California Chrome has solidified himself as the early betting favorite for the 140th Kentucky Derby which is just three weeks away, but Saturday’s $1 million Arkansas Derby could produce a formidable foe for the Santa Anita Derby winner.
After California Chrome’s tour de force in the Santa Anita Derby, the early betting price on the colt for the Run for the Roses has shrunk to 3-1, according to Odds Shark.
Saturday’s Arkansas Derby is the final major Kentucky Derby prep. There are several talented three-year-olds that could jump up and take some serious last-minute betting action in the Kentucky Derby future pools.
Let’s look at the top three contenders in Saturday’s Arkansas Derby.
The Steve Asmussen trainee is the 9-5 morning line favorite for the Arkansas Derby. The colt is coming off a runner-up finish in the Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park in his last outing. He won the Southwest over the surface, and a strong performance in his final prep will send him to Louisville as a major player.
The colt has something that California Chrome does not have—a victory over the Churchill Downs main track. The colt won the Kentucky Jockey Club last November and ran a good third in the Iroquois over the surface.
Tapiture is currently priced at 20-1 for the Run for the Roses, but that price is sure to drop with a big effort on Saturday.
Trained by Bob Baffert, this colt must run well on Saturday to make it into the field for the Kentucky Derby. The colt starts in his first Derby prep points race, and a top-two finish will assure he makes it to Louisville.
The colt broke his maiden in his debut and then destroyed first-level allowance company by 15 lengths in his last outing. The colt appears to have a ton of upside, but has a historical trend going against him.
No horse has won the Kentucky Derby without racing as a two-year-old since Apollo pulled off the feat in 1882. Winning the Run for the Roses in just four career starts is no small task.
However, the colt does have the right trainer in his corner. Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert has won the Kentucky Derby three times and is always dangerous when shipping horses to Oaklawn Park. He won the 2012 Arkansas Derby with Bodemeister.
The colt is currently listed at 16-1 in Kentucky Derby future wagering, according to KentuckyDerbyOdds.ca.
The D. Wayne Lukas trainee has lost four in a row and finished behind Tapiture in his last two starts, but he did get squeezed back inside the final furlong last out in the Rebel Stakes, where he checked in fourth.
The colt brings an attractive pedigree to the party, by two-time Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Tiznow out of the multiple stakes winner Clear Mandate, who won over $1 million. It also does not hurt to be saddled by Lukas, a Hall of Fame trainer who has won the Kentucky Derby four times.
Currently listed at 25-1 in Derby future betting, the colt just needs a better trip in his third start over the Oaklawn Park main track, and this colt will take some action in three weeks for the two most exciting minutes in sports.