Watch Kentucky Derby 2017 Live hopefuls Battle of Midway, Royal Mo work Sunday

By | April 18, 2017
Battle of Midway and Royal Mo, second and third in the Kentucky Derby 2017 Santa Anita Derby, each worked Sunday morning for what their connections hope will lead to a position in the starting field of 20 for the 143rd Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 6.Royal Mo’s three furlong effort was too slow to make Santa Anita’s official work tab, which has a cutoff time of 39.80 for that distance. With Gary Stevens in the irons, Royal Mo was timed in just over 41 seconds, with a quarter mile clocking of more than 27 seconds.
“He didn’t go too fast, but it’s no big deal,” said trainer John Shirreffs of Royal Mo’s time. “Gary wanted to work him to become more familiar with him. Normally, I’d put my exercise rider on him, but this is something Gary likes to do.”
Kentucky Derby 2017 Live
 Qualifying points for the Run for the Roses could be an issue, however, for Royal Mo, who, with 30, currently ranks 24th, four spots from No. 20.
“The points are out of our control, but we’ll keep training him with the Kentucky Derby in mind and try to stay on course,” Shirreffs said.
Shirreff’s other Kentucky Derby candidate, Santa Anita Derby winner Gormley, who worked three furlongs Saturday in 37.80, is secure in qualifying points with 125, third behind Girvin (150) and Classic Empire (132).
Battle of Midway, with 40 points, is tied at 17th with four other horses. A son of Smart Strike owned by Rick Porter’s Fox Hill Farms, Battle of Midway went four furlongs in 48.40 under Edgar Rodriguez for Jerry Hollendorfer, who termed it “a maintenance work.”The Kentucky Derby Live is scheduled to take place this afternoon at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Arkansas. It is hard to believe, but with the Florida Derby, Blue Grass Stakes and Wood Memorial already in the rear view mirror, the Arkansas Derby will cap off the Grade 1 stakes schedule before the best horses in America head to Louisville, Kentucky for the annual Kentucky Derby.According to Horse Racing Nation, The Grade 1 Arkansas Derby is the final Oaklawn Park prep race prior to the annual Run for the Roses, and recent history has shown that a good finish in today’s Arkansas Derby can lead to a great 2017 racing year.

The 2017 Kentucky Derby takes place Saturday, May 6 with a post time of 6:34 p.m. Eastern. Keep it here for a full list of horses and the standings for qualifying.

Just two prep races remain with both taking place Saturday, April 15. The only one that will impact the Kentucky Derby qualifying is the Arkansas Derby. There are 170 points at stake in the race with 100 points going to the winner. Second place gets 40 points, third place receives 20 points and fourth place gets 10 points.

While there will be horses that come and go by the time Churchill Downs arrives, fans will at least know the full field of horses that have qualified by the conclusion of the Arkansas Derby.

Unlike last year where there were clear favorites, this year’s Kentucky Derby appears to be more wide open with so many different horses winning significant races like the Florida Derby and Blue Grass Stakes. Despite there being no real leader in the clubhouse, there are a few horses that are expected to do well.

The following five horses are the favorites according to OddsShark: Always Dreaming +600, Irish War Cry +800, McCraken +1200, One Liner +1200 and Classic Empire +1200.

Look for Classic Empire to shoot up the odds after his victory at the Arkansas Derby to punch his ticket to the Kentucky Derby.

Always Dreaming had the most impressive win of prep season with his victory at the Florida Derby. He also has the benefit of being trained by Todd Pletcher.

The winner of the Blue Grass was expected to emerge as a favorite for the Derby but the underdog Irap is all the way down at +2500 despite shocking the field at Keeneland.

Irish War Cry is near the top after winning the Wood Memorial but has had an inconsistent qualifying season.

Here’s a look at the current standings courtesy of the Kentucky Derby heading into the Arkansas Derby. The top 20 horses will qualify for the Kentucky Derby. Heavy will update the leaderboard after today’s races have been completed.

