Gary | Fri 05/05/2017 - 13:21 EDT

Kentucky Derby Picks

Kentucky Derby Picks
The Kentucky Derby is the most exciting two minutes in sports and the historic race will be run for the 143rd time on Saturday, May 6. The classic event is run at a mile and a quarter at Churchill Downs.

Horses to back in the Run for the Roses

By Jessica Paquette

The Kentucky Derby is finally almost here. On Saturday, May 6th, thoroughbred horse racing will crown a new star as one of the colts steps forward and earns a place in the history books. While this has not been the most consistent or inspiring crop of three-year-olds, there is one thing for certain – the Run for the Roses has shaped up to be a competitive, wide open race with some real value to be had.

The biggest question mark heading into the race is which Classic Empire will show up. Will it be the brilliant champion who fought his way to victory in the Arkansas Derby?

Or, will it be the quirky and unpredictable colt who has refused to train and wheeled at the start of a stakes race at Saratoga? His post position draw is an interesting one – he is in the final stall of the main starting gate which will give him a little extra room to his right when he breaks from the gate. He has been a real puzzle for trainer Mark Casse and hopefully, the pieces are all in the right place on Saturday.

Thunder Snow (IRE) is a live longshot who will be trying to make history and become the first horse to use the UAE Derby (G2) as a stepping stone to Kentucky Derby glory. After beginning his career as a world class turf horse, he switched to conventional dirt at Meydan in Dubai and seemed to make a big step forward. Powerhouse international breeding and racing operation Godolphin have coveted a Kentucky Derby win for a very long time and, with such a wide open field, this could be the year that they break through and win.

There is a lot of upside to McCraken for trainer Ian Wilkes. He was forced to miss some training early in the season with a minor injury, and because of that, he skipped a scheduled prep race. He returned to action to run third in the Blue Grass Stakes (G2) at Keeneland, and while visually it was a flat performance, he benefited from the race.

He looked like a horse who needed a race under his belt to tighten. Physically, he was carrying some extra weight and has looked leaner and sharper since shipping to Churchill Downs. He has all the makings of a horse who is peaking at exactly the right time and it is worth noting he likes Churchill Downs.

Irish War Cry may be another horse worth a look here and that is largely because of his trainer, Graham Motion. Though he defeated a suspect field in the Wood Memorial (G2), the thing that is most appealing about him is how Motion has stayed the course with his training, even after an inexplicably poor performance in the Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2).

Horses, like people, sometimes simply have an off day but he rebounded smartly in his next start. He is also bred to excel at the distance of 1 ¼ miles and should improve when several of his rivals are faltering in the stretch.

Here is the field for the Kentucky Derby along with morning line odds.

1. Lookin at Lee, 20-1

2.Thunder Snow (IRE), 20-1

3. Fast and Accurate, 50-1

4. Untrapped, 30-1

5. Always Dreaming, 5-1

6. State of Honor, 30-1

7. Girvin, 15-1

8. Hence, 15-1

9. Irap, 20-1

10. Gunnevera, 15-1

11. Battle of Midway, 30-1

12. Sonneteer, 50-1

13. J Boys Echo, 20-1

14. Classic Empire, 4-1

15. McCraken, 5-1

16. Tapwrit, 20-1

17. Irish War Cry, 6-1

18. Gormley, 15-1

19. Practical Joke,

20-1 20. Patch, 30-1

AE – 21. Royal Mo, 20-1

AE – 22. Master Plan, 50-1

Selections:

1. Classic Empire

2. Thunder Snow (IRE)

3. McCraken

4. Irish War Cry

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