Always Dreaming Headed to Louisville as Kentucky Derby Favorite

With just one major prep left to be decided, it appears that the Todd Pletcher trained Always Dreaming will head to Louisville as the betting favorite for the Kentucky Derby (G1) at Churchill Downs.

The colt burst on the scene by winning the Florida Derby (G1) at Gulfstream Park in his stakes debut on April 1 and is now the early betting favorite for the Kentucky Derby at 6-1.

Pletcher has a strong group of Derby contenders this year that also includes Tapwrit (25-1), Malagacy (16-1), Patch (25-1), and Battalion Runner (20-1).

The trainer is a future Hall of Famer and has been the Eclipse Award winning trainer seven times in his career but has struggled in the Run for the Roses.

The trainer has started 45 runners but has managed just one trip to the winner’s circle, with Super Saver in 2010.

Malagacy makes his final prep on Saturday in the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) for Pletcher. The colt won the Rebel (G2) at Oaklawn Park in his last outing and is undefeated in three career starts.

He will take on 2016 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) champion Classic Empire, who has made just one start this year. The early Kentucky Derby betting favorite came up short in a third-place finish in the Holy Bull (G2) in his last outing.

A foot abscess and a bad back put him on the sidelines briefly and he will likely be the betting favorite in the Arkansas Derby.

The colt has drifted up to 12-1 in early Kentucky Derby wagering after being as low as 5-2 at the beginning of the year. A big victory on Saturday could make him a major contender once again and he could rival for favoritism on the first Saturday of May.

Irish War Cry is the current second choice in early Kentucky Derby betting at odds of 8-1. The Graham Motion trainee has had a roller coaster of a season.

He began taking some serious early betting action after his victory in the Holy Bull (G2) in February, but then faded badly to finish seventh beaten 21 ¾ lengths in the Fountain of Youth (G2).

The colt bounced back in a big way in the Wood Memorial (G2) at Aqueduct, winning by 3 ½ lengths and restoring confidence in his backers that he will indeed be a serious Derby threat.

His trainer Graham Motion saddled 2010 Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom who pulled off the upset to the tune of $43.60.

McCraken spent some time as the early betting favorite for the Kentucky Derby after his victory in the Sam F. Davis (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs, but lost some time with a minor ankle injury that knocked him out of the Tampa Bay Derby (G2).

His final Derby prep came in the Toyota Blue Grass (G2) at Keeneland where he finished evenly for a third-place finish.

The colt should move forward off that effort and his early Derby odds are currently 12-1.

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