The 2017 Kentucky Derby is set to get underway on Saturday, May 6th at Churchill Downs. This is a Grade 1 stakes race for three-year-old thoroughbreds, and it’s held annually in Louisville, Kentucky. This is a 1 1/4-mile race that is known in the United States as “The Fastest Two Minutes in Sports” as well as the “Run for the Roses”.
It is the first leg of the Triple Crown, which is followed by the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes. The Kentucky Derby has been run every year since 1875, making this the 143rd running. The attendance at the event ranks first in North America and surpasses that of all the other stakes races, including the Breeders’ Cup.
Because of it’s popularity, the Kentucky Derby draws millions of fans and bettors around the world. I’m going to take a look at the wagering side of it and go through and give my predictions for this year’s race. I provide my Trifecta below, which is picking the 1-2-3 (win, place, show) finishers in the correct order. If you Box these horses together, they can finish 1-2-3 in any order, but it costs more.
**Note – I have picked three of the past five Kentucky Derby Winners with American Pharaoh (5/2) in 2015, Orb (7/2) in 2013, and I’ll Have Another (12/1) in 2012 with my ‘Win’ selections.
Classic Empire will be one of the favorites on race day, but that’s fine by me. He’s one of the top contenders for a reason. He most recently ran a great race in a win at the Arkansas Derby, scoring a 94 Beyer Speed Figure. Late last year he won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile race, which virtually ensures he will see a lot of action at the betting window Saturday. On top of that, he’s the half-brother of 2015 Triple Crown Winner, American Pharaoh.
I struggled between Classic Empire and Always Dreaming for my Win pick this year, and ultimately I may come to regret it. He has posted the fastest time of any other contenders at 1 1/8 miles (Florida Derby) and finishes as well as anyone else in the field. My hesitation with picking him to win overall has to do with temperament, which is a bit on the unpredictable side. I see him holding pace down the stretch and narrowly finishing in the second position.
Two impressive wins leading up to this year’s KY Derby lifted Girvin into third position in my rankings. With first place finishes at the Risen Star Stakes and the Louisiana Derby, Girvin slid into the top ranking in the derby standings. If you like him to win the race, jump on his futures odds at around 16-to-1 because he will likely end up as one of the favorites come post time. I’m not sold on his endurance throughout the entire race, however, he should hold on strong enough late to show.
Exacta Pick: Classic Empire – Always Dreaming
Trifecta Pick: Classic Empire – Always Dreaming – Girvin
If you are new to the Kentucky Derby, then you might want to check out my betting guide for beginners.