Kentucky Derby Contender Profile: Classic Empire

As the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile champion, Classic Empire is an obvious early favorite for the 2017 Kentucky Derby — an opinion validated by the fact that he closed as the second choice in the Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 1 (behind the “All Other 3-Year-Olds” option).

His chances would seem to be aided by the fact that, since the Road to the Kentucky Derby point system was implemented in 2013, the post-time favorite has won all four renewals of the Run for the Roses and, last year, Nyquist became the first Juvenile champ since Street Sense to win America’s most prestigious race for three-year-olds.

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PROS:

  • Over the past 20 years, 16 Derby champs broke their maiden prior to their third lifetime start and 12 were favored in at least one of their first two career races — Classic Empire fits the bill on both counts.
  • Since 1997, 12 Derby winners also placed in a stakes race as a juvenile. Once again, Classic Empire fits the bill.

kentuckyderbycontenders

CONS: 

  • Every horse since Giacomo in 2005 has recorded at least one “good” (-5 or greater) late speed ration (LSR). Thus far (and, remember, it’s still very early), Classic Empire has not done this.

Speed Rations Explained

To get the latest odds for the 2017 Kentucky Derby, click HERE.

Derek Simon
Derek Simon is the Senior Editor and Handicapper at US Racing.