Kentucky Derby Odds 2014: Latest Betting Lines and Predictions

Brendan O'MearaFeatured ColumnistApril 27, 2014

Kentucky Derby Odds 2014: Latest Betting Lines and Predictions

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    California Chrome after winning the Santa Anita Derby.
    California Chrome after winning the Santa Anita Derby.Associated Press

    It feels like just yesterday that Orb came charging like a locomotive to win the Kentucky Derby. And here we are getting ready to do it yet again in 2014. 

    This is a competitive group of three-year-olds, but there is one, California Chrome, that is head and withers above this field. He's reminiscent of Big Brown in 2008 without the sliminess that came with Big Brown's connections (trainer Rick Dutrow and the ownership group IEAH). 

    Ahead, you'll find the latest odds, as provided by Odds Shark, and a breakdown of how the 20 horses will perform. Now, these predictions can change based on post position. If California Chrome draws Post 1, that will greatly affect his chances. Seeing as we won't know until Wednesday where these horses will break, all we can do is speculate and predict based on their past performances.

    Independent of post position, here are the 20 horses and how they're expected to perform Saturday.

    This slideshow was updated to reflect the defection of Ring Weekend who suffered a fever. The scratch allowed Commanding Curve entry to the race.

    Also, the odds have also been updated on April 28 courtesy of Odds Shark.

California Chrome

1 of 20

    Current Odds: 11-4

    Kentucky Derby Points: 150

    Prediction: First

    California Chrome is the favorite on the morning line for a reason. The San Felipe Stakes and the Santa Anita Derby were two of the most impressive preps leading up to the Kentucky Derby. 

    What both races proved was California Chrome's ability to get to—or near—the lead and avoid major traffic problems. That is crucial in a 20-horse field. Not only that, but his cruising speed is unparalleled in this year's crop of sophomores. He can comfortably lope along while others are vigorously shaken just to keep pace. 

    He'll be in the first flight of horses in Kentucky and have enough left to kick home. The only question will be by how many lengths. 

    Art Sherman, trainer of California Chrome told Churchill Downs:

    If you’ve been around this horse, if you've been around horses in general, you know they all have their own personalities. This horse just has a wonderful personality; an excellent demeanor. He’s so easy going, so laid back. Nothing seems to bother him.

    I think he’ll walk on that airplane tomorrow morning and think nothing of it. He'll just get on and go. And when he gets to Churchill Downs, he’ll look around and know he’s at a racetrack and feel right at home. That’s the way he is.

Danza

2 of 20

    Jockey Joe Bravo up on Arkansas Derby winner Danza.
    Jockey Joe Bravo up on Arkansas Derby winner Danza.Associated Press

    Current Odds: 9-1

    Kentucky Derby Points: 100

    Prediction: Sixth

    The Arkansas Derby produced a Kentucky Derby winner 10 years ago in Smarty Jones, but it hasn't had one since. It's had some electric performances from winners, though, most notably Bodemeister in 2011. He nearly wired the Derby field while setting record fractions.

    In this year's Arkansas Derby, Danza, with Joe Bravo up, coasted along down on the inside behind tepid fractions for a Grade 1 stake. As the field began to make its move, Danza waited. Then, as a hole opened up on the fence, Bravo slipped him through the daylight, a gutsy and classy move that proved Danza is, as the racecaller said, "The Boss."

    There are other horses here that are fresher and may have more tactical speed. It wouldn't be a surprise if Danza gets up for a piece, but expect him to be in the top half of this field at the very least.

Wicked Strong

3 of 20

    Current Odds: 7-1

    Kentucky Derby Points: 102

    Prediction: Seventh

    Wicked Strong has an exciting running style. He'll wait toward the back, hope for fast fractions and come bombing down the home stretch late. Wicked Strong, a son of Hard Spun, finished third in the Remsen (at Aqueduct) as a two-year-old in November. He won the Wood Memorial this year (at Aqueduct) in impressive fashion, but that raises the question: Is he a horse for the course or a viable threat in the Derby?