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – Mark Casse, Kentucky Derby Live Stream Oxley and the rest of Classic Empire’s supporters can stop holding their collective breath: The 2-year-old champion is back on the winning trail and once again in the mix for the title of “Kentucky Derby favorite.”Classic Empire overcame a wide trip and overcame Conquest Mo Money in the final strides to win Saturday’s $1 million, Grade I Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park by a half-length.A roller-coaster 3-year-old campaign had dropped Classic Empire from “Kentucky Derby favorite” to “Kentucky Derby bound?” in the eyes of many observers, and the nervousness exhibited by trainer Casse and co-owner Oxley during Saturday’s race was evident.

We run a lot of places, but I was probably a little more nervous,” Casse said. “I went and walked up and down inside, watched it on TV. About the eighth pole everybody around me started looking because I was doing some yelling.

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Added Oxley, a product of Shively: “My knees were about ready to give out. I was standing on those stairs, watching the race and was like, ‘Oh, gosh. I hope I don’t fall over and take six people with me.’”

The anxiety turned to smiles as jockey Julien Leparoux and Classic Empire covered the 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.93 and paid $5.80 as the 9-5 favorite.

Classic Empire capped a 4-for-5 2-year-old campaign with a victory in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, but Casse admitted he considered taking his colt off the Kentucky Derby trail after a grueling winter.

First, there was the unimpressive third-place finish in the Grade II Holy Bull on Feb. 4 at Gulfstream Park. There was a foot injury, and Kentucky Derby 2017 Live Stream there were two mysterious instances in March when he went to the track at the Palm Meadows Training Center in Boynton Beach, Florida, and refused to work.But Casse was encouraged with his colt’s progress after moving him to the Winding Oaks Farm in Ocala, Florida, and Classic Empire backed it up Saturday.

“He just has so much ability,” Casse said. “I knew if we could get him here that he’d be tough. He’s been a challenge, but the last month and a half have been good. … A lot of chapters in the book I’m writing.”

Leparoux said the difference in Classic Empire’s demeanor before the Holy Bull and before Saturday’s race was noticeable.“He walked in the gate and relaxed,” Leparoux said. “He took me to the race. Usually he is a little keen and today he was, which is a good sign for him. In the Holy Bull he was just not himself. … Today I knew I was loaded. I just needed to get there.”Grandpa’s Dream and Conquest Mo Money led a bunched field in the early going, setting fractions of 22.75, 46.92 and 1:11.16.Conquest Mo Money and Malagacy dueled in the final furlong – bumping at one point – before Classic Empire rallied past on the outside. Lookin At Lee rallied for third place, 1 ½ lengths ahead of Sonneteer.

“I wasn’t sure he was going to get there,” Casse said. “I was afraid that maybe late he’d get tired. But it was exciting.”

Classic Empire secured his spot in the May 6 Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs, gaining 100 points for Saturday’s victory. He ranks second in the standings with 132 points, behind Louisiana Derby winner Girvin (150).

Runner-up Conquest Mo Money earned 40 points toward the Derby and now has 60 total, giving him plenty to qualify. However, Conquest Mo Money – trained by Miguel Hernandez – is not yet nominated for the race and would need to be supplemented for $200,000.

Jockey Jorge Carreno, for one, is in favor of heading to Louisville.

“This is a special horse, the best one I have ever been on since I started riding,” Carreno said. “And I fully believe he will keep getting better. I am just going to keep working and hope to get to the Kentucky Derby.”

But the day belonged to Classic Empire, a son of Pioneerof the Nile who improved to 5-0-1 in seven career starts and earned $600,000 for John and Debby Oxley.Casse said Classic Empire will head back to Louisville on Monday, when three weeks of Kentucky Derby preparations will begin.That’s home for him,” Casse said of Louisville. “We’ll get him back there and come up with a game plan. I think the toughest deal is over, Kentucky Derby 2017 Live getting to this point. Now we won’t have to do too much going into the Derby.