The 2017 Kentucky Derby will be the 143rd running of the Kentucky Derby. The race is a Grade I stakes race for three-year-old thoroughbreds at a distance of 1 1⁄4 miles (10 Furlongs). We have a passion for Thoroughbred Racing and enjoy sharing our knowledge to the community. Below you will find what we have dug up on this 20 horse field and hopefully educate you enough for a chance to win some BIG BUCKS!! Good luck to everybody and enjoy the analysis.
The Derby is great, because for these horses not one has raced further than 1 1/8 (9 Furlongs) in their career. Today we have 20 horses that have entered and only 1 will be crowned victorious. In this analysis we will be providing you with all kinds of different material from horse stats, to jockey stats, to trainer stats, and more. Our goal is to provide you with a quality analysis so that you can make the best educated bets this weekend, and get rich!! So lets get started.
This chart below tells you the average time per distance a horse should run. The chart provides a great benchmark on where horses need to finish. I like comparing these times to what the horses have ran in the past. You can find that information at equibase.com or horseracingnation.com
So based on this chart, on a clear day, you can expect the winning horse to finish the Kentucky Derby around 2:04. To put that into perspective the 2015 Triple Crown Winner American Pharoah finished the Kentucky Derby in 2:03.
Next lets start with some Jockey stats. The jockeys that are only racing in the Kentucky Derby Race (Race 12) are Kent Desormeaux (riding 50-1 Sonneteer PP#12) , Rajiv Maragh (riding 6-1 Irish War Cry PP#17), and Christophe Soumillon (riding Thunder Snow 20-1 PP#2).
Desormeaux has the most KD races under his belt in the field today. Haven raced in 11 KDs since 2004, Desormeaux, has Win, Placed, & Showed in 4 of them. During that time Kent has won 1 KD with Big Brown, a Florida Derby winner, back in 2008 who had a Pole Position of #20. Most of Kent’s KD races PP have been on the outside, he has Sonneteer at PP#12 this weekend.
The jockey with the most experience at Churchill Downs this year is Corey Lanerie. Lanerie will be riding 20-1 odd Lookin At Lee for the first time and will be starting at PP#1. Post Position #1 is a bad post because the horse gets essential pinned in, especially in longer races where the first turn is further away. Below is a chart sorted by Post Positions that shows you how many times each Post Position finished 1-4 since 2004. So as you can see since 2004 there has been 1 horse that has placed 1-4 when starting at the #1 Post Position at the Kentucky Derby.
Here is Post Positions 1-10:
Post Positions 11-20:
However, if you read the charts and study the film on Looking At Lee he likes to start from behind then turns it up on the final stretch. If Lanerie can jockey him just right expect Looking At Lee to be a Late Runner in today’s race. One last thing to note is that Lanerie is also racing in 7 of the 12 races before the actual Derby.
Below is a chart representing the Top 10 highest winnings by jockey so far in 2017 along with the horse they will be riding and what the PP Odds are.
Jockeys get moved around a lot from horse to horse and there are jockeys competing in the KD that will be racing with that horse for the first time. Below is a list of those jockeys that are racing a horse for the first time.
Corey Lanerie – Lookin At Lee – 20/1 – PP#1
Jose Lezcano – State of Honor – 30/1 – PP#6
Mike E Smith – Girvin – 15/1 – PP#7
Florent Geroux – Hence – 15/1 – PP#8
Luis Saez – J Boys Echo – 20/1 – PP#13
Now here is a list of jockeys that have been racing with the same horse in at least the last 3 races
Christophe Soumillon – Thunder Snow (IRE) – 20/1 – PP#2
John R Velazquez – Always Dreaming – 5/1/ – PP#5
Javier Castellano – Gunnevera – 15/1 – PP#10
Julien R LeParoux – Classic Empire – 4/1 – PP#14
Brian J Hernandez Jr. – McCraken – 5/1 – PP#5/1
Jose L Ortiz – Tapwrit – 20/1 – PP#16
Victor Espinoza – Gormley – 15/1 – PP#18
Lets move on to trainers. One thing to mention about the trainers in this year’s Kentucky Derby is that we have 2 trainers in this race that both have 3 horses racing, Steve Asmussen & Todd Pletcher. Below are their respective PP, Horses, Jockey, and Odds.
