2017 Kentucky Derby Race Recap

Always Dreaming and jockey John Velazquez enter the Kentucky Derby Winner’s Circle (TwinSpires Photo)

Always Dreaming wins 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 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 are 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

6. Tapwrit

7. Gunnevera

8. McCracken

9. Gormley

10. Irish War Cry

11. Hence

12. Untrapped

13. Girvin

14. Patch

15. J Boys Echo

16. Sonneteer

17. Fast and Accurate

18. Irap

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.

by Salvatore Stefanile