The 143rd running of the Kentucky Derby will take place on Saturday May 6th at Churchill Downs with a post time of 6:34 pm ET. Are you considering placing a bet on the “Fastest Two Minutes in Sports?” Here is a quick preview of the favorites and my pick to be the next Kentucky Derby champion.

For this analysis I’m going to use Pace Figures available for free at Pace Figures can tell you if a horse is likely to improve or regress in its next start. In the spirit of full disclosure I was a founder of

Always Dreaming (+550)

This Todd Pletcher trained horse dominated at the Grade 1 Florida Derby on April 1st. He enters the Kentucky Derby as a co-favorite with Classic Empire. However, Always Dreaming has a designation of “Average”, which means the numbers do not expect the horse to improve or regress. Always Dreaming could be in contention but this is not the horse I’m betting.

Classic Empire (+550)

Classic Empire is last year’s 2-year-old champion. He has a “Breakout” designation heading into the Kentucky Derby that hints at a horse primed for significant improvement. However, Mark Casse’s colt has been dealing with issues the last year. Over the summer the horse threw his jockey and came to a complete stop at the Hopeful Stakes. Then hoof and back issues derailed his training in February and March. He appears back on track after a win at the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby on April 15. I might come to regret not betting Classic Empire but he is a pass for me.

McCraken (+800)

Another horse with impressive early racing results, McCraken won his first four career starts including the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club at Churchill Downs last year. He enters Saturday’s race with an “Average” designation like Always Dreaming. McCraken could wind up in the winner’s circle but I won’t have a wager on him.

Irish War Cry (+800)

Irish War Cry drew the 17th post position, no horse has ever won starting from that gate. Eventually a horse will, why not Irish War Cry? This New Jersey-bred horse is the “Top Contender”, most likely to win, according to the Pace Figures. Irish War Cry also has a New Pace Top (NPT) pattern. An NPT is a strong indicator of future success with horses often improving dramatically. I’m betting Irish War Cry to end the streak and become the first horse to win starting in the 17th hole.

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2017 Kentucky Derby Odds

HorsePost PositionOdds
Always Dreaming5550
Classic Empire14550
Irish War Cry17800
Lookin At Lee12000
J Boys Echo132000
Practical Joke192100
Thunder Snow22500
Battle of Midway112600
State of Honor64500
Fast and Accurate36000