Kentucky Derby 2017: How do horses get into the race? Point system explained, prep race winners, and more
Kentucky Derby hopeful Always Dreaming works out under jockey John Velazquez at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., Friday, April 28, 2017. Always Dreaming is one of five colts eyeing the May 6th horse race from the barn of trainer Todd Pletcher. (AP Photo/Garry Jones)
The 143 running of the Kentucky Derby is set for just after 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, and it will feature (barring any late scratches) 20 3-year-olds going to the post for the $2 million guaranteed start to horse racing’s Triple Crown.
The Derby is just one of many stake races set for this weekend at famed Churchill Downs, though, as the Kentucky Oaks, for female horses, will be run on Friday as that card’s feature race.
The post position draw will be held later Wednesday to determine which starting spot each horse will have, and that could change the odds. As of Wednesday morning, though, Classic Empire is a small favorite over McCracken and Always Dreaming, with those horses sitting in the 4- or 5-to-1 range. After that, most horses are checking in at odds of 10-to-1 or greater, save for Gunnervera, who has been floating between 7- and 10-to-1 in the offshore markets.
Unsurprisingly, then, this year’s Derby is being considered wide-open by many pundits, even if the likely favorite, Classic Empire, is already known.
So how did we get to this point? How did Always Dreaming and the horses below and above the 3-year-old on the betting board get into one of the riches, and certainly the most prestigious, race in the game?
The run-up to the “Run for the Roses” actually began back in 2016.