Kentucky Derby 2017 Post Time: NBC TV Start Time, Final Predictions and More

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistMay 6, 2017

Horses leave the starting gate for the 142nd running of the Kentucky Derby horse race at Churchill Downs Saturday, May 7, 2016, in Louisville, Ky. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Julio Cortez/Associated Press

There are 20 top contenders in the field for the 2017 Kentucky Derby, but only one will end up with the roses at the end of the day.

Each horse entering the race has accomplished a lot to get to this point, with a few especially producing impressive results. However, none of that means anything once the starting gun goes off. A single stumble out of the gate or a poor run could push a favorite to the back of the line.

There are certain to be surprises, but here is what you need to know heading into "The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports." 


TV Info

When: Saturday, May 6


Broadcast Start Time: 4 p.m. ET

Kentucky Derby Post Time: 6:34 p.m. ET

2017 Kentucky Derby Field
1Lookin At LeeSteven AsmussenCorey Lanerie20-1
2Thunder SnowSaeed bin SuroorChristophe Soumillon20-1
3Fast and AccurateMichael MakerChanning Hill50-1
4UntrappedSteven AsmussenRicardo Santana Jr.30-1
5Always DreamingTodd PletcherJohn Velazquez5-1
6State of HonorMark CasseJose Lezcano30-1
7GirvinJoe SharpMike Smith15-1
8HenceSteven AsmussenFlorent Geroux15-1
9IrapDoug O'NeilMario Gutierrez20-1
10GunneveraAntonio SanoJavier Castellano15-1
11Battle of MidwayJerry HollanderFlavien Prat30-1
12SonneteerKeith DesormeauxKent Desormeaux50-1
13J Boys EchoDale RomansLuis Saez20-1
14Classic EmpireMark CasseJulien Leparoux4-1
15McCrakenIan WilkesBrian Hernandez Jr.5-1
16TapwritTodd PletcherJose Ortiz20-1
17Irish War CryGraham MotionRajiv Maragh6-1
18GormleyJohn ShirreffsVictor Espinoza15-1
19Practical JokeChad BrownJoel Rosario20-1
20PatchTodd PletcherTyler Gaffalione30-1



Show: Gunnevera

LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY - MAY 04: Gunnevera, owned by Peacock Stables, LLC and trained by Antonio Sano, exercises in preparation for the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 4, 2017 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Jon Durr/Eclipse Sportswire/Getty Ima
Eclipse Sportswire/Getty Images

If you want a mild sleeper in a deep field, look no further than Gunnevera.

Although a bit overlooked compared to those who are coming off bigger wins, Gunnevera is one of the most experienced horses in the race. He has made nine starts, six of them in graded events, coming out with four wins while never finishing worse than fifth.

The colt has wins at the Delta Downs Jackpot Stakes and the Fountain of Youth Stakes, plus a respectable third-place showing at the Florida Derby.

Meanwhile, the experience continues with jockey Javier Castellano. The veteran has been the Eclipse Award Outstanding Jockey for four years running, leading the sport in total earnings each year since 2013, per Equibase.

Although the top names in the race will likely pass him, Gunnevera has the talent, consistency and team around him necessary to finish in the money.


Place: Classic Empire

LOUISVILLE, KY - MAY 04:  Classic Empire trains on the track for the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 4, 2017 in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

Favorites have been on an impressive run lately, winning the last four of these races. Per ESPN Stats & Info, this has never happened five times in a row.

While the results of past races shouldn't have an impact on what happens Saturday, Classic Empire is far from a runaway favorite in this event.

He clearly has the best resume, with wins at the Arkansas Derby, Breeders' Cup Juvenile and Breeders' Futurity Stakes, all of which were Grade 1 events. The speed is enough to ensure he finishes at least in the top three regardless of what the rest of the field does.

However, he hasn't been quite as dominant as previous favorites and lost to Irish War Cry at the Holy Bull Stakes.

In a crowded field, any mistake can cost him the race.


Win: McCraken

LOUISVILLE, KY - MAY 04: McCraken trains on track prior to the 143rd Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 4, 2017 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

A race like this is primed for upsets, and McCraken has what it takes to surprise the field.

Like Classic Empire, McCraken has won all but a single race in his career, earning four wins. Three of those victories came at Churchill Downs, which should give him somewhat of a home-field advantage in the upcoming race.

Meanwhile, the one loss came at the Blue Grass Stakes, which was his first event back after dealing with an ankle injury.

Jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. also provided his thoughts on the third-place finish.

"All of his races prior to the Blue Grass, he always kind of just did what he wanted and beat up on horses," Hernandez explained, per Alicia Wincze Hughes of Blood Horse. "When he got beat, it kind of woke him up."

Third place in a Grade 2 race isn't too bad for a poor focused, slightly injured horse. With him healthy and at his true ability, McCraken should be a serious threat.

With the pedigree of Breeders' Cup Classic winner Ghostzapper, McCraken could be the surprise winner of this prestigious race.


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