2017 Kentucky Derby Rundown

 

This Saturday sees the 143rd running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs and betting is already hotting up. Todd Pletcher’s Always Dreaming and Mark Casse’s Classic Empire are early favorites to win the Run for the Roses and emulate such recent greats as American Pharoah and California Chrome.

 

2017 kentucky derby

Kentucky Derby Breakdown

With the full starting gate now known, here is a look at some of the major contenders and why they are in with a shot of winning the $1.24million first place prize:

 

ALWAYS DREAMING
Todd Pletcher’s big hope raised his game last time when winning the Florida Derby easily by 5 lengths. Having beaten Derby hopefuls State Of Honor and Gunnevera in that race he seems to deserve his place at the top of the market. He needs to improve to win this, but that improvement is almost guaranteed and a rating of around 122 looks right to me.

 

CLASSIC EMPIRE
His win last time out over Conquest No Money (whose form ties in with Hence) was easier than it looked, but he will need to improve to win this. I can see him running to a very similar level to the one he did in last year’s Breeder’s Cup Juvenile, putting him in at around the 123 mark.

 

GIRVIN
The winner of the Louisiana Derby looks capable of reaching around 118 here and may have a chance of reaching the money at least.

 

HENCE
Steven Asmussen trains this son of Street Boss and he looks like a really hot long shot. Conquest No Money was easily beaten off last time in the Grade 3 Sunland Derby and that horse went on to run close to Classic Empire next time in the Arkansas Derby. It would not surprise me if he ran right up to a rating of around 124 here and his gate is encouraging.

 

IRISH WAR CRY
His chance in this race looked to be gone when he was heavily beaten in March at Gulfstream Park; however he came back with a bang at Aqueduct last time to win the Wood Memorial in fine style. He is certainly capable of reach a level of around 124 here but his gate is a big worry.

 

McCRAKEN
There’s a lot to be said for home field advantage, and this boy knows how to win around Churchill Downs! He needs a comeback though after his defeat behind Irap last time at Keeneland, so a rating of 119 would be good, just not good enough.

 

THUNDER SNOW
Owned by Sheikh Mohammed’s Godolphin operation, the winner of the UAE Derby was eventually confirmed as a goer here instead of contesting the English 2000 Guineas at Newmarket on the same day. Already a winner of over $1.6million in prize money, this colt seems to love life on the dirt and would appreciate a fast track. He rates at around the 120 level in terms of worldwide handicapping and has a good gate.

In conclusion then; Hence (win) may be the one to wear the roses this time. There is a lot more to come from this horse and it seems his prep has gone well. Irish War Cry (place) may have been the pick, but his wide gate in 17 is a major worry. He could lose time and ground getting to the inside to challenge. Of the two big hitters at the top of the market, Always Dreaming (show) has the better gate and could grab some valuable prize money.

 

Hence may go off at around 20/1 so could provide a huge payout for his supporters. Another long shot with a reasonable chance is the Dubai horse Thunder Snow, which may be around 14/1 or bigger come the big day.

 

Kentucky Derby Betting Guide

For those who need help on what to do when betting the Derby, here’s a quick guide:

 

WIN – This one speaks for itself; your chosen horse must win for you to get paid.
PLACE – To win this bet, your horse needs to finish in the first 2.
SHOW – This time, your horse must be in the top 3 to win the bet.

 

The payouts you receive will depend on the degree of difficulty, so naturally the highest payouts are on win bets, the second highest on place bets and, given that it is the easiest to get right, the lowest payouts are on show bets. If you want to spice things up a little when betting on the race however, you can go for something a little bit different.

 

If you really like the look of two or more horses in the race but can’t choose between them, an EXACTA bet may be for you. With an exacta you are basically predicting which horses will finish 1st and 2nd and, if you get right, leads to a higher payout. You do need to pick the first two in the right order though, so this is a difficult bet to get right. If you’re not so sure that you can predict the first two in order, you can also box your bet to give you a better chance. You will pay double the amount to do this, but it means that your chosen two horses can finish 1st or 2nd in any order.


If you fancy yourself as a real pro and an exacta just doesn’t do it for you, try a
TRIFECTA bet. With this bet (you guessed it) you need to pick the 1st, 2nd and 3rd horses in the right order. Again though, you can ‘box’ this bet and get paid out so long as your chosen horses finish in the first three, whatever the order. A SUPERFECTA is also available, concerning the first four, but is incredibly difficult to get right.

Why not have plays on Hence, Irish War Cry, Always Dreaming and Thunder Snow in a superfecta? Your payouts could be huge! Either way, the Kentucky Derby is so much more fun if you’ve bet the race, especially if you can’t be there to drink mint juleps and eat burgoo.

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