Gary | Mon 24/04/2017 - 12:02 EDT

Kentucky Derby Favorites

Run For The Roses Race Favorites 

By Brent Sedo

During spring's Kentucky Derby prep season, it seemed that every week another colt emerged as a prohibitive favorite, only to raise questions next time out by running a less impressive race. In fact, one of the best three-year-old horses this year, people will argue, won't even be running in the race, as California-based Mastery dominated in his first four career starts - all wins - and was looking like a lock to be the Derby favorite until an injury in the San Felipe Stakes in March ended his bid.

There are still a handful of horses in the 20-horse field that stand out from the rest, and with a fairly wide open field, they should go off at a decent price for the win, and need to be considered as a part of any exacta, trifecta and superfecta bets. Here's a look at a trio of the top choices with projected odds, race records and why they can win. 

5/1 Classic Empire (7 starts, 5 wins, 1 third)

Why he can win: Purchased for $475,000 as a yearling, he was marked for greatness since setting foot on the track.

He won his first two lifetime starts, dumped his rider in his third but came back from that to win the (G1) Breeders' Futurity. He then won the 2016 Breeders' Cup Juvenile to claim 2-year-old Horse of the Year honors.

He got off to a slow 2017, finishing third in the (G2) Holy Bull Stakes. He then suffered an injury and endured training issues (basically refusing to train) that left many wondering exactly what kind of a horse he was.

But he rebounded nicely to win the (G1) Arkansas Derby over a handful of others that will be in the Derby field. If he can stay focused on the task at hand, natural talent alone makes him a serious contender. His sire, Pioneerof the Nile, finished second in the 2009 Derby.

6/1 Always Dreaming (5 starts, 3 wins, 1 second, 1 third)

Why he can win: In sharp contrast to Classic Empire, this Todd Pletcher trainee can be considered something of a late bloomer. It took three starts on three different tracks to get his first win.

Since then, he has won three straight, the most recent being the (G1) Florida Derby, where he cruised to a five-length victory over State Of Honor and Gunnevera, both of whom are in the Kentucky Derby field.

He's loaded with speed and appears to be peaking at just the right time, making him a dangerous threat. His sire, Bodemeister, finished second in both the Derby and Preakness Stakes in 2012.

8/1 Irish War Cry (5 starts, 4 wins)

Why he can win: After starting his career in something of the minor leagues at Laurel Park, where he won his first two starts, he stepped up to the graded-stakes level and pulled a mild upset going wire-to-wire to win the (G2) Holy Bull Stakes over both Gunnevera and Classic Empire.

That was a fairly slow race, and looked like a fluke when he next ran seventh in the (G2) Fountain of Youth. He proved his doubters wrong, however, by winning the (G2) Wood Memorial in his final Kentucky Derby prep. Looking like a true pro, he relaxed early to stalk a fast pace and then took command, kicking away in the last 1/8 mile to win by more than three lengths over Derby starter Battalion Runner.

A repeat of that performance would make a winner's circle appearance a strong possibility. His sire, Curlin, was a two-time Horse of the Year who won the 2007 Breeders' Cup Classic and 2007 Belmont Stakes.      

Category : Sports Betting News

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