    He's raised other red flags. According to Doug Salvatore, Wicked Strong:

    ... didn't acclimate well in Florida. Bettors were left scratching their heads after he barely lifted a hoof in a 15 length drubbing at 4/1 odds in the Holy Bull. He returned in an entry level allowance race, and ran much improved, while finishing fourth. Next out Florida Derby winner Constitution set an easy and unpressured pace in that allowance race, and Wicked Strong ran better than given credit for. However, it is a little disconcerting that he turned in a non-effort the first time he shipped out of New York.

    One thing is certain: He will face a lot of traffic in the Derby based on his running style. He'll take a lot of dirt or mud in the face. He does have a strong kick, so Larry Collmus will be calling his name late, but it will be too late for him to catch the leaders.

Vicar's in Trouble

4 of 20

    Vicar's in Trouble (center) turns for home.
    Vicar's in Trouble (center) turns for home.Associated Press

    Current Odds: 20-1

    Kentucky Derby Points: 120

    Prediction: Ninth

    The Louisiana Derby path is a perplexing one. Horses that win this race simply don't perform particularly well at Churchill Downs. Maybe it's the relatively soft competition versus Florida, Arkansas and New York. Who knows.

    But Rosie Napravnik, Vicar's in Trouble's jockey, is getting better and better at riding the Derby. Just last year, she had the highest finish ever by a female rider, placing fifth aboard MyLute. She has a reputation for getting more out of her horses than any other rider.

    Vicar's in Trouble set the pace in the Louisiana Derby and kicked clear of the field to win by three lengths. Napravnik rationed his speed well, but he likely won't get that kind of a rest on the front end in the Derby and will tire late. 

Hoppertunity

5 of 20

    Current Odds: 10-1

    Kentucky Derby Points: 95

    Prediction: Eighth

    Hoppertunity is one of most well-traveled colts in this year's field. He won the Rebel Stakes in Arkansas March 15. Then he shipped to California for the Santa Anita Derby and finished second to California Chrome, a race where even the great Affirmed may have finished second (hyperbole alert).

    His trainer, Bob Baffert, knows a thing or two about winning a Kentucky Derby, so Hoppertunity is without question a threat, as are any of the horses in the top 10.

    Hoppertunity showed a ton of guts in the Rebel, trading sweat and bumping flanks with Tapiture before winning by a head. He can rate off the pace, but there are others primed for a slightly better effort.

Dance With Fate

6 of 20

    Dance With Fate winning the Bluegrass Stakes.
    Dance With Fate winning the Bluegrass Stakes.Associated Press

    Current Odds: 20-1

    Kentucky Derby Points: 108

    Prediction: Fifth

    Here's the deal: Dance With Fate won the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland, once the Kentucky Derby prep three weeks out. Since Keeneland changed its racing surface to Polytrack (an artificial, rubberized surface), the cache of running at Keeneland has gone by way of Pepsi Clear

    Horses who run big on Polytrack tend to have great successive efforts on dirt. Enter Dance With Fate. He ran a huge Bluegrass coming off the pace and stands to move forward off that effort. As a closer, he'll face some traffic. That will compromise his trajectory down the home stretch, but he's going to come running hard and will be a factor late.

    The good news, as an aside, Keeneland plans on changing its surface back to dirt. That will make this once-great Derby prep viable again.

Wildcat Red

7 of 20

    Current Odds: 20-1

    Kentucky Derby Points: 90

    Prediction: Second

    Some horses have guts, and Wildcat Red is one of them. Some people feel he may have distance limitations. Frankly, most horses today have distance limitations and they still run the Derby at 10 furlongs. Wildcat Red is a forwardly placed horse who doesn't show any quit when the hoof meets the road.

    His win in the Fountain of Youth over General a Rod (see above) illustrates his determination. Many people will have Wildcat Red far down their lists, but heart and muscle sometimes trump pedigree. People said the same thing about Smarty Jones, and he came within one length of winning the Triple Crown.

