The Santa Anita Derby is one of the most thrilling horse races each year, and the 2014 edition of the event promises to be exciting as the sport of horse racing prepares for the Kentucky Derby and the entire Triple Crown.
With a prize purse worth $1 million and seven previous Santa Anita Derby winners going on to win the Kentucky Derby, the excitement surrounding this year’s race has whipped hardcore and casual horse racing fans into a frenzy.
Here is all the vital viewing information, the post positions for Saturday’s race, all the betting odds and a preview of the action.
Where: Santa Anita Park, Arcadia, Calif.
When: Saturday, April 5
Post Time: 6:30 p.m. ET
Watch: NBC Sports Network
Live Stream:Horse Racing TV (subscription required)
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Source: Horse Racing Nation
Top Contenders to Watch
Saturday’s favorite in the 2014 Santa Anita Derby is California Chrome. Led by trainer Art Sherman and jockey Victor Espinoza, bettors have flocked to one of the hottest horses in the sport.
After winning just two races through his first six starts in 2013, California Chrome has found his stride and is running well now. Over his last three races—the King Glorious Stakes, California Cup Derby and San Felipe—this horse has been victorious each time.
California Chrome’s owner Steven Coburn told The News and Observer about the strength of his horse:
When this colt breaks and runs, he's just like he's pushbutton. He changes his lead so fast, unless you're looking for it, you'll never see it. Then he's got a beautiful long stride on him. He's very well balanced. Since we've changed jockeys to Victor Espinoza, those two have connected quite well. Victor talks to him when he rides him and the horse listens.
Race announcer Ed Burgart breaks down California Chrome’s chance on Saturday:
Santa Anita Derby field comes up soft on speed foes. California Chrome has big edge IMO. He is effective on or off lead.— Ed Burgart (@qheddie) April 2, 2014
The biggest issue that the horse faces this weekend will be the length of the track. With Santa Anita Park running at 1 1/8 miles long, it will be the longest race of California Chrome’s short career (previous longest was 1 1/16 miles).
If Stamina isn’t an issue, California Chrome will bring home the win.
While California Chrome is stealing all the headlines, one of the top contenders for this year’s Kentucky Derby precursor is Candy Boy.
Who ya got?
Candy Boy lacks the experience that some of the other top horses possess, but a second-place finish in the CashCall Futurity and a win in his last run (February’s Robert B. Lewis Stakes) have momentum on his side.
You can’t go wrong with Candy Boy to show.
The best bet of the entire race is Hoppertunity. While this horse lacks the mainstream notoriety that the other two top contenders possess, the 3-1 odds are incredible for a horse that could easily run to a victory.
Led by one of the most respected trainers in Bob Baffert and ridden by legendary jockey Mike Smith, Hoppertunity has the right mixture of experience and talent to run his way into contention at the end of the derby.
While a tough run in the Risen Star Stakes resulted in a fourth-place finish, Hoppertunity bounced back with an incredible race to win the Rebel Stakes on March 15. If the short layoff in between races doesn’t cause a stamina issue, this horse will contend for the victory.
*Stats via HorseRacingNation.com.