Kentucky Derby Odds: California Chrome Solid Betting Favorite

Michael DempseyFeatured ColumnistApril 23, 2014

In a photo provided by Benoit Photo, California Chrome and jockey Victor Espinoza win the $250,000 California Cup Derby horse race, Saturday, Jan. 25, 2014, at Santa Anita in Arcadia, Calif. (AP Photo/Benoit Photo)

Heading into the 140th Kentucky Derby, which will be run on Saturday, May 3, the betting public has squarely landed on Santa Anita Derby (G1) winner California Chrome as the solid betting favorite. The early betting price has dropped to 7-4 according to the latest Derby betting odds posted at OddsShark

In a 20-horse field with mostly inexperienced three-year-olds that have never gone 1 1/4 miles in their career, it is going to be very tough to take such a short price on the betting favorite.  

As the betting price on California Chrome continues to drop, that means the price on other contenders is on the rise. Here is a trio of runners that should get a good look on the first Saturday of May:



Danny Johnston

Currently at betting odds of 14-1, according to the latest Derby prices at OddsShark, this colt may offer some betting value. Hoppertunity is trained by Bob Baffert, a three-time Derby-winning trainer. His last win in the Run for the Roses came in 2002 with War Emblem.

The colt won the Rebel Stakes (G2) at Oaklawn Park, and instead of heading back to Hot Springs for the Arkansas Derby (G1), Baffert elected to keep him in Southern California for the Santa Anita Derby.

The only problem with that was it also was California Chrome’s final prep, and Hoppertunity had to settle for second, beaten 5 1/4 lengths. However, the race should serve as a good prep, and the colt will come into Louisville next week primed for a top effort.


Candy Boy

This colt also ran in the Santa Anita Derby, beaten 8 3/4 lengths by California Chrome and 3 1/2 lengths by Hoppertunity. Can this colt turn the tables? He just may be worth a look as he is currently listed at betting odds of 25-1, according to OddsShark.

Candy Boy has a solid foundation as a juvenile capped off by a good second in the CashCall Futurity (G1) behind Shared Belief, who was the early betting favorite for the Kentucky Derby at the time.

His three-year-old debut was a solid victory in the Robert B. Lewis (G2) over the Santa Anita main track. He beat Chitu, who came back to win the Sunland Derby (G3) in his next outing.

The colt may be sneaking into the race a bit under the radar, landing 17th in the 2014 Kentucky Derby Points Standings. The colt did not lock in a Derby starting spot until the final round of Derby preps had been decided thanks to a couple of defections.

While his sire Candy Ride did win the Pacific Classic (G1) at 1 1/4 miles, most of the sire’s best runners have been best at a mile or shorter. However, this colt will be making just his third start of the year and the 25-1 odds look fair enough to give him a look.


Ride On Curlin

While this colt is 0-for-3 in Derby preps this year, he ran well in each of those outings and is currently listed at 25-1 in Derby betting at OddsShark.

Ride On Curlin showed some promise as a juvenile running third in the Champagne (G1) at Belmont Park last fall, and his last two starts have been creditable.

Last out in the Arkansas Derby (G1), the colt was bumped coming out of the gate, stalked the early pace toward the outside, came with a six-wide run and finished up well for the runner-up spot behind upset winner Danza. Two back in the Rebel, the colt had the lead heading for home but drifted out and weakened to finish third, beaten a length by Hoppertunity.

Ride On Curlin will be reunited with Calvin Borel, who last rode the colt in his third place finish in the Southwest (G3) at Oaklawn Park back in February. Borel was aboard for his maiden win last summer at Ellis Park.

Borel has booted home the Derby winner in three of the last seven years.  A popular jockey at Churchill Downs, the betting public may be attracted to this colt on Derby Day, but the 25-1 odds now look like decent enough value.


Follow Michael Dempsey on Twitter @turfnsport