The 2017 Kentucky Derby now has official post positions for every horse in the field after Wednesday's draw. Now comes the hard part: picking the winner of Saturday's signature at Churchill Downs.
Based on the updated odds for several viable contenders, this will be one of the toughest calls in the 143-year history of "The Run for the Roses." Before the 20 entries settle into their starting gates for the 6:46 p.m. ET scheduled race on May 6 (NBC), here's what you need to know about this year's Kentucky Derby favorites and the past results of the first leg of horse racing's Triple Crown.
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Post positions, morning line odds for 2017 Kentucky Derby
(Updated May 3)
1 Lookin at Lee 20-1
2 Thunder Snow 20-1
3 Fast and Accurate 50-1
4 Untrapped 30-1
5 Always Dreaming 5-1
6 State of Honor 30-1
7 Girvin 15-1
8 Hence 15-1
9 Irap 20-1
10 Gunnevera 15-1
11 Battle of Midway 30-1
12 Sonneteer 50-1
13 J Boys Echo 20-1
14 Classic Empire 4-1 (favorite)
15 McCraken 5-1
16 Tapwrit 20-1
17 Irish War Cry 6-1
18 Gormley 15-1
19 Practical Joke 20-1
20 Patch 30-1
AE Royal Mo 20-1
AE Master Plan 50-1
Favorites listed in bold. AE: Also entered.
Which 2017 Kentucky Derby contender has the best track record?
More than half the field (11 horses) is listed at either 15-1 or 20-1, making it tempting to go with a longer shot. But a group of four favorites has emerged, with Classic Empire edging out Always Dreaming for that early status. Right on their hooves, however, are two entries with "Darby" names, McCraken and Irish War Cry.
Classic Empire has won three of his past four races, including the 1 1/8-mile Arkansas Derby on April 15. He has great bloodlines, having been sired by Pioneerof the Nile, most notably the father of Triple Crown winner American Pharoah. McCraken has been on a similar run, with a good feel for Churchill Downs after he came back to win the Kentucky Jockey Club last November.
Always Dreaming has built momentum as the runaway winner of the Florida Derby on April 1. Irish War Cry has been boom-or-bust of late, rebounding to take the Wood Memorial on April 8 after fading hard to finish seventh in the Fountain of Youth on March 4.
If you're looking for some Gs at 15-1, Gunnevera would have the most upside, having shown well against Always Dreaming and Irish War Cry in those Gulfstream Park races, but Girvin has been the most consistent. Gormley may be too inconsistent to trust as a pick from those odds.
For now, the forecast in Louisville calls for rain both Friday and Saturday. That will be a big boost to McCraken, who has a good mudder's pedigree and the most track familiarity.