Classic Empire trains at Churchill Downs on May 2, 2017 - Coady photo
Pioneerof the Nile's Classic Empire was made the morning line favorite in Saturday's $2 million Kentucky Derby (G1), which drew a full field of 20 3-year-olds seeking victory in the first leg of the Triple Crown.
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Classic Empire is looking to follow in the footsteps of American Pharoah, Pioneerof the Nile's legendary 2015 Derby winner who would go on to win the Triple Crown and Horse of the Year honors.
Classic Empire's trainer Mark Casse was rather succinct in his assessment of his colt spot in post 14.
“It’s a good spot,” Casse said. “A couple of key contenders are outside of us, which is kind of nice.”
Classic Empire has been nearly flawless in his career for his owner John Oxley. He has won five of seven starts, including three Grade 1 events, and was the 2016 Eclipse Award winner for 2-year-old Male. He has earned $2,120,220, more than any other Derby entrant.
Julien Leparoux, who has ridden Classic Empire in six of his seven races, will ride on Saturday.
The 143rd Run for the Roses will be televised live on NBC and is race 12, with a scheduled post of 6:46 p.m. ET.