The 143 Kentucky Derby is restricted to only 20 Kentucky Derby runners and will run on Saturday, May 6, 2017, for the first leg of the Triple Crown.
Here is the latest look at Battalion Runner, one of the contenders for the 2017 Kentucky Derby to be run at Churchill Downs.
Owner: St. Elias Stable
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Pedigree: Unbridled's Song, Tamboz, by Tapit
Last Race Result: 2nd Place, Wood Memorial Stakes, 4/8/17
It's really hard to put a good read on Battalion Runner. He's a good horse with great breeding and fantastic connections. But he's also a horse that has only run in one graded stakes race and failed when he did so. Take the results off of the horse, and this would be one of the favorites to win the Kentucky Derby. Just look at the results and don't look at anything else, and he'd be 50 to 1. As a result of looking at all of it, Battalion Runner is rather ho hum in his price at +2000, and we have to imagine that's probably about where he's going to go off when it comes to the final prices on the Kentucky Derby odds.
Battalion Runner is a strong pony for sure. He started off as a really young two-year old in his first maiden race and came up short at Belmont Park. Trainer Todd Pletcher set him down for a few months and brought him to Gulfstream Park to continue his career on New Year's Eve when he not only broke his maiden, but he did so by winning by 8 3/4 lengths and posting an unbelievable 100 Beyer Speed Rating. Though running in the Fountain of Youth had to be a tempting option, Pletcher instead set Battalion Runner in an allowance race and watched him dominate once again as an easy odds-on favorite.
Battalion Runner looked like he was poised for greatness at that point. Why Pletcher decided to take him back to New York instead of keeping him at Gulfstream and entering him in the Florida Derby, we'll never know. But that's the route he elected to go, and his pony was the favorite when he got there without ever having run in a graded stakes race. John Velazquez, the only jockey this horse has ever known, had Battalion Runner out front for the majority of the race before getting blown away at the end by Irish War Cry.
It's easy to say that Battalion Runner was beaten by a really good horse, but there are going to be a lot of really good horses in the Kentucky Derby. Irish War Cry is just one of the many for sure, though there's certainly a chance that he's the best of the bunch.
Keep an eye on Battalion Runner and the way that he trains en route to the Kentucky Derby. He's been a real workout warrior everywhere he's gone, and it shouldn't be surprising that he hasn't finished worse than second in any race in his career. It's going to be hard to keep that going at the Kentucky Derby, but it's a doable task. Of all of the horses in the middle of the pack, this might end up being one of the more interesting ones, merely because of all of the connections and peripherals that Battalion Runner brings to the table.
With a maximum of 20 horses accepted into the Kentucky Derby field, there is a significant vetting process to qualify the horses among this group of three-year olds. A points system is in place to reward winners and other top finishers of the main races leading into the Derby. The Top 20 horses will get the first opportunity to run in the Kentucky Derby, though as horses bow out of the process, the next ones in the standings are given their chances until the field of 20 is set.
The Road to the Kentucky Derby wraps up the second week of April, thus ending a grueling stretch of eight months of qualifying for the top colts in the world. The field won't be finalized until the Kentucky Derby post draw on Wednesday, May 3.
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Below are some of the contenders that will possibly run the day of the race. There are 20 Derby Contenders for the race but these are the most likely ones will be confirmed a place at the event.
|Rank||Horse||Points||Non-Restricted Stakes Earnings||Graded Stakes Earnings||Breeder||Trainer||Owner|
|1||Girvin||150||$840,000||$840,000||Bob Austin & John Witte||Joe Sharp||Brad Grady|
|2||Gormley||125||$884,000||$884,000||Castleton Lyons & Kilboy Estate||John Shirreffs||Moss, Mr. and Mrs. Jerome S.|
|3||Irish War Cry||110||$676,660||$616,660||Isabelle de Tomaso||H. Motion||Isabelle de Tomaso|
|4||Irap||108||$760,000||$738,000||Aaron & Marie Jones||Doug O'Neill||Reddam Racing LLC|
|5||Always Dreaming||100||$589,000||$589,000||Santa Rosa Partners||Todd Pletcher||St Elias, Teresa Viola Racing Stables, Brooklyn Boys, MEB Stables|
|6||Gunnevera||84||$1,137,800||$1,134,200||Brandywine Farm & Stephen Upchurch||Antonio Sano||Peacock Racing Stables, LLC|
|7||Practical Joke||74||$966,000||$966,000||Whispering Oaks||Chad Brown||Klaravich Stables, Inc. and Lawrence, William H.|
|8||J Boys Echo||63||$305,000||$305,000||Betz, Blackburn, J. Betz, Ramsby, CNHHNK||Dale Romans||Albaugh Family Stables LLC|
|9||State of Honor||62||$310,364||$280,000||Manfred Conrad & Penny Conrad||Mark Casse||Conrad Farms|
|10||Mastery||60||$480,000||$480,000||Stone Farm||Bob Baffert||Cheyenne Stables LLC|
|11||Tapwrit||54||$325,570||$280,000||My Meadowview LLC||Todd Pletcher||Bridlewood Farm, Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and LaPenta, Robert V.|
|12||Epicharis (JPN)||50||$753,381||$400,000||Masatsugu Kamada||Kiyoshi Hagiwara||Carrot Farm|
|13||Malagacy||50||$540,000||$540,000||John Trumbulovic||Todd Pletcher||Sumaya U.S. Stable|
|14||McCraken||40||$385,048||$335,320||Whitham Thoroughbreds, LLC||Ian Wilkes||Whitham Thoroughbreds LLC|
|15||Battle of Midway||40||$224,000||$224,000||Thor-Bred Stables, LLC||Jerry Hollendorfer||Fox Hill Farms, Inc.|
|16||Patch||40||$200,000||$200,000||Calumet Farm||Todd Pletcher||Calumet Farm|
|17||Battalion Runner||40||$140,000||$140,000||Dell Ridge Farm, LLC||Todd Pletcher||St. Elias Stable|
|18||Cloud Computing||40||$135,000||$135,000||Hill 'n' Dale Equine Holdings, Inc & Stretch Run Ventures, LLC||Chad Brown||Klaravich Stables, Inc. and Lawrence, William H.|
|19||Mont Saint Legame (JPN)||40||$0||$0||Kawashima Bokujo||Koji Maki||Shinichi Yamashita|
|20||Untrapped||34||$210,000||$210,000||Indian Creek & Jonathan Sheppard||Steven Asmussen||Michael Langford|
|21||Classic Empire||32||$1,493,820||$1,493,820||Steven Nicholson & Brandi Nicholson||Mark Casse||John C. Oxley|
|22||El Areeb||30||$330,000||$270,000||Dixiana Farms LLC||Cathal Lynch||M M G Stables, LLC|
|23||Royal Mo||30||$213,000||$213,000||Brandywine Farm||John Shirreffs||Moss, Mr. and Mrs. Jerome S.|
|24||Local Hero||30||$140,000||$140,000||Three Chimneys Farm LLC||Steven Asmussen||e Five Racing Thoroughbreds|
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