Combine Steve & Todd cover 30% of the field. If you plan on possibly betting a Superfecta Box you may want to include one of these horses.
Below is the field of 20 horses along with PP, Jockey, Trainer, and PP Odds.
Always Dreaming: 5/1 PP#5
Going to start with the Florida Derby winner Always Dreaming. This horse is a 5/1 odd running out of PP#5. Always Dreaming won its last 3 races by 5 lengths, 4 lengths, and 11.5 lengths. Last year the KD was won by a Florida Derby winner, Nyquist, and in 2013 an other Florida Derby winner, Orb, also won the Kentucky Derby. One last thing to mention about Always Dreaming is that out of all the other horses in the field he is the fastest one to have run 1 1/16 mile in 1:40! That is 3 seconds below from the chart above.
State of Honor: 30/1 PP#6
Another horse to have ran in the Florida Derby is State of Honor. State of Honor is a 30/1 odds horse running out of PP #6. State of Honor has finished 2nd, 2nd, 3rd, 2nd, 2nd, and 1st in its last 6 races. The jockey for State of Honor will be Jose Lezcano. This will be Jose’s first time racing State of Honor. State of Honor is still looking for its first Win for 2017.
J Boys Echo: 20/1 PP#13
Jockey, Luis Saez, will be saddling up with J Boys Echo for the first time today. This horse has yet to come in lower than 4th in its career. In 6 races this horse has finished 1st twice, 2nd one time, 3rd one time, and 4th twice. J Boys Echo will be up against some steep competition as he will be facing off against Irap, Practical Joke, and McCraken again. In J Boys Echo’s last race these horses squared off at the Blue Grass Stakes back on 04/08/17 and J Boys Echo finished 4th. J Boys Echo will be seeking revenge today running in his first Grade 1 stakes race.
Classic Empire: 4/1 PP#14
Jockey Julien Leparoux and Classic Empire have developed quit a relationship since 10/8/16, where they were paired up for the first time winning the Grade 1 Breeder’s Futurity Stakes. Since that time the combo has placed 1st in 2 more Grade 1 stakes races and has never finished less than 3rd. Arkansas Derby winner, Classic Empire, certainly has what it takes to be a top contender in today’s race.
Gunnevera: 15/1 PP#10
Gunnevera is one of 2 horses that beat out Classic Empire back on 02/04/17 at the Holy Bull Grade 2 race. Gunnevera has raced with most of the KD field for more than half of his career. Having raced with horses like Always Dreaming, Classic Empire (twice), Lookin At Lee, and Irish War Cry. Also, like Leparoux is to Empire, Javier Castellano has also developed a nice bond with Gunnevera. In 9 of Gunnevera’s races Castellano has raced him 5 times and finishing 1st in 3 of those times. Castellano and Gunnevera should be familiar enough with their competition giving them the edge that they might need to finish in the Top 3.
McCraken: 5/1 PP#15
Lately, there has been some great horses that have ran out of Post Positions 15 & 16, like American Pharoah (2015 Triple Crown Winner), Smarty Jones (2004 Triple Crown Contender finishing 2nd in the Belmont), Orb (2013 Kentucky Derby Winner), and Animal Kingdom (2011 Kentucky Derby Winner and finished 2 in the Preakness). McCraken and jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. started off on fire, placing 1st in McCraken’s first 4 races. McCraken has raced a total of 5 races and the only time he did not finish first was at the Blue Grass Stakes where he was unable to catch Irap down the final stretch and ended up finishing 3rd.
McCraken will have home field advantage today. Churchill Downs is McCraken’s home track and has had some great success here so far in his career winning 1st place every time he has raced here.
