Wide Open Field for Kentucky Derby Provides Upset Possibilities

Posted on: May 5, 2017, 05:00h. 

Last updated on: May 5, 2017, 10:48h.

For the first time in several years, the Kentucky Derby doesn’t have a horse as a consensus pick. Many experts believe several entrants could win the first leg of the Triple Crown, Saturday.

Kentucky Derby
Though Classic Empire is the favorite at 4-1, experts believe that several other horses could capture Saturday’s Kentucky Derby. (Image: Coady Photography)

Classic Empire has the lowest odds at 4-1, but two other horses, Always Dreaming and McCraken are at 5-1 and it wouldn’t surprise many if either one was victorious. Irish War Cry is right behind them at 6-1.

“It’s as wide open as we’ve seen in a long time,” Trainer Dale Romans told the Las Vegas Sun. “You’re going to have some big odds on whoever the favorite is. It could be any horse this race. I don’t think this really means it’s a bad group of horses, I think it’s an even group of horses.”

Favorite for a Reason

With precipitation in the forecast, Classic Empire has an advantage according to odds makers because the horse won his maiden race on a sloppy track. There isn’t supposed to be a lot of rain, but enough to make the track heavy and keep the pace slow.

The 3-year-old also has an impressive past performance that made him the top pick. He won the Arkansas Derby in April and took two Breeders Cup contests in October and November.

One interesting note, however, Irish War Cry defeated the top pick when the two met in February. He will be in the No. 17 position, while Classic Empire will be 14th. McCracken is at No. 15.

One long shot several experts like is Gunnevera. The horse goes off at 15-1 and finished second in the February race that Classic Empire was third in. He is also rated well on sloppy tracks.

Interesting Tidbits

The favorite has won the Run for the Roses the past four years, but the last time there were five consecutive top choices in the winner’s circle was 1895.

Getting the No. 1 post position is not good luck. The last time a horse won from the rail was Ferdinand in 1986. Looking at Lee gets that lane assignment and ironically his sire, Looking at Lucky got the same spot in 2010 and finished sixth.

Patch, who has the final position at No. 20, has only one eye, but isn’t the first horse to have such a condition. Pollard’s Vision in 2004 and Cassaleria in 1982 also were missing an eye and neither won.