Derby 2017: 5 Horses to Watch in 143rd Kentucky Derby

Derby 2017: 5 Horses to Watch in 143rd Kentucky Derby

Always Dreaming remains the favorite at 5/2, while Irap is listed behind McCraken at 11/2 to win the Kentucky Derby.

The Kentucky Derby goes down Saturday at Churchill Downs and the prospect of that has racing fans everywhere brimming with excitement, checking odds and making picks. Only two of its last 29 winners have had their final tune-up for the Run for the Roses less than three weeks before winning North America's most famous horse race.

We'll discuss both the Oaks and Derby in detail, as well as review the undercard races for both days. In the 2015 listing of the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA), the Kentucky Derby tied with the Whitney Handicap as the top Grade 1 race in the United States outside of the Breeders' Cup races.

Classic Empire is the son of Pioneer of the Nile. Rather than wonder what if those other times, the jockey sometimes referred to as "Patient Pat" is thankful for having multiple opportunities to win the sport's marquee race.

He rebounded to win the Arkansas Derby last month to bolster his stock, but it wasn't his best overall effort.

He is lightly raced, which is a concern, but if there's one thing he's learned over the past year, don't count out Patch. Super Saver got him off the schneid in 2010, but Pletcher's only other in-the-money finishers were Impeachment (third, 2000), Invisible Ink (second, 2001), Bluegrass Cat (second, 2006), Revolutionary (third, 2013) and Danza (third, 2014).

Live harness racing at Hoosier Park will start at its regularly scheduled post time of 6:30 p.m. on Friday, May 5 with a special, adjusted post time of 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 6.

Mccracken and Always Dreaming are co-second choices at 5-1.

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With that being said, I find myself attracted to this colt primarily due to his pedigree.

With nine career races, he's one of the most experienced in the field and I do think that's an asset.

Of course we do it for every horse in the field - as well as explaining why you can't possibly cash a ticket betting that horse. But, while the glitz and glamor of the event will be on full display, horse racing has a darker side in its history of catastrophic injuries and death to the animals involved.

In this photo provided by Coglianese Photos, Rajiv Maragh rides Irish War Cry to victory in the Wood Memorial horse race at Aqueduct Racetrack in NY. Yet for his 45 career starters, Pletcher has never had a Derby favorite. His sire, Lookin At Lucky, had the same spot in 2010. "There are a lot of horses that take longer to get them to do what you want them to do, and he is one of those". He waited 21 years to get back to Churchill Downs finishing 9th a year ago.

"He's a remarkable horse to lose his left eye in the middle of last summer and recover as quickly as he did", said Pletcher.

"I'm not saying that I think I'm going to win the Derby, but I definitely wouldn't trade places with anybody", Sharp said.

While winning one of the most hyped races of the prep calendar is always going to move a horse to the forefront of the Derby conversation, not everybody was impressed.