Few sporting events in America hold the same sense of history as the Kentucky Derby, which will hold its 143rd running in Louisville this Saturday.
And thanks to online sportsbook Bovada, bettors around the world can watch the “most exciting two minutes in sport” the way it was truly meant to be enjoyed: with a little skin in the game.
Having assessed the 20-horse field, the oddsmakers have tabbed each of the elite three-year old thoroughbreds taking part with the site’s own lines to win. These odds are mostly matched with those being offered at Churchill Downs, but a few variations can be found.
For example, most mainstream media outlets were touting Always Dreaming and jockey John Velazquez as the early favorite at 4-1, with Classic Empire and jockey Julien Leparoux just behind at 5-1.
But Bovada has them flipped, with Classic Empire now the favorite (+425), just ahead of Always Dreaming (+450).
Finding the oddsmakers’ lean is especially important in the Kentucky Derby, where the favorite has won the last four races.
Both horses are entering the sport’s premier spectacle fresh off first-place finishes. Always Dreaming won the Florida Derby in 1:47:47 on April 1, while Classic Empire finished ahead of the pack at the Arkansas Derby on April 15 with a 1:48:93 time.
Todd Pletcher, the trainer for Always Dreaming, sounded bullish on his horse’s chances based on recent results:
“The horse is moving fantastic. We want to be able to control that energy and I think we’ve made big strides in doing that overnight.”
As for Classic Empire, he certainly holds the right pedigree to claim the Kentucky Derby crown. Having been sired by Pioneerof the Nile, he’s the half-brother of American Pharoah – who became the first horse to win the elusive Triple Crown in 37 years back in 2015.
Only two other horses are listed at better than 10-1: McCraken with jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. (+600) and Irish War Cry with jockey Rajiv Maragh (+650).
Both steeds are proven winners, taking first-place honors in four of their five respective races.
In terms of the proverbial dark horses, Tapwrit under jockey Jose Ortiz (+2800) offers decent value, and he’s even been picked to win by New York Times racing expert Joe Drape. As a stablemate of Always Dreaming, and sire to 2004 Kentucky Derby participant Tapit, the Pletcher-trained Tapwrit has recorded three wins in six starts.
The main event gets underway at precisely 6:34 p.m. EST on Saturday, May 6, but viewers can tune into NBC beginning at 2:30 p.m. EST to catch the preliminary races and pre-Derby fanfare.
The latest odds for the 20-horse field in the 143rd running of the Kentucky Derby can be found below:
2017 Kentucky Derby Winner Odds at Bovada
|Pole Position||Horse (Jockey)||Kentucky Derby Odds|
|1||Lookin at Lee (Corey Lanerie)||+2500|
|2||Thunder Snow (Christophe Soumillon)||+2000|
|3||Fast and Accurate (Channing Hill)||+5000|
|4||Untrapped (Ricardo Santana Jr.)||+4000|
|5||Always Dreaming (John Velazquez)||+450|
|6||State of Honor (Jose Lezcano)||+4000|
|7||Girvin (Mike Smith)||+1800|
|8||Hence (Florent Geroux)||+1600|
|9||Irap (Mario Gutierrez)||+2200|
|10||Gunnevera (Javier Castellano)||+1000|
|11||Battle of Midway (Flavien Prat)||+2500|
|12||Sonneteer (Kent Desormeaux)||+4000|
|13||J Boys Echo (Luis Saez)||+2800|
|14||Classic Empire (Julien Leparoux)||+425|
|15||McCraken (Brian Hernandez Jr.)||+600|
|16||Tapwrit (Jose Ortiz)||+2800|
|17||Irish War Cry (Rajiv Maragh)||+650|
|18||Gormley (Victor Espinoza)||+1800|
|19||Practical Joke (Joel Rosario)||+2200|
|20||Patch (Tyler Gaffalione)||+3300|