The 2017 Kentucky Derby by the Numbers

The favorite has won the Derby each of the last four years.

The 143rd annual Kentucky Derby will take place this Saturday, in case you're wondering why all of your sports friends are now suddenly really into horse racing odds, mint juleps and patently absurd headwear. Therein lies the problem for NBC's coverage.

A key theme of NBC Sports' coverage is not just to bring the Kentucky Derby to numerous various platforms across the digital landscape, but to weave that content into the linear production of the festivities leading up to the race.

"We couldn't be in a better place right now", Casse said.

That reality necessitates a wide range of topics and content.

Win wager: The horse you choose must win the race in order for you to win. "What I try to do is not talk to the horse player or gambler, but to the novice - give enough information for the layman to understand exactly what I'm looking at, what the pros are looking at and maybe what they want to look at".

"You can bet a little and make a lot", O'Neill said.

Former jockey Rosie Napravnik exercises Kentucky Derby entrant Girvin for her husband trainer Joe Sharp at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., Thursday, May 4, 2017.

The Most Exciting Three Minutes in Sports will have a sentimental twist on Saturday.

Classic Empire bounced back with a gritty victory in the Arkansas Derby last month, but there's no reason to think he won't be challenged by ALWAYS DREAMING or McCRAKEN - both priced at 5-1 ahead of New Jersey-bred IRISH WAR CRY, who was given early odds of 6-1. American Pharoah (5-2) won in 2015 en route to sweeping the Triple Crown. Trainer John Shirreffs noted that he'd thought from the start that Gormley was more of an off-the-pace runner, but because of his raw talent he'd found himself closer to the lead in his early races.

Patch has raced three times with one win. But even as the odds change, numerous gambling experts believe this is a wide open race where up to seven different horses have a chance to win it all. Many handicappers believe a longer distance will hurt him, and likely the #19 post position will as well.

Avid horse-watchers sorting through a wide-open field of competitors in today's Kentucky Derby are eyeing a strong lineup of contenders - from Irish War Cry to Thunder Snow or Classic Empire - and hoping their pick comes out on top in the mile-and-a-quarter race. And the breeding aspect is part of it, too.

Paradise Woods is the horse that has been favored by Vegas, with Miss Sky Warrior just behind her and all of Farrell, Abel Tasman, and Salty not far behind.

Victor of the Florida Derby after breaking from the field in the final lengths of the race, the horse is a true threat to Classic Empire and could easily put on a show everyone fancies.

Anyone taking Practical Joke lightly shouldn't, regardless of his 20-1 odds.

No, we are not talking about ending daylight savings time, although many believe that is an idea that should be adopted.

  • Salvatore Jensen