Field set for Kentucky Derby 143

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A full field of 20 3-year-olds plus a pair of colts on the also-eligible list were entered and assigned starting spots Wednesday morning at Churchill Downs for the 143rd running of the Kentucky Derby.

Classic Empire, last year’s champion 2-year-old male and winner of the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby in his most recent start, was pegged as the 4-1 morning-line favorite by Churchill Downs oddsmaker Mike Battaglia. Classic Empire drew post No. 14 in the big field, the last slot in the main starting gate, with Julien Leparoux named to ride.

Owned by 2001 Derby winning owner John Oxley, Classic Empire will try to become the first Derby winner for trainer Mark Casse and Leparoux. Casse’s best finish from three previous starts in the Derby is a fifth by Danzig Moon in 2015. Leparoux rode Danzig Moon and that effort is his best from nine mounts in the opening jewel of the Triple Crown.

Battaglia, making the morning line for the Derby for the 44th time in his career, pegged Florida Derby winner Always Dreaming and McCraken as the 5-1 co-second choices with Wood Memorial winner Irish War Cry next at 6-1. The remainder of the field are double-digit odds on the early line, including the quartet of Girvin, Hence, Gunnevera and Gormley each at 15-1.

The purse for the Derby is $2,395,800 if 20 horses start, with $1,635,800 to the winner. The Derby is the 12th of 14 races on Saturday’s card, which gets underway at 10:30 a.m. EDT. The race will be broadcast live on NBC during a five-hour broadcast that begins at 2:30 p.m.

The full field for the 1 1/4-mile classic, with jockey and morning-line odds:

  1. Lookin At Lee, Corey Lanerie, 20-1;
  2. Thunder Snow, Christophe Soumillion, 20-1;
  3. Fast And Accurate, Channing Hill, 50-1;
  4. Untrapped, Ricardo Santana Jr., 30-1;
  5. Always Dreaming, John Velazquez, 5-1;
  6. State Of Honor, Jose Lezcano, 30-1;
  7. Girvin, Mike Smith, 15-1;
  8. Hence, Florent Geroux, 15-1;
  9. Irap, Mario Gutierrez, 20-1;
  10. Gunnevera, Javier Castellano, 15-1;
  11. Battle Of Midway, Flavien Prat, 30-1;
  12. Sonneteer, Kent Desormeaux, 50-1;
  13. J Boys Echo, Luis Saez, 20-1;
  14. Classic Empire, Julien Leparoux, 4-1;
  15. McCraken, Brian Hernandez Jr., 5-1;
  16. Tapwrit, Jose Ortiz, 20-1;
  17. Irish War Cry, Rajiv Maragh, 6-1;
  18. Gormley, Victor Espinoza, 15-1;
  19. Practical Joke, Joel Rosario, 20-1;
  20. Patch, Tyler Gaffalione, 30-1;
  21. AE: Royal Mo, Gary Stevens, 20-1;
  22. AE: Master Plan, John Velazquez, 50-1.