Kentucky Derby 2017 odds: Who are the favorites to win the Run for the Roses?
In this Nov. 5, 2016, file photo, Julien Leparoux, center, celebrates aboard Classic Empire after winning the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile horse race at Santa Anita in Arcadia, Calif. Classic Empire is likely to be the wagering favorite for the 143rd Kentucky Derby on May 6, 2017. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File)
While it can be fun dreaming up a scenario of betting on a longshot and hitting, it’s far more likely that one of the favorites will be crowned the 2017 Kentucky Derby champion. The 143rd running of the race is slated for Saturday, May, 6 at Churchill Downs with a post time of 6:34 p.m. On Wednesday, the post positions for all 20 horses were drawn and the initial morning lines were set.
Before we dive into the favorites, it’s a good idea to look back at the history of the Kentucky Derby to see just how well favorites have fared. In the past four years, they’ve lived up to the hype. Since 2013 when Orb won as a co-favorite, each of the favorites has won the fastest two minutes in sports. California Chrome, a 5-2 favorite in 2014, was victorious. The same went for American Pharoah, a 5-2 favorite in 2015. And in 2016, 2-1 favorite Nyquist, was the fastest horse. It’s the first time four straight favorites have won since 1972-75, according to oddshark.
In this May 2, 2015 file photo, jockey Victor Espinoza celebrates aboard American Pharoah after winning the 141st running of the Kentucky Derby horse race at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky. The 143rd Kentucky Derby is one of the most wide open in years. There’s no “it” horse like last year’s winner Nyquist or American Pharoah in 2015 or California Chrome in 2014. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)
While favorites have enjoyed a recent run of success, that isn’t to say it’s always been that way. In fact, from 1980-99, not a single favorite won the Kentucky Derby. So perhaps after the string of four straight, Churchill Downs is due for a longshot. We’ll find out Saturday evening, but until then, read on for a look at the favorites in this year’s race.