwayJerry HollendorferFlavien Prat
12SonneteerKeith DesormeauxKent Desormeaux
13J Boys EchoDale RomansLuis Saez
14Classic EmpireMark CasseJulien Leparoux
15McCrakenIan WilkesBrian Hernandez
16TapwritTodd PletcherJose Ortiz
17Irish War CryGraham MotionRajiv Maragh
18GormleyJohn ShirreffsVictor Espinoza
19Practical JokeChad BrownJoel Rosario
20PatchTodd PletcherTyler Gaffalione

Top Favorites

Classic Empire

Odds: 4-1

Jockey: Julien Leparoux

Pedigree: Sambuca Classica by Pioneer of the Nile

Classic Empire faced some adversity heading into the Kentucky Derby, but now he finds himself at 4-1 odds and an early favorite to win the rose garland on Saturday.

Things were looking good for the colt at the end of 2016, when he won both the Breeders’ Futurity and the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. 

However, after he placed third in the Holy Bull Stakes on February 4, it was discovered that he had a foot abcess. According to the Derby website, "coupled with back issues and disrupted training sessions, Classic Empire’s recovery took longer than expected."

However, Classic Empire surged back to take first place in the Arkansas Derby, and he's looking hot heading into the first leg of the Triple Crown.


Always Dreaming

Odds: 5-1

Jockey: John Velazquez

Pedigree: Above Perfection by Bodemeister

Always Dreaming is trained by Todd Pletcher, who is no stranger to the Run for the Roses. This year alone, Pletcher has three horses in the field of 20 in Always Dreaming, Tapwrit and Patch.

Always Dreaming is by far Pletcher's best chance of winning this year and improving his record in the race, which is only 1-for-45, according to Mike Dempsey of OddsShark.

One reason Always Dreaming is such a big favorite this year is his success in his preps. He comes into Churchill Downs having won his last three races, including the Florida Derby.

And, according to Dempsey, "over the past 15 years the Florida Derby has been the most productive with four Derby winners, followed by the Santa Anita Derby and Arkansas Derby with three each."

The Kentucky-bred colt is from the first crop of Bodemeister, whom Derby buffs will remember was the runner-up to I'll Have Another in the 2012 running of the race. His dam is Above Perfection. 



Odds: 5-1

Jockey: Brian Joseph Hernandez Jr.

Pedigree: Change Water by Pretense

McCraken had won four races in a row before finishing in a disappointing third place in his final race before the Kentucky Derby, the Blue Grass Stakes.

The colt's dip in performance was the result of an ankle injury he suffered in training on February 28, and which his trainer, Ian Wilkes, described as "very minor," per

The loss doesn't bode well for McCraken as far as trends go; according to Dempsey, "the last six Derby winners all won their final prep." The last time a horse did not win his final prep and went on to win the Kentucky Derby was Super Saver in 2010.

So the trend is certainly not prohibitive, and indeed, the oddsmakers still seem to like McCraken's chances despite his slip in the Blue Grass Stakes. 


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