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2017 Kentucky Derby: Field Preview and Poll

We’ve got the ultimate crib sheet for Saturday’s Run for the Roses — get the scoop on the entries and vote in our poll for who you think will win the 2017 Kentucky Derby!

California Chrome wins the 2014 Kentucky Derby. Flickr/Bill Brine/CC

“The fastest two minutes in sports” goes off on Saturday, May 6 at Churchill Downs, and it’s really a wide-open field this year. Headed to a Derby party? Want to fill up on trivia about the 20 horses entered in this year’s race? We’ve got the quick and dirty crib sheet that will give you the rundown on the field — make sure you vote in our poll for who you think will win this year!

If you’re really serious about picking based on workouts and form, click here to see a playlist of Derby workout videos.

Post Position 1: Lookin At Lee (20-1)
Bay colt by Lookin At LuckyOwned by L and N Racing
Trained by Steve Asmussen
Ridden by Corie Lanerie
Claims to fame: second in Breeders’ Futurity (G1), fourth in Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1), third in Southwest Stakes (G3) and third in Arkansas Derby (G1)

Lookin At Lee usually rallies in the final turn to close up on the leaders; he will need to be positioned well close to the field on Saturday to make a bid.

Post Position 2: Thunder Snow (20-1)
Bay colt by Helmet (first crop); bred in Ireland
Owned by Godolphin Racing
Trained by Saeed bin Suroor
Ridden by Christophe Soumillon
Claims to fame: winner of the UAE Derby (G2)

Thunder Snow has done some of his best running on dirt in Dubai, but only shipped in to Churchill Downs relatively recently, leading to questions if he will be on his best form for Saturday. It’s undeniable that traveling from the other side of the world takes a lot out of a horse. If he is on form, however, he will certainly be one to watch.

Post Position 3: Fast and Accurate (50-1)
Gray colt by Hansen
Owned by Kendall E. Hansen
Trained by Michael J. Maker
Ridden by Channing Hill
Claims to fame: winner of the Spiral Stakes (G3)

Fast and Accurate is unbeaten when he runs at the lead or just off the leader. He’ll need to be pretty nimble as well as show some stamina, however, to run at the expected class of the Derby field.

Post Position 4: Untrapped (30-1)
Dark bay colt by Trappe Shot
Owned by Michael Langford
Trained by Steve Asmussen
Ridden by Ricardo Santana, Jr
Claims to fame: second in the LeComte Stakes (G3), second in the Risen Star Stakes (G2), third in the Rebel Stakes (G3)

Untrapped, despite a pedigree that would suggest aptitude as a sprinter, has performed well from off the pace, closing well to finish in several stakes this spring. His last performance was a sixth place finish in the Arkansas Derby.

Post Position 5: Always Dreaming (5-1)
Dark bay colt by Bodemeister
Owned by Brooklyn Boyz Stables
Trained by Todd Pletcher
Ridden by John R. Velazquez
Claims to fame: winner of the Florida Derby (G1)

Always Dreaming was relatively off the radar prior to a strong victory in the Florida Derby. Of note is the fact that he went through a rider and equipment change just this week for training. Pletcher has a full quiver of horses in the Derby, but Always Dreaming looks to be his best shot.

Post Position 6: State of Honor (30-1)
Bay colt by To Honor and Serve
Owned by Conrad Farms
Trained by Mark Casse
Ridden by Jose Lezcano
Claims to fame: third in the Sam F. Davis Stakes (G3), second in the Tampa Bay Derby (G2), second in the Florida Derby (G2)

State of Honor has finished strong in his last three starts, running with the leaders in each race but beaten by a sharper horse each time. Some critics suggest that he may not be able to go the mile and a quarter distance.

Post Position 7: Girvin (15-1)
Dark bay colt by Tale of Ekati
Owned by Brad Grady
Trained by Joe Sharp
Ridden by Mike Smith
Claims to fame: winner of the Risen Star Stakes (G2) and Louisiana Derby (G2)

Fun facts: Girvin’s exercise rider is Rosie Napravnik, fan favorite now-retired jockey and trainer Joe Sharp’s wife. Girvin’s earlier outstanding prep races have been overshadowed by an annoying quarter crack that’s called for creative shoeing and light training in the weeks up to the Derby. Unclear if he will be in top form on Saturday.

Post Position 8: Hence (15-1)
Chestnut colt by Street Boss
Owned by Calumet Farm
Trained by Steve Asmussuen
Ridden by Florent Geroux
Claims to fame: winner of Sunland Derby (G3)

Hence’s Sunland Derby victory was earned with a late sweep to the lead after running well off the pace; he hasn’t run against a lot of the class he will face on Saturday but he seems to be improving. If nothing else, he’s perhaps one of the best-looking horses in the field based just on appearance!

Post Position 9: Irap (20-1)
Bay colt by Tiznow
Owned by Reddam Racing
Trained by Doug O’Neill
Ridden by Mario Gutierrez
Claims to fame: winner of the Blue Grass Stakes (G2)

The winning combination of Reddam Racing/O’Neill/Gutierrez is responsible for past Derby winners I’ll Have Another and Nyquist. Irap was not on the Derby radar until his Blue Grass upset, going off at long odds with a fighting finish in the stretch. He likes to race close to the pace.

