Kentucky Derby Preview & Winner

Kentucky Derby Winner

Welcome to our comprehensive in depth analysis of the 2017 edition of the Kentucky Derby.

We’ve poored over hours of film, replays, speed maps and track workouts to bring you are final preview of each runner and most importantly our final selections. It must be time for a mint julep or two, happy punting.

No. 1 Lookin At Lee (20-1) — A battler in this field. Unlikely to finish in the money.

No. 2 Thunder Snow (20-1) — The Dubai king Sheikh Mohammed’s horse. On debut in America and will find this to tough

No. 3 Fast and Accurate (50-1) — Slow and Accurate would be a more appropriate name.

No. 4 Untrapped (30-1) — Over the odds. His last run was eye catching and form stands up a lot better than appears on paper. Place chance.

No. 5 Always Dreaming (5-1) — If he learns to settle he might prove to be the most talented in this three-year-old crop when it’s all said and done. He’s fast and can seemingly run all day. But I don’t love this inside post position for him and I’m also not crazy about how high-strung he’s appeared in his morning gallops in Louisville. Needs to settle into a comfortable beat early. One of the main chances.

No. 6 State of Honor (30-1) — Not hopeless, has a tendency to over race early, can’t afford to do that in such a high pressure race as the Derby. On the chance he settles from the inside draw, can finish in the money. Big if.

No. 7 Girvin (15-1) — Talented. However comes into the race nursing a bad hoof that’s compromised his training. Prefer to watch, if he pulls up well could be a horse to watch the rest of the triple crown.

No. 8 Hence (15-1) — Hard to gauge, which Hence will show up? Acted like a lunatic when winning for the first time back in January, then got trounced in his next start before rebounding to win a race in New Mexico. Maybe a candidate for a minor prize with no confidence.

No. 9 Irap (20-1) — Nothing wrong with his last start when he was a shocking 31-1 upset winner. I need to see him do it again to believe it.

No. 10 Gunnevera (15-1) — He’ll drop far back early and make a big, looping charge on the far turn. That style makes him a fun horse to watch, but he needs things to set up perfectly to have a chance.

No. 11 Battle of Midway (30-1) — Probably in over his head but I’m intrigued. Seems like a fighter. Playable at a big price.

No. 12 Sonneteer (50-1) — He’s winless in 10 races, which kind of feels like a problem.

No. 13 J Boys Echo (20-1) — Just OK.

No. 14 Classic Empire (4-1) — Last year’s two-year-old champ is real classy and has shown an affinity for the Churchill Downs racing surface. Given all of his setbacks the quote at 4-1 is to short, main chance.

No. 15 McCraken (5-1) — The complete Derby horse! He relaxes nicely early, settles in toward the back of the pack and then flashes an explosive turn of foot late. True, he just suffered his first career defeat but that race was a means to an end — a way to tighten him up for his goal.  He’s undefeated on the Churchill Downs strip and has looked great the past few weeks. His trainer Ian Wilkes oozed confidence when I spoke to him earlier this week: “I think he’s peaking.” He’s the one!


No. 16 Tapwrit (20-1) — A closer who possesses a big finishing kick. He needs to bounce back after flopping badly in his last race. Strong workouts the past couple weeks indicate he may be ready to do just that. Main chance over the odds.

No. 17 Irish War Cry (6-1) — Very nice horse. Capable of winning. He had a mysteriously awful race back in March (he finished more than 20 lengths behind the winner that day), with little to know reason suggested? At his best he’s a top 2 chance, but I have doubts especially at the quote.

No. 18 Gormley (15-1) — In a year of very erratic Derby contenders, he may be the most erratic of them all. And even on his best day, I suspect he’s a cut below the top horses in here.

No. 19 Practical Joke (20-1) — Hedge-fund guru Seth Klarman’s horse is pretty talented but will be tested to run out the journey.

No. 20 Patch (30-1) — Cool name, interesting back story. He’s missing an eye. He’s also pretty slow.


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