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Kentucky Derby Results
The 2017 Kentucky Derby
Weather concerns and a sloppy track made the 143rd annual running of the Kentucky Derby (G1) more of an even field than was originally anticipated prior to the start of the race. However, one of the pre-race favorites at 9-2 odds, Always Dreaming, set the pace early and Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez didn't look back as they crossed the finish line by 2 3/4 lengths in a winning time of 2:03.59 over runner-up Lookin At Lee.
Trained by Todd Pletcher, the three-year-old dark bay colt by Bodemeister has had a fantastic 2017 campaign and the Kentucky Derby win padded his already impressive resume. Always Dreaming kicked things off by winning his maiden at Tampa Bay Downs in late January. He then won his next two races, including a dominating five-length victory in the Xpressbet Florida Derby (G1).
Pletcher and Velazquez each won their second career Kentucky Derby races with Always Dreaming. Pletcher won his first as a trainer in 2010 with Super Saver, and Velazquez first won the Derby riding Animal Kingdom in 2011.
"I think it's even more special than the first one," said Pletcher following the win.
Always Dreaming is now four-for-four in 2017 starts and will be tabbed as one of the favorites heading into the other two Triple Crown races, the Preakness Stakes (G1) and the Belmont Stakes (G1).
Always Dreaming, with morning line odds of 5-1 but hitting 9-2 odds at post time, paid $11.40, $7.20, and $5.80 for winning the Kentucky Derby. Runner-up Lookin at Lee paid $26.60 and $15.20, while Battle of Midway returned $20.80 for his third-place showing. Morning line favourite Classic Empire finished fourth. A $1 superfecta bet of 5-1-11-14 (Always Dreaming, Lookin at Lee, Battle of Midway, Classic Empire) returned $75,974.50.
Below is the full results of the 2017 Kentucky Derby:
1. Always Dreaming
2. Lookin at Lee
3. Battle of Midway
4. Classic Empire
5. Practical Joke
10. Irish War Cry
15. J Boys Echo
17. Fast and Accurate
19. State of Honour
20. Thunder Snow
Attendance was 158,070.
Thunder Snow pulled out right after gate, but no injury was revealed upon initial exam.
The last horse to win the Kentucky Derby out of post position five was California Chrome in 2014.
More on the 2017 Kentucky Derby
The 2017 Kentucky Derby felt like a wonderful mystery as there were no certainties about the favorites. Classic Empire, McCraken and Irish War Cry all emerged as contenders but none had been flawless. Always Dreaming won the Florida Derby but lacked experience. Then the weather seemed to throw a curve ball towards the Derby weekend, with thunderstorms mixing intermittently with sunny skies.
When the race finally began, there seemed to be a release of tension being two minutes away from obtaining some answers to the Derby picture.
As always, the Kentucky Derby opened with a furious start as the field of twenty burst from the gates over a muddy track under a suddenly cloudless sky. By midway, a pack of four had taken the early lead with State of Honor trailed by Battle of Midway, Irish War Cry and Always Dreaming. Late chargers, such as 5-1 second choice McCraken and 4-1 favorite Classic Empire, stalked in the background. Simply put, most contenders had run the first mile the way they wanted. All that was left was the final homestretch.
That’s where everything shifted. Always Dreaming stormed to the front as a 5-1 co-second choice in the final turn, with McCraken and Classic Empire challenging each other, as they muscled into a perfect spot for a late burst. But no horse could catch Always Dreaming, who displayed his mighty resilience to finish as the winner of the 143rd Kentucky Derby in 2:03.59.
With the win, Always Dreaming paid out $11.40, $7.20 and $5.80 while Lookin At Lee rode the rails to pay out a whopping $26.20 and $15.20 in second place at 20/1. Battle of Midway, a horse who had generally flown under the handicapping radar, crashed in at third to deliver $20.80 with massive 30/1 odds.
Classic Empire finished a respectable fourth followed by Practical Joke, Tapwrit, Gunnnevera, McCraken, Gormley and Irish War Cry who all helped round out the top-10 at the 2017 Kentucky Derby.
The mix of a sloppy track under perfect weather played into the narrative, but the race didn't quite end up as punters foresaw. Partly due to longshots and favorites mixing up the top 4 finishers. The 143rd Kentucky Derby had all the drama and excitement promised, with a climax of raw talent from Always Dreaming prevailing over the experience of Classic Empire.
Along with his victory in the Florida Derby, Always Dreaming has amassed winnings of $2,284,700 and collected a 4-1-1 record in six starts. There were those that doubted his ability to compete, but he just buried a large field of rivals in difficult conditions. He will march on to the Preakness Stakes as the prohibitive favorite with racing fans wondering if he has what it takes to deliver the Triple Crown.
Who won the 2016 Kentucky Derby?
2016 Kentucky Derby favorite Nyquist was unrelenting in his Run for the Roses win. 167,227 Churchill Downs patrons gazed with buzzing anticipation as the three-year-old son of Uncle Mo battled his way to victory. Facing a full field of 20 horses, Nyquist would grow to eight wins while maintaining an undefeated streak that began in June of 2015.
Speedster Danzing Candy established the early lead to set opening fractions of :23.58 at the quarter and :45.72 at the half. Nyquist stalked in second alongside Gun Runner, who entered the Kentucky Derby as the highest points earner from the Derby trail. Fading at the three-quarter mile pole with a time of 1:10.40, Danzing Candy would ultimately give way to the top-four horses in contention.
Gun Runner would seize the lead around the final turn, but Nyquist would have no part of it. The 2016 Kentucky Derby favorite unleashed his closing speed to overtake Gun Runner, galloping onward to take the 142nd Kentucky Derby in decisive fashion. Exaggerator would give a heroic effort down the stretch to finish second 1 ¼ lengths back and Gun Runner would hold on to take third. Mohaymen trailed in at fourth.
Nyquist paid out $6.60, $4.80 and $3.60 across the board. Exaggerator was worth $5.40 and $4.20 in second, while Gun Runner delivered $6.00 to show.
Nyquist posted the 14th fastest time in Kentucky Derby history at 2:01.31. This was also the fifth fastest time since the turn of the new millennium. This was the second Kentucky Derby victory for the trio of trainer Doug O’Neill, owner J. Paul Reddam and jockey Mario Gutierrez. They combined forces to campaign I’ll Have Another in 2012.
All-sources wagering reported a total sum of $192.6 million in action for the 2016 Kentucky Derby, which was on par with the $194.3 million generated in 2015 when American Pharoah won. Just over $23.5 million of that was wagered on track at Churchill Downs itself.
Check back here after the races for 2016 Kentucky Derby results. TwinSpires recaps all the action, providing in-depth analysis of all the performers in America’s greatest horse race.