About the 2017 Kentucky Derby
The 2017 Kentucky Derby will mark the 143rd time the historic horse race is run at Churchill Downs. The Run for the Roses is a 1 1/4-mile contest for three-year-olds that serves as the first leg of the Thoroughbred Triple Crown.
Held annually on the first Saturday in May, the Kentucky Derby is the most celebrated event in horse racing and a defining achievement for every winning horse, owner, trainer and jockey. The race takes approximately two minutes to compete under the famed Twin Spires of Churchill Downs.
The Kentucky Derby holds significant reverence as the one race that every casual racing fan knows. The substantial growth in people watching and wagering on the Kentucky Derby nationally can be demonstrated with the enormous crowds, including the 2015 record of 170,513 spectators.
Known as the Run for the Roses, named after the garland of roses presented to the winner, the Kentucky Derby rates as one of the world’s great sporting events. The “fastest two-minutes in sports” is the longest continuously-run horse race in the United States.
The maximum number of horses allowed in the starting gate is capped at 20, which makes for a challenging handicapping equation. Derby contenders ship from all regions of the country to Louisville, Kentucky and occasionally international invaders. With such a large field bursting with runner diversity, bettors must account for a multitude of variables including pace, run style and the propensity for improving or declining form.
Horse racing enthusiasts start to scout for the next Kentucky Derby hopeful as soon as the horses cross the current Kentucky Derby finish line. However, the build-up officially begins in September with the first of 37 prep races in the “Road to the Kentucky Derby” series. The plethora of 20 contenders always leads to many deep stories. The contender conversation picks up steam after the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile in late fall, and the winter months are filled with early predictions for emerging contenders.
Despite its highly-scrutinized nature, the Kentucky Derby is never easy to figure and always offers value in the betting pools. Massive longshots Mine That Bird (paid $103.20 to win) and Giacomo ($102.60) have proved successful during the last decade. Even post-time favorites like California Chrome and Orb rewarded backers with victories in recent years. Overlooked horses (Commanding Curve at 37-1 and Golden Soul at 34-1) finished second in the years they each ran, generating lucrative exotic payoffs. Anything can happen with the best 3-year-olds running on the First Saturday in May, so support your favorite pick with a bet!