    Wildcat Red will be near the lead and fight the entire way around the oval before succumbing to California Chrome.

Intense Holiday

8 of 20

    Current Odds: 18-1

    Kentucky Derby Points: 93

    Prediction: 10th

    Of the many closers in this field, Intense Holiday is the one that doesn't inspire a ton of confidence. He was all out to win the Risen Star and didn't come close to Vicar's in Trouble in the Louisiana Derby. That said, he didn't have a ton of pace to attack.

    The Derby always has a hot pace, and that gives him a puncher's chance at being in the mix in the later half of the race. But I still favor several others, despite his penchant for digging in the final furlong.

Samraat

9 of 20

    Current Odds: 16-1

    Kentucky Derby Points: 100

    Prediction: 15th

    Samraat lost for the first time in the Wood Memorial to Wicked Strong. He put in a gallant effort to finish second. Anyone who follows New York racing knows he's a fighter. Like Wildcat Red, he's gutsy and a thrill to watch.

    In this spot, with all the speed he'll encounter and all the traffic, he could be in an all-out drive to finish, say, 10th, but it's likely he'll be eased a bit to gallop home to focus on other races down the pipe. He could be a viable Preakness/Haskell horse depending on how he exits the Derby. 

    This race? Too much to handle for this fun-to-watch colt.

Harry's Holiday

10 of 20

    Current Odds: 50-1

    Kentucky Derby Points: 20

    Prediction: 20th

    Harry's Holiday was second in the Spiral behind We Miss Artie. Harry's Holiday tried valiantly to hold off We Miss Artie down the stretch, but he has failed to move forward off that race. He finished a distant 13th in the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland. 

    Maybe he'll move forward once he hits dirt, but, then again, he's not as fast as the rest of this field, so it's likely he'll be struggling to keep pace.

Tapiture

11 of 20

    Tapiture with trainer Steve Asmussen
    Tapiture with trainer Steve AsmussenAssociated Press

    Current Odds: 28-1

    Kentucky Derby Points: 52

    Prediction: 11th

    Tapiture could be dangerous. or he could be a middling interloper. He won the Southwest February 17 before finishing second in the Rebel and fourth in the Arkansas Derby. His form appears to be spiraling downward, just like Steve Asmussen's reputation.

    Tapiture may blossom later in the year, or he may simply be a nice Grade 2 or Grade 3 winner in the summer and fall. Who knows. But for now, he's going in the wrong direction, while others are peaking.

Vinceremos

12 of 20

    Current Odds: 50-1

    Kentucky Derby Points: 20

    Prediction: 18th

    Vinceremos was on the bubble to get into the Derby with just 20 points to his credit. He earned those points by finishing second to Ring Weekend in the Tampa Bay Derby. Ring Weekend got loose on the lead, which makes his win—and Vinceremos' loss—less significant, but it's what happened next to Vinceremos that should concern possible backers.

    His trainer, Todd Pletcher, ran him in the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland, where Vinceremos ran the clunker of all clunkers, finishing dead last. He likely had an excuse since he ran on Polytrack, but he doesn't scream contender the way several other horses do in this race. 

Candy Boy

13 of 20

    Current Odds: 25-1

    Kentucky Derby Points: 30

    Prediction: 16th

    Candy Boy does have one win to his credit on the long road to the Kentucky Derby. In that race, the Robert B. Lewis Stakes, he showed patience and a strong kick to defeat Chitu, the eventual winner of the Sunland Derby. 

    Candy Boy's latest effort was a distant fourth place to California Chrome. In this Kentucky Derby, he appears to be overmatched and will finish in the back quarter of the field come May 3.

Chitu

14 of 20

    Current Odds: 33-1

    Kentucky Derby Points: 54

    Prediction: 13th

    Chitu was a game second in the Robert B. Lewis before taking his talents to New Mexico for the Sunland Derby, a race he won by two lengths. 

