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The stage is finally set for the 143rd running of the Kentucky Derby. The contestants and post positions have been announced and on Saturday, the competitors will line up at Churchill Downs for the biggest event in thoroughbred horse racing. Before you place your bets, let’s take a look at horses involved.


The Favourites

Classic Empire (17/4) is the favourite, but Always Dreaming (9/2), Irish War Cry (13/2) and McCracken (6/1) are not far behind. Classic Empire has won three of his last four starts, including the Arkansas Derby (G1) in April. Always Dreaming earned an impressive 5 length win at his most recent outing: the Florida Derby (G1). He’s trained by Todd Pletcher, who won the 2010 Kentucky Derby with Super Saver. Irish War Cry has been impressive with wins at the Wood Memorial (G2), Holy Bull Stakes (G2) and Marylander Stakes, but finished a disappointing seventh at the Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2). Meanwhile, in McCraken’s latest outing, the Blue Grass Stakes (G2), he finished third, which was his first loss in five career starts.

Gunnevera (10/1) is the last horse inside of 16/1. The Antonio Sano-trained thoroughbred finished third at the Florida Derby after winning four of his last seven starts, three of which were stakes races. With nine races under his belt, he’ll be one of the more experienced horses running on Saturday.


Post Positions

In terms of post positions, Gunnevera has drawn a lucky ticket: the No. 10 slot. That gate has the highest winning percentage at 11.3%. The next best is No. 5, which is where Always Dreaming will start; 10.3% of the Kentucky Derby winners have come from that position. Third on the list is the No. 8 post at 9.3%, which is where Hence will start. Hence, Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen’s entry, is coming off a win at the Sunland Derby (G3).

The highest percentage for post positions to finish in the money is, once again, post No. 10, which sits at 30%. Coming in second is post No. 2, which has produced first, second or third place finishers 28.7% of the time. The third best spot is post No. 13, which checks in at 24.3%. That’s where last year’s winner, Nyquist, started from.

At the other end of the spectrum, no horse has ever won out of the No. 17 gate. Even though Irish War Cry is one of the favourites for the Kentucky Derby, he’ll have to break new ground if he’s to win from that post.


Race Details

The Kentucky Derby is on Saturday at Churchill Downs. The best three-year-old thoroughbreds in the world will compete over a distance of 1 1/4 miles. The post time for the race is 6:46 PM ET with the broadcast being shown on NBC and NBC Sports.


*Odds as of May 5, 2017