Kentucky Derby 2014: Analyzing Field of Contenders and Favorites to Win

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Kentucky Derby 2014: Analyzing Field of Contenders and Favorites to Win
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As the 2014 Kentucky Derby approaches, our intrigue in the potential field intensifies, and our thirst for mint juleps increase.

One of these cravings can be settled rather quickly with some bourbon whiskey, some mint leaves and granulated sugar; however, we will have to wait until the official draw on April 30 to know exactly which horses will be competing.

Until then, it's never too early to gather information, look at potential candidates and decipher the favorites for this year's spectacle.

KentuckyDerby.com catalogs the field of contenders based on season rankings. Plenty of the Derby's participants will most certainly come from this list:

2014 Kentucky Derby Contenders
Contender Season Ranking Season Points
California Chrome 1 150
Vicar's In Trouble 2 120
Dance With Fate 3 108
Wicked Strong 4 102
Samraat 5 100
Danza 6 100
Hoppertunity 7 95
Intense Holiday 8 93
Wildcat Red 9 90
We Miss Artie 10 60
Ride On Curlin 11 55
Chitu 12 54
Tapiture 13 52
Ring Weekend 14 50
General A Rod 15 40
Medal Count 16 40
Candy Boy 17 30
Uncle Sigh 18 24
Vinceremos 19 20
Harry's Holiday 20 20
Commanding Curve 21 20
Pablo Del Monte 22 20
Bayern 23 20
Social Inclusion 24 20
Big Bazinga 25 14
Strong Mandate 26 11

KentuckyDerby.com

Despite these standings, odds for the Derby bring plenty of other factors into play. Oddsmakers have already been hard at work figuring out which contenders have the best shots to don roses on May 3. Here's how OddsShark.com sees it:

2014 Kentucky Derby Odds
Contender Odds
California Chrome 7-4
Danza 8-1
Wicked Strong 8-1
Vicars In Trouble 10-1
Hoppertunity 14-1
Dance With Fate 16-1
Wildcat Red 16-1
Intense Holiday 20-1
Samraat 20-1
Social Inclusion 20-1
Tapiture 20-1
Bayern 25-1
Candy Boy 25-1
Chitu 25-1
General A Rod 25-1
Ride On Curlin 25-1
Ring Weekend 25-1
Medal Count 33-1
Mexikoma 33-1
Strong Mandate 33-1
We Miss Artie 33-1
Uncle Sigh 40-1
Noble Moon 50-1
Tap It Rich 50-1

OddsShark.com

The barns are already filling out at Churchill Downs, according to Jonathan Lintner of The Courier-Journal, who tweeted out a list of who's in attendance:

The last line of Lintner's tweet relates to what everyone is waiting for: the arrival of California Chrome.

California Chrome is widely heralded as the horse to beat this year—with good reason.

According to Bill Dwyre of the Los Angeles Times, this horse has been nothing short of miraculous recently:

He [California Chrome] will be the favorite in Saturday's Kentucky Derby in Louisville.

That is because he has won his last four races by a total of 24 1/4 lengths. He won the April 5 Santa Anita Derby like somebody rolling out of bed and warming up with a yawn and a quick stretch. Other jockeys urge and whip their horses down the homestretch. California Chrome's Victor Espinoza ends races half-standing in the saddle, looking lonely.

So, why is this horse so dominant? When Dwyre asked trainer Art Sherman about California Chrome, he was given a succinct, decisive answer:

"This horse is one of those who has a deep, deep desire to run."

Don't believe the hype? Just watch exactly why Dwyre wrote what he did about California Chrome's Santa Anita Derby performance:

Astonishing.

California Chrome may be the favorite; however, there are plenty of horses with legitimate shots at a coveted victory.

Will California Chrome take the win?

Submit Vote vote to see results

Wicked Strong, Danza and Vicar's In Trouble have all shined at times this season, each posting a victory. Hoppertunity figures to have a strong showing as well; however, the horse hasn't been able to keep up with the blazing pace set by California Chrome just yet. Candy Boy, Bayern and Chitu could be in the mix on May 3, too.

Even with these contenders in mind, it appears as though California Chrome's separation from the field in previous races has separated this spectacular horse from the rest of the Kentucky Derby's field as well.

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