    He has a favorable running style that can put him in the mix without compromising too much of his early speed. His loss to Candy Boy in the Robert B. Lewis does him no favors, as Candy Boy came out of that race only to lose to California Chrome and Hoppertunity in the Santa Anita Derby. 

    The Derby will get away from Chitu in the final three-eighths, and he'll finish toward the back in the second half of the herd.

General a Rod

15 of 20

    Current Odds: 33-1

    Kentucky Derby Points: 40

    Prediction: Third

    Of the many closers in this field, few are as gritty as General a Rod. He's never run a bad race, and he's liable to lock horns with old rival Wildcat Red as things get serious turning for home. 

    The horses that get up for second, third and fourth show their character and heart to finish a race of this calibre. General a Rod, though not respected by some, has an intangible quality that trainers love to see in their horses.

    He'll be charging late. Expect him to hit the board. 

Ride on Curlin

16 of 20

    Current Odds: 20-1

    Kentucky Derby Points: 55

    Prediction: Fourth

    I love this horse. Like General a Rod, he's never run a bad race. He finished third in the Champagne as a two-year-old, second in the Southwest, third in the Rebel and second in the Arkansas Derby.

    He's steadily progressing and could miss some people's eyes. His sire, Curlin, was third in the Kentucky Derby, first in the Preakness and was beaten by a nose in the Belmont. 

    On top of that, he gets Mr. Churchill Downs himself, Calvin Borel, who's won three Kentucky Derbys, as his jock in the Derby. He'll be running hard late, and you know he'll be down on the fence. Dangerous.

Commanding Curve

17 of 20

    Current Odds: 40-1

    Kentucky Derby Points: 20

    Prediction: 14th

    Commanding Curve snuck into the Derby when Ring Weekend dropped out of the running with a fever. One horse's misfortune is another's opportunity.

    Commanding Curve barely had enough points to get in with 20 loping home third in the Louisiana Derby behind Vicar's in Trouble. 

    He's hard to endorse, but he's a closer and he'll get some pace to run into, so it's anybody's guess where he'll finish. He'll most likely finish in the back of the herd.

Medal Count

18 of 20

    Current Odds: 40-1

    Kentucky Derby Points: 40

    Prediction: 12th

    It's hard to get behind the horses that prep on Polytrack, save for maybe the winner, and Medal Count did not win his last race in the Blue Grass Stakes. 

    He ran on nicely to finish second, but he appears to be overmatched. Depending on how things shake out, he could finish anywhere from 10th to 20th. Let's go with 12th.

We Miss Artie

19 of 20

    Current Odds: 40-1

    Kentucky Derby Points: 60

    Prediction: 19th

    We Miss Artie won the Spiral at Turfway Park. Sure, Animal Kingdom, the 2011 Derby winner, won this race on Polytrack before his Derby win at Churchill, but We Miss Artie is by Artie Schiller, a Breeders' Cup champion turf horse.

    After his latest work, he did not earn any more respect from his trainer, Todd Pletcher. Pletcher told Churchill Downs

    I wasn't that happy with (his) effort. It might have been a combination of how he handled the (dirt) track and how well Intense Holiday worked alongside him. I just expected more from (We Miss Artie). I'm not sure at all if he should be running in the Derby. I'll talk to Mr. Ramsey (owner Ken Ramsey) and we'll
    see.

    He runs best on synthetics, and that's not going to be enough to get it done here.

Uncle Sigh

20 of 20

    Current Odds: 40-1

    Kentucky Derby Points: 24

    Prediction: 17th

    Uncle Sigh had no chance when he lost the Wood since he got left at the gate after a poor break. His second-place finish to a gritty Samraat in the Gotham was admirable, but Uncle Sigh is in the deep end of the pool now.

    His sire, Indian Charlie, was a sprinter, so Uncle Sigh's best distances may be far shorter than the 10 furlongs he'll face in the Derby. Expect him to trail off and be one of the horses galloping home to save gas for future campaigns.