Post Position 10: Gunnevera (15-1)
Chestnut colt by Dialed In
Owned by Peacock Stables
Trained by Antonio Sano
Ridden by Javier Castellano
Claims to fame: winner of the Jackpot Stakes (G3), second in the Holy Bull (G2), winner of the Fountain of Youth (G1), third in the Florida Derby (G1)

Gunnevera is one of our picks for the three best stories of the 2017 Kentucky Derby (incidentally, he was also a bottle baby after being orphaned after birth). He got up too late in the Florida Derby but rallied strong in his typical late-closing style, making him an exciting horse to watch.

Post Position 11: Battle of Midway (30-1)
Bay colt by Smart Strike
Owned by Fox Hill Farms
Trained by Jerry Hollendorfer
Ridden by Flavian Prat
Claims to fame: second in the Santa Anita Derby (G1)

Battle of Midway set a nice cruising pace in the Santa Anita Derby but just got nipped at the wire by a fighting Gormley. He doesn’t have much stakes experience to fall back on, so he may be a bit outclassed on Saturday — or he may surprise us all.

Post Position 12: Sonneteer (50-1)
Dark bay colt by Midnight Lute
Owned by Calumet Farm
Trained by Keith Desormeaux
Ridden by Kent Desormeaux
Claims to fame: second in the Rebel Stakes (G2), fourth in the Arkansas Derby (G1)

Sonneteer hasn’t yet won a race, so jumping up to win the Derby might be a big ask. On the other hand, he’s been fighting to the wire in his recent starts and has proven to have a lot of heart. The Desormeaux brothers also produced Exaggerator, who ran with a similar late-closing style to a second-place finish in the Derby and a Preakness victory in 2016.

Post Position 13: J Boys Echo (20-1)
Bay colt by Mineshaft
Owned by Albaugh Family Stables
Trained by Dale Romans
Ridden by Robby Albarado
Claims to fame: third in the Withers Stakes (G3), winner of the Gotham Stakes (G1), fourth in the Blue Grass (G2)

J Boys Echo ran a busy juvenile season with three starts in 50 days; his win in the Gotham came from the post position while many of his losses came from way out in the gate. Coming out of Post 13, it’ll be interesting to see how he handles a huge field.

Post Position 14: Classic Empire (4-1)
Bay colt by Pioneerof the Nile
Owned by John Oxley
Trained by Mark Casse
Ridden by Julien Leparoux
Claims to fame: winner of Breeders’ Futurity Stakes (G1) and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1), third in the Holy Bull (G2) and winner of the Arkansas Derby (G1)

Barring some health issues that set back his spring, Classic Empire has an outstanding juvenile resume and a pedigree on his side — his sire Pioneerof the Nile, of course, sired Triple Crown winner American Pharoah.

Post Position 15: McCracken (5-1)
Bay colt by Ghostzapper
Owned by Whitham Thoroughbreds
Trained by Ian Wilkes
Ridden by Brian Joseph Hernandez JrClaims to fame: winner of Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G2) and Sam F. Davis Stakes (G3) and third in Blue Grass (G2)

Undefeated until an upset by Irap in the Blue Grass, McCracken has been hailed as one of the classiest horses in the field with the ability to go the distance of a mile and a quarter. He did suffer a minor injury at the end of February in training but has bounced back in great form.

Post Position 16: Tapwrit (20-1)
Gray colt by Tapit
Owned by Bridlewood Farm, Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Robert LaPenta
Trained by Todd Pletcher
Ridden by Jose Ortiz
Claims to fame: second in the Sam F. Davis (G3), first in the Tampa Bay Derby (G1)

Tapwrit has shown that he can run in the mud as well as fight to the wire. His big win in the Tampa Bay Derby was followed by a disappointing fifth in the Blue Grass.

Post Position 17: Irish War Cry (6-1)
Chestnut colt by Curlin
Owned by Isabelle de Tomaso
Trained by Graham Motion
Ridden by Rajiv Maragh
Claims to fame: winner of the Holy Bull Stakes (G2) and Wood Memorial (G2)

Even trainer Graham Motion was stumped by a disappointing Fountain of Youth effort, but when Irish War Cry dominated the Wood Memorial he silenced many critics. The Kentucky Derby has never been won from post 17.

Post Position 18: Gormley (15-1)
Bay colt by Malibu Moon
Owned by Jerry and Ann Moss
Trained by John Shirrefs
Ridden by Victor Espinoza
Claims to fame: winner of the FrontRunner Stakes (G1), the Sham Stakes (G3) and the Santa Anita Derby (G1)

Gormley mostly races on or just behind the pace, taking the West Coast route to the Kentucky Derby. When he is on form, he is a fighter.

Post Position 19: Practical Joke (20-1)
Bay colt by Into Mischief
Owned by Klaravich Stables and William Lawrence
Trained by Chad Brown
Ridden by Joel Rosario
Claims to fame: winner of the Champagne Stakes (G1), third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1), second in the Fountain of Youth (G2) and Blue Grass Stakes (G2)

Practical Joke was a strong juvenile and seems to be improving over distance as a three-year-old but there are doubts as to whether he can go the full mile and a quarter, as he’s never won over a mile distance. He’s been a threat in his three-year-old starts but hasn’t quite gone up with the winners.

Post Position 20: Patch (30-1)
Bay colt by Union Rags
Owned by Calumet Farm
Trained by Todd Pletcher
Ridden by Tyler Gaffalione
Claims to fame: second in the Louisiana Derby (G2)

Patch is definitely the sentimental pick in the field since he only has one eye, and we love to root for an underdog — however, he is probably not the same class of horse as what he’ll have to face on Saturday. While he’s clearly adjusted very well to having limited sight, it’s worth noting that he’s in the outside gate, with his blind side facing the field.

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