Classic Empire, who will break from post position 14, was established Wednesday as the 4-1 morning-line favorite for the 143rd running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs.
The 2-year-old champion and winner of the Arkansas Derby is trained by Mark Casse and will have Julien Leparoux up.
Florida Derby winner Always Dreaming and Sam F. Davis winner McCraken were picked as the co-second choices at 5-1 odds. McCraken, trained by Ian Wilkes, finished third in his last start, the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland.
The dreaded inside-most post position — from which no horse has won the Kentucky Derby since Ferdinand in 1986 — went to Lookin At Lee.
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The post position that has never produced a Derby winner in 38 attempts is No. 17. That spot went to Irish War Cry. Oddsmaker Mike Battaglia was unperturbed by the unlucky post, placing 6-1 odds on the New Jersey-born colt who many observers think could be poised for a winning Derby run.
The outside-most post position, No. 20, went to Patch, the one-eyed horse.
Irap, winner of the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes, will race from post position No. 9 at odds of 20-1. Irap is trained by Doug O’Neill, who won last year’s Derby with Nyquist.
More to come on Kentucky.com and in Thursday’s Lexington Herald-Leader.
Kentucky Derby week
At Churchill Downs in Louisville
6:12 p.m.: Kentucky Oaks (NBC Sports Network)
6:46 p.m.: Kentucky Derby (NBC-18)
2017 KENTUCKY DERBY FIELD
Lookin At Lee
L and N Racing
Saeed bin Suroor
Fast and Accurate
Kendall E. Hansen
Ricardo Santana Jr.
Brooklyn Boyz Stables
State of Honor
Battle of Midway
Fox Hill Farms
J Boys Echo
Albaugh Family Stables
John C. Oxley
Brian Hernandez Jr.
Bridlewood Farm, Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Robert V. LaPenta
Irish War Cry
Isabelle de Tomaso
Jerry and Ann Moss
Klaravich Stables and William H. Lawrence
Jerry and Ann Moss
Al Shaqab Racing, Winstar Farm and China Horse Club
Note: Royal Mo and Master Plan are “also eligible” horses who get into the Derby only if another horse scratches before 9 a.m. Friday. Royal Mo would get in first, then Master Plan if a second horse scratches.