Three Hours and Counting to the Kentucky Derby

With little more than three hours to the 143rd Run for the Roses, the Churchill Downs track could be sloppy and track bettors have produced a new favorite. Morning line favorite Classic Empire has dropped down with bettors, and at 4-1, No. 5 Always Dreaming is now the top choice. Irish War Cry has moved up considerably and is now the second favorite at 5-1, followed by McCraken at 7-1. Classic Empire has fallen to 8-1. My sentimental pick, Gormley, has fallen from 15-1 all the way to 21-1.

Morning showers may or may not end before Kentucky Derby post time, but as of now, the track is listed as in “Good” condition. Also, the Churchill Downs’ track is known for excellent drainage and rapid drying.


Four color choices

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Morning line favorites have won the Kentucky Derby in each of the past four years, so don’t discount Classic Empire just yet. Should rains continue and the track condition change, remember that his first win was on a sloppy track at Churchill Downs just about a year ago. However, he’s not raced in those conditions since. My guy, Gormley, has also won on a sloppy track at Santa Anita. A couple of others that have done well on a sloppy track are McCracken, winner of the Jockey Club Stakes, likely a reason that he’s moved up in the odds, and No. 1 Looking At Lee, second place finisher to then top 2-year-old Not This Time in last September’s Iroquois at Churchill Downs, but his odds have gone in the other direction, falling from 20-1 to 29-1.

Victor Espinoza, a couple of weeks from his 45th birthday, is aboard Gormley as he rides for his fourth Kentucky Derby win. Ahead of Espinoza through the first 142 runnings of the Derby are only Bill Shoemaker with four wins and Bill Hartack and Eddie Arcaro with five wins apiece. Of course Espinoza is also the sport’s only active jockey with a Triple Crown win to his name. 47-year-old Kent Desormeaux also has three Kentucky Derby wins and he will be aiming for number four aboard No. 12 Sonneteer, now sitting at 34-1.

One other note of interest regards No. 20 Patch, whose morning line of 30-1 has fallen all the way to 14-1 and a tie for number six among favorites.

The later odds for the 143rd Kentucky Derby

1 – Lookin At Lee 29-1
2 – Thunder Snow 16-1
3 – ​Fast and Accurate 37-1
4 – Untrapped 59-1
5 – Always Dreaming 4-1
6 – State Of Honor 53-1
7 – Girvin 22-1
8 – Hence 14-1
9 – Irap 35-1
10 – Gunnevera 9-1
11 – Battle of Midway 38-1
12 – Sonneteer 34-1
13 – J Boys Echo 44-1
14 – Classic Empire 8-1
15 – McCraken 7-1
16 – Tapwrit 25-1
17 – Irish War Cry 5-1
18 – Gormley 21-1
19 – Practical Joke 30-1
20 – Patch 14-1

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