238th ENGLISH DERBY

The Investec Epsom Derby (the English Derby) bills itself as “the greatest flat race in the world.”  It certainly is the most famous and prestigious turf race.  The 238th edition will be run on Saturday June 3, 2017, at 4:30 PM (British time).  The race covers 1 mile 4 furlongs and 10 yards and has a purse of £1,625,000, the richest race ever in Great Britain.

The 20-entry field is dominated by three interests.  Coolmore Stud and its trainer Aidan O’Brien have seven horses entered; Godolphin has three entries; and trainer John Gosden trains five entries for various owners.  Thus these three account for 75% of the entries.  If that is not enough, Aidan O’Brien’s oldest son, Joseph, a two-time winner of the Epsom Derby as a jockey, trains another entry, though one not owned by Coolmore.

Aidan O’Brien and John Gosden have trained four of the last five winners of the Epsom Derby and Coolmore (and its partner Michael Tabor) are the all-time leading owners with six wins.

The chances for another victory by Aidan O’Brien or John Gosden are favorable, given they together train 60% of the field.  Currently, the Gosden-trained Cracksman is the favorite and the O’Brien-trained Cliffs of Moher is the second favorite.  Cracksman is a tepid choice and there is an opportunity in the large field for unexpected results.

The Epsom Derby is an elegant event on turf with the Queen always in attendance, and is always worth watching.

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