The field for the 2014 Kentucky Derby hasn’t been finalized yet, but the top contenders and most talented horses in the hunt for the Triple Crown have already announced their intentions for the race on Saturday, May 3.
While the headlines are being stolen by top favorites like California Chrome and Wildcat Red, there are serious challengers like Hoppertunity, Chitu and Candy Boy that will be fighting for their shot at cementing a spot in history.
Here is a look at the horses attempting to make the field for the Kentucky Derby and a preview of the dark-horse contenders vying for the Triple Crown.
|11||Vicar's In Trouble||Probable|
|62||Dance With Fate||Probable|
|147||We Miss Artie||Possible|
|421||Ride On Curlin||Probable|
|303||General A Rod||Goal|
One of the most underrated horses entered in the 2014 Kentucky Derby is Hoppertunity. After finishing second in the Santa Anita Derby (G1) to California Chrome, the horse is finally starting to get the respect he deserves.
Not only did Hoppertunity finish second in his last race, but he also managed to win the Rebel Stakes (G2) March 15. There are several horses with momentum coming into Saturday’s race, but few have as much raw skill as the Bob Baffert-trained colt.
With a bona fide legend like Baffert training him and a veteran jockey like Mike Smith on his back, Hoppertunity will be one of the outside contenders that rises to the occasion and could steal the show as the winner of the Kentucky Derby.
Another Baffert-trained horse that should be considered an outside contender is Chitu. Few horse racing fans know much about this three-year-old colt, but he has made a serious impact in his short career.
Chitu finished second in February’s Robert B. Lewis Stakes—his first Group 2 or above race—and went on to win the Sunland Derby (G3). The Sunland race (1 1/8 miles) was the longest race of the horse’s career and will help at the even longer Churchill Downs (1 1/4 miles).
While the lack of experience may be an issue for the horse when he gets into traffic early, with elite speed and strength shown in the previous races, Chitu is one of the dark-horse contenders that could walk away victorious.
One of the more experienced horses in the field is Candy Boy. After finishing second in the CashCall Futurity Stakes (G1), he went on to win the Robert B. Lewis Stakes (G2) before finishing third at the Santa Anita Derby (G1).
Candy Boy is trained by John Sadler and has been ridden by legendary jockey Gary Stevens, and coupled with his overall racing experience, this is one of the most underrated horses in the 2014 field.
The biggest question surrounding Candy Boy is his ability to run strong for the entire 1 1/4-mile distance. If his consistency is there Saturday, he has the speed and starting ability out of the gates to be a major contender.
*Stats and information via HorseRacingNation.com.