The 2017 Kentucky Derby begins Saturday evening in Louisville, and here is everything you need to know, as well as experts’ picks for the winners of each race.

Kentucky Derby 2017 schedule, details and Picks

Derby Details:

Where: Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky

Post Time: Saturday, May 6, at 6:34 p.m. EST


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Distance: 1.25 miles.

Track record: 1:59 2/5 (Secretariat, 1973)

Watch: NBC will start its broadcast at 2:30, while the race can also be live-streamed on NBC Sports Network, whose coverage will begin at noon and end at 2:30.


Purse: $2 million guaranteed, with $1.24 million for the winner, according to

Joe Drape of The New York Times has selected three horses for win-place-show: Tapwrit, Irish War Cry, and Always Dreaming. Another Times expert, Melissa Hoppert, has also picked Irish War Cry as a champion in this category, and predicts Classic Empire and McCracken will also emerge victorious.

As for the rest of the field, here is how Drape and Hoppert believe the top thoroughbreds will fare in the race:

Lookin at Lee

Trainer: Steve Asmussen Jockey: Corey Lanerie Odds: 20-1

Drape believes the colt is not fast enough, and that any chance he had was erased by rupturing from the No. 1 spot.

Hoppert, also does not believe Lee, who won third place in the Arkansas Derby, has much of an opportunity to win.

Thunder Snow

Trainer: Saeed bin Suroor Jockey: Christophe Soumillon Odds: 20-1

Drape thinks this “talented” colt from Dubai has a high chance of winning this year’s Derby to become the United Arab Emirates’ first champion of the event, since he won the U.A.E Derby at a mile and three-sixteenths on a muddy track, much like the one expected for Saturday in Louisville.

Hoppert is not as convinced, and says Drape simply “jumped on this Godolphin homebred’s bandwagon.”

Fast and Accurate

Trainer: Mike Maker Jockey: Channing Hill Odds: 50-1

Drape only likes the fact that he’s gray, while Hoppert says the only excitement surrounding Fast and Accurate has to do with his owners, the doctor who also owned his sire, Hansen and the Olympic skiier Bode Miller. 


Trainer: Steve Asmussen Jockey: Ricardo Santana Jr. Odds: 30-1

Drape does not believe Untrapped is a top contender for this year’s race, despite boasting one victory at Churchill Downs in six starts.

Hoppert, meanwhile, noted the colt has been “trending downward” since finishing sixth in the Arkansas Derby.

Always Dreaming

Trainer: Todd Pletcher Jockey: John Velazquez Odds: 5-1

Drape considers this colt the favorite following its amazing performance at the Florida Derby, which he won by five lengths. However, the expert also notes the horse has been “hard to handle.”

Hoppert, meanwhile, wondered if Always Dreaming will “be able to relax” on Saturday in Louisville.

Classic Empire

Trainer: Mark Casse Jockey: Julien Leparoux Odds: 4-1

Drape notes this was the 2-year winner, the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner, and that 3-year-old Classic Empire is 2 for 2 at the Kentucky Derby. The expert adds the horse has only raced twice recently due to injuries: once in February and another time three weeks ago, and that this might hurt his chances.

Hoppert, for her part, opines that Empire is the “class” of its age-group, and has confidence the colt, a “Pioneer of the Nile,” can secure a victory at Churcill Downs this year.

Irish War Cry

Trainer: Graham Motion Jockey: Rajiv Maragh Odds: 6-1

Drape claims this colt is one of the sure champions, and cites his correct prediction of War Cry’s Animal Kingdom (25-1) victory in 2011 as his justification. The expert also believes War Cry, and not Classic Empire, is the classiest colt.

Hoppert agrees with Drape, however, on the fact that War Cry is supremely fast, though she points out that no horse has ever won from Post 17.

 Bleacher Report’s Steve Silverman, meanwhile, does not seem to believe there will be another Triple Crown winner this year like American Pharaoh was in 2015.

 Here are the chances for each of the 20 horses competing, according to OddsShark.

Post Position Horse Jockey Trainer Odds
1 Lookin At Lee Corey Lanerie Steve Asmussen 33-1
2 Thunder Snow Christophe Soumillon Saeed bin Suroor 18-1
3 Fast and Accurate Channing Hill Mike Maker 66-1
4 Untrapped Ricardo Santana Jr. Steve Asmussen 50-1
5 Always Dreaming John Velazquez Todd Pletcher 9-2
6 State of Honor Jose Lezcano Mark Casse 33-1
7 Girvin Mike Smith Joe Sharp 16-1
8 Hence Florent Geroux Steve Asmussen 16-1
9 Irap Mario Gutierrez Doug O’Neill 18-1
10 Gunnevera Javier Castellano Antonio Sano 12-1
11 Battle of Midway Flavien Prat Jerry Hollendorfer 20-1
12 Sonneteer Kent Desormeaux Keith Desormeaux 40-1
13 J Boys Echo Luis Saez Dale Romans 28-1
14 Classic Empire Julien Leparoux Mark Casse 19-4
15 McCraken Brian Hernandez Jr. Ian Wilkes 6-1
16 Tapwrit Jose Ortiz Todd Pletcher 28-1
17 Irish War Cry Rajiv Maragh Graham Motion 6-1
18 Gormley Victor Espinoza John Shirreffs 18-1
19 Practical Joke Joel Rosario Chad Brown 25-1
20 Patch Tyler Gaffalione Todd Pletcher 33-1

LOUISVILLE, KY – MAY 03: Patch runs on the track during the morning training for the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 3, 2017 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

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