Tapwrit: 20/1 PP#16
At Post Position #16 we have one of three Todd Pletcher’s horses. At 20/1 Tapwrit could be a bit under rated coming into the Kentucky Derby today. In his last race at the Blue Grass Stakes he did not have the start and struggled making ground up from the outside. Before his last race Tapwrit finished 1st in 3 out of his last 4 races and also beating out State of Honor twice. If Tapwrit can get a position on the inside before the final turn he could certainly be in the mix to win, place, or show. The last time that a 20/1 odd horse win, place, or showed in the Kentucky Derby was in 2010 when Paddy O’Prado finished 3rd.
Fast and Accurate: 50/1 PP#3
The horse with the worst odds in the field today is Fast and Accurate at 50/1. There has been some success with 50/1 odd horses running in the Kentucky Derby. In 2014 long shot Commanding Curve came in 2nd and since 2004 there has been 2 wins that came from long shots, in 2009 Mind That Bird and in 2005 Giacomo. Fast and Accurate is hot right now winning 1st place in his last 3 races, will he be able to keep his win streak alive after today?
Girvin: 15/1 PP#7
This use to be Brian Hernandez’s horse winning with Girvin in 3 out of his 4 career races. With Hernandez stepping down to ride McCraken, veteran jockey Mike Smith will take the reins on Girvin. Girvin really has not been tested much only running in 4 races and in 2 of those he has only faced 2 Kentucky Derby horses. It is also worth mentioning that Girvin suffered a quarter crack in his right front hoof. It is not a serious injury just painful. In human terms it is equivalent to a finger nail that splits down to the cuticle. Anything less than 100% Girvin is going to have a tuff time being a contender in this race.
Gormley: 15/1 PP#18
Gormley and Victor Espinoza are inseparable. Espinoza has raced with Gormley throughout Gormley’s whole career so far. If you think you may have heard the name Victor Espinoza before then you thought right. He was the jockey that lead American Pharoah to the Triple Crown in 2015 and also rode California Chrome in 2014 to almost a Triple Crown victory as well. However, last year Victor rode 30/1 Majesto who finished 2nd to last in the 2016 Derby. This will be Gormley’s 4th Grade 1 stakes race, having won in 2 of his last 3. The one Grade 1 stakes race he did not win was the Breeders Cup Juvenile back on 11/05/16 where he had a bobbled start and couldn’t get to the inside. Although Gormley has 2 Grade 1 stakes win under his belt he is racing out of California for the first time.
Practical Joke: 20/1 PP#19
He began his career with three straight wins, including the Grade 1 Hopeful and Grade 1 Champagne, however he has yet to find the winner’s circle since. This horse has raced in a total of 6 races and came in first 3 times, 2nd twice, and 3rd once. Practical Joke has yet to finish below 3rd in his career and has raced against horses like Irap, McCraken, Gunnevera, and Classic Empire.
A Couple of Fun Facts:
It’s been 83 years since a maiden won the Derby (Brokers Tip in 1933). With zero wins in 10 starts, Sonneteer is unlikely to break that streak.
Always Dreaming Florida Derby win was noted for his time of 36.2 seconds during the final ⅜-mile, according to Steve Haskin of Bloodhorse.com.
State of Honor is an early speed horse who has been first at the second call in six of his 10 lifetime starts, winning once with that running style as a two-year-old maiden.
No horse since 1970 has won the Kentucky Derby when the Louisiana Derby has been their final prep. Girvin and Patch each had their final race at Fair Grounds leading up to the 143rd Run for the Roses.
Gormley racing outside of California for the first time.
Jockey Corie Lanerie is looking for his 1st KY Derby win, but has won 11 riding titles at Churchill Downs.
Trainer Todd Pletcher won his only Derby so far in 2010 with Super Saver.
Practical Joke has not yet won a race past a mile.
Classic Empire will be the richest Derby starter ever with over $2 million in earnings.
State of Honor is the tallest horse in the Derby this year. He stands at about 17 hands tall.