2014 Kentucky Derby Favorites: Breaking Down Top Triple Crown Contenders

Donald WoodFeatured ColumnistApril 27, 2014

In a photo provided by Benoit Photo, California Chrome and jockey Victor Espinoza win the Santa Anita Derby horse race Saturday, April 5, 2014, at Santa Anita in Arcadia, Calif. (AP Photo/Benoit Photo)

The 2014 Kentucky Derby is one of the biggest horse races in the world, and there are several top contenders who will be looking to win the first leg of the vaunted Triple Crown.

With bona fide contenders like California Chrome, Wildcat Red and Wicked Strong all fighting for the chance to be victorious at Churchill Downs, Saturday’s main event will be an incredible battle.

Here are the Kentucky Derby favorites who could not only win Saturday’s big race, but also could go on to win the Triple Crown.


California Chrome

There are several serious contenders in the field for the 2014 Kentucky Derby, but none have the resume that California Chrome brings into the May 3 race. With four straight victories, bettors are clamoring to lay a wager on this horse.

Led by trainer Art Sherman and jockey Victor Espinoza, California Chrome racked up impressive wins in the King Glorious Stakes, California Cup Derby, San Felipe Stakes and Santa Anita Derby and has momentum firmly on his side.

The question will be whether the horse can translate his success to the East Coast.

California Chrome has never competed on a course the length of Churchill Downs (1 1/4 miles), but the conditioning and speed he showed in his previous races should help his endurance for the extended race.


Wildcat Red

After winning four of his first six career races—including the Fountain of Youth Stakes and Hutcheson Stakes—Wildcat Red charged toward the front in the Florida Derby but came up just short with a second-place finish.

With the help of trainer Jose Garoffalo and veteran jockey John Velazquez, Wildcat Red has started to live up to the lofty expectations placed upon him, and a successful run at the Kentucky Derby is a very real possibility.

There have been concerns about Wildcat Red’s ability to work through traffic. But if the horse gets an ideal post draw, there is a good chance he could run toward the front and be in contention for a win Saturday.


Wicked Strong

The biggest Kentucky Derby prep race is the Wood Memorial Stakes, and Wicked Strong dominated the field in that event to earn a spot amongst the top contenders heading into the first leg of the Triple Crown.

Wicked Strong had struggled in his previous starts leading up to the Wood Memorial, and fans looking to make a wager on the race are concerned about his inconsistency. If he gets an ideal post position, though, the risk is worth the potential reward.

Using the support of trainer James Jerkens and jockey Rajiv Maragh, Wicked Strong has the chance to not only steal the show as a surprise winner of the Kentucky Derby, but also a potential Triple Crown champion.


*Stats and information via HorseRacingNation.com.