Charlotte - The Kentucky Derby post position draw was set today with Classic Empire being stated as the favorite in a field of 20.
With the draw complete and the Kentucky Derby just a few days away the top contenders will be Classic Empire, Always Dreaming, Irish War Cry and McCracken.
Always Dreaming trained by Todd Pletcher and jockeyed by John Valezquez drew the fifth gate. Classic Empire, trained by Mark Casse and controlled by Julien Leparoux will be breaking from gate fourteen.
Prior to this mornings draw Classic Empire and Always Dreaming were comparable. Had Classic Empire stayed healthy during the season leading up to this weekend there is no doubt he would have been selected as the favorite with different odds. Classic Empire won the Arkansas Derby last month but was plagued with injuries leading up to that race and the start of 2017 was challenging, removing the hype that typically surrounds a Derby favorite.
Irish War Cry and McCraken are the other two co-favorites for this race. Irish War Cry has won four of his five career races, including two out of three this year in Grade II stakes races. Kentucky bred McCracken has won four out of five of his races, with his loss to Irap in the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland.
Churchill Downs Mike Battaglia set the odds shortly after the post position draw officially making Classic Empire the favorite with 4-1 odds. McCracken and Always Dreaming were given odds of 5-1, followed by Irish War Cry at 6-1.