The Kentucky Derby is a horse race held annually in Louisville, Kentucky, United States, covering the two-week-long Kentucky Derby Festival. The race is a Grade I stakes race for three-year-old Thoroughbreds at a distance of one and a quarter miles (2 km) at Churchill Downs. Colts and geldings carry 126 pounds (57 kilograms) and fillies 121 pounds (55 kilograms).
The race will be live televised on DSport on Sunday 12AM onwards.
Here are five horses to watch:
Appears to be coming into his own after impressive five-length win in Florida Derby. Always Dreaming has the potential to be the first Derby favorite for trainer Todd Pletcher, who will have two other starters in the race. Always Dreaming’s Florida Derby (G1) victory showed he has no lack of quality either. The dark bay colt prefers to run at the lead or close to it. His sire Bodemeister finished second in the 2012 Derby. He has three wins in five career starts and earnings of $648,900. Pletcher and jockey John Velazquez have one Derby win apiece. The main knock against the colt is that his two wins as a 3-year-old have come against lesser competition.
Classic Empire ended 2016 as the best juvenile in the United States after winning the Breeders’ Futurity (G1) and the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1). Then again, only three other colts have won year-end honors since 2000 and gone on to win the Derby the following season. Classic Empire has the highest earnings of $2.1 million among the horses expected to make the field, with five wins in seven career starts. He’s coming off a win in the Arkansas Derby. Trainer Mark Casse has never won the Derby and neither has jockey Julien Leparoux. His sire Pioneerof the Nile was second in the 2009 Derby and he also sired 2015 Triple Crown champion American Pharoah.
Two outstanding performances at Fair Grounds have propelled Girvin into the top echelon of chances for the 2017 Kentucky Derby. The colt topped the Derby leaderboard with 152 points earned in prep races. Girvin is by Tale of Ekati, a winner of the Wood Memorial (G1) and the Cigar Mile (G1). His sire was best at a mile, and there will be some doubts about his ability to stay the 1-1/4 mile Derby trip. However, his style of racing gives some confidence in his stamina.
The Louisiana Derby winner has a crack in his right front hoof that has compromised his training in the last week. Trainer Joe Sharp has used a special shoe, a hyperbaric chamber and therapeutic waters to get Girvin in shape to run on Sunday.
Gunnevera has for some time looked one of the better Kentucky Derby prospects. After his stunning Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) victory at Gulfstream Park March 4, there are few that would be rated ahead of him. His earnings of $1.1 million are second-most on the Derby leaderboard. This is the first Derby starter for trainer Antonio Sano, who survived two kidnappings in his native Venezuela before moving to Miami. Jockey Javier Castellano, also from Venezuela, was just elected to racing’s Hall of Fame and in search of his first Derby win. His best finish was fourth in 2013. The colt has four wins in nine career starts and finished third in the Florida Derby. His sire, Dialed In, won the 2011 Florida Derby and finished eighth in the Kentucky Derby.
IRISH WAR CRY
Irish War Cry – apart from one surprise defeat – has proved as good as just about any Kentucky Derby prospect this year.The colt is a son of two-time Horse of the Year Curlin, who finished third in the 2007 Derby. Has four wins in five career starts. The chestnut colt likes to press the pace. No New Jersey-bred horse has won the Derby since Cavalcade in 1934, and none has run in the race since Dance Floor took third in 1992. Owner Isabelle de Tomaso, who is in her 80s, is the daughter of Amory Haskell, for whom the Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park is named. Tomaso was a race car driver in the 1950s. Trainer Graham Motion won the Derby with Animal Kingdom in 2011; jockey Rajiv Maragh has never won it.