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2017 Kentucky Derby Favorites Classic Empire and Always Dreaming: But Can They Win?

Written by:
Guest
Published on:
May/04/2017

Two horses figure to get most attention leading up to Derby.  Classic Empire and Always Dreaming will be favored, but will either win?

The Kentucky Derby has been won by a favorite in four straight years. The 2017 edition of the America's most famous horse race seems to be more wide open than recent editions. So while Classic Empire or Always Dreaming might go off as the favorite – and either could win – the way to bet this race is to look for maximum value. That's easy to do because a full field of 20 might hit the starting gate on Saturday evening at Churchill Downs in Louisville.

So will a Triple Crown candidate emerge from this year's crop of 3-year old colts? It's difficult to say for sure before the Kentucky Derby, but you can bet on it right now at Bet33.com. The “YES” on the Triple Crown is at plus-600, while betting against a winner of the three races in five weeks is minus-1000. The Preakness Stakes awaits the best 3 year olds on May 20 at Pimlico Race Course while the Belmont Stakes is the final leg of the Triple Crown series three weeks later in Elmont, N.Y.

Online Horse Betting  -  Get up to $500 at Americas Bookie to Bet the Kentucky Derby  -

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The last time four straight favorites won the Derby was from 1972-75 until the recent run of success by the chalks in the last four editions of the most exciting two minutes in sports. Orb won the race at 5.4-to-1 in 2013, a tepid favorite compared to the other three winners, all of which went off at less than 3-to-1. California Chrome wore the garland of roses in 2014 after going off at 5-to-2, American Pharoah wound up winning the Triple Crown for the first time since the 70s as a 2.9-to-1 favorite in 2015 and Nyquist was the 2.3-to-1 victor last May.

Trainer Todd Pletcher could have up to five horses in the Derby. Always Dreaming is a son of 2012 beaten Derby favorite Bodemeister and will be the shortest priced colt of the Pletcher arsenal on Saturday. Bodemeister was the last favorite not to win the race. The seven-time Eclipe Award winning trainer is just 1-for-45 in his Derby career, with Super Saver being his only winner in 2010.

Always Dreaming has been the most impressive horse on a constant basis of the contenders, with his final work on Friday morning dazzling the backside observers at Churchill. He blasted through five furlongs in 59.60 seconds and likely cemented his status as the post-time favorite as long as he doesn't draw a bad post position on Wednesday. Always Dreaming has won three of his five lifetime starts and never finished out of the money. The last effort was a five-length triumph in the Florida Derby. He's never run at Churchill Downs.

“I thought it was a powerful work, exceptional,” said a beaming Pletcher after the work. “He’s full of himself. It was a good work with a great gallop out.”

Two-year-old champion Classic Empire is the other candidate to be the favorite at post time as he rounds back into top form. He was 4-for-4 last year and was a unanimous Eclipse Award winner after bagging the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. Like American Pharoah, Classic Empire is a son of Pioneerof the Nile. He was a non-threatening third in the Grade II Holy Bull to kick off his 3-year old campaign but sat out for a month after being diagnosed with a foot abscess. Trainer Mark Casse thinks he'll be ready to roll after returning to action with a triumph in the Arkansas Derby on April 17. Classic Empire breezed through four furlongs in 49.20 seconds Friday at Churchill and has won both of his career starts there. His five wins have only been by a total of about six lengths.

There will be up to 20 horses in the race, but these two will get most of the ink, and much of the betting money at the windows.

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