Tim's Take: Derby horse has one eye


A potential wet track, a quirky favorite, a kidnapped trainer who fled his native country and a number of conditioners seeking to duplicate past successes serve as the backdrop for the first jewel of racing's Triple Crown.

"Churchill Downs race 12, $1 exacta box on the 10, 13, 14, 15, 16 and 17".

Waller and Baffert - a four-time Kentucky Derby victor - met at the Longines Horse of the Year awards in London in January when the American took home the supreme award and Winx was judged the world's best horse of turf.

Okay, so you know the Kentucky Derby is being run for the 143 time Saturday (post time 6:34 p.m., NBC). Plus, if it rains (which is in the forecast) his pedigree suggested he'll love a muddy track.

With five wins in seven career starts and coming off a win at the Arkansas Derby, Classic Empire is the #1 favorite coming into Saturday. Victor of four out of five career starts, including the Arkansas Derby most recently, Classic Empire could be the richest Derby starter ever with more than $2 million in career earnings.

It was discovered subsequently, that the son of Pioneerof the Nile suffered a hoof abscess providing an excuse for his poor performance.

Friday's Kentucky Oaks is a 1-1/8 mile run at Churchill Downs featuring 3-year-old thoroughbred fillies. Here's how to legally bet on the Kentucky Derby. But we always got the job done. He got a great trip.

"We've made some adjustments, " Pletcher said.

Almost all of the last 41 winners of the Derby were top-three finishers or within four lengths of the victor in the lead-up to first jewel in horse racing's triple crown. At 4-to-1 odds to win, a $2 bet will win you $8.

Irap wins the 2017 Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland, 4/8/17. Every year, my Kentucky Derby pick horse is the one with the best (or closest to) weather name and, in some years, that's a quite a stretch.

"I feel like I can't really control anybody else's horse, but I want what's best for mine".

Classic Empire figures to be a lukewarm favorite Saturday.

In a rare moment alone after training hours on Wednesday morning at Churchill Downs, I asked Pletcher if he had changed anything from previous years when he brought some pretty solid contenders to the Derby. His only loss was a third in the Blue Grass, which was his first race back since suffering a minor ankle injury while training February 28. In July 2015, he suffered multiple injuries in a spill at Belmont Park.

According to Bleacher Report, those who have the best odds to be included in the top three other than Classic Empire are McCracken and Irish War Cry.

I like Irish War Cry as the early threat and McCraken late.

"I'd be surprised if he didn't handle it", Motion said. Pletcher has said the horse is a handful, and I think he's ready to hit the board.

Gormley, too, likes a messy track, won the Santa Anita Derby and is a three-time stakes victor. I have three primary reasons for doing so: his lack of graded stakes experience, a trainer with a history of bad Derby luck, and reports from people on the scene at Churchill that he has been hard to handle during morning workouts. Napravnik, 29, went from being the celebrity in the relationship - the only woman to ride in all three Triple Crown races - to retirement.