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No Clear Favorite Predicted for Kentucky Derby 

  • VOA News

Exercise rider Martin Rivera gallops Kentucky Derby entrant Classic Empire at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., May 4, 2017. The Kentucky Derby horse race is set for Saturday.

The Kentucky Derby, the first of three annual major horse races in the United States, takes place Saturday without a dominant runner.

Classic Empire, at odds of 4-1, is the narrow favorite in the opener of the U.S. Triple Crown, as the three races are known.

Two horses, Always Dreaming and McCraken, are the second choices at 5-1.

The 20-horse field lacks a dominant horse following winter preparatory races.

The last four Derby races have all been won by the favorite. However, without a dominant runner in the race, spectators and bettors are looking at the possibility of a long-shot win this year.

The underdogs include Patch, rated 30-1, a one-eyed horse who drew as his starting gate No. 20, the outside gate. Patch will not be able to see any of his competition at the start of the race because of his left eye patch and lane draw.

Patch’s trainer, Todd Pletcher, has two other horses in the race, 5-1 shot Always Dreaming, and 20-1 odds Tapwrit.

Another trainer, Steve Asmussen, has three horses in the race, all long shots.

Weather could play a role in Saturday’s race, with an estimated 60 percent chance of rain Friday night and a 40 percent chance of showers Saturday.

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