Kentucky Derby 2014 Contenders: Compelling Odds for Top Horses in the Field

Sean ODonnellContributor IIIApril 28, 2014

In this image provided by Benoit Photo, California Chrome, ridden by Victor Espinoza, leads wire-to-wire to win the San Felipe Stakes horse race Saturday, March 8, 2014 at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif. (AP Photo/Benoit Photo) ©Benoit Photo
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We're still waiting for the official draw on April 30 to know exactly which contenders will be competing in the 2014 Kentucky Derby; however, it's never too early to begin assessing the odds.

There are several top contenders in this year's event—most notably the dominant California Chrome.

Oddsmakers have recognized this and have released early lines. Here's a look at how OddsShark.com sees the field shaking out:

2014 Kentucky Derby Odds
ContenderOdds
California Chrome7-4
Danza8-1
Wicked Strong8-1
Vicars In Trouble10-1
Hoppertunity14-1
Dance With Fate16-1
Wildcat Red16-1
Intense Holiday20-1
Samraat20-1
Social Inclusion20-1
Tapiture20-1
Bayern25-1
Candy Boy25-1
Chitu25-1
General A Rod25-1
Ride On Curlin25-1
Ring Weekend25-1
Medal Count33-1
Mexikoma33-1
Strong Mandate33-1
We Miss Artie33-1
Uncle Sigh40-1
Noble Moon50-1
Tap It Rich50-1
OddsShark.com

It comes as no surprise to see California Chrome with the best odds by far.

This horse has been on a tear recently—not only earning victories, but doing so in decisive fashion.

During the Santa Anita Derby, California Chrome hung with the front of the pack before pulling away by multiple lengths to leave the field in the dust. Here's a look at the masterful performance:

Bill Dwyre of the Los Angeles Times came away immensely impressed with California Chrome following the victory, writing this of his dominance:

 

[California Chrome] 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.

High praise, indeed.

Even with low 7-4 odds, this looks to be a can't-miss contender. California Chrome looks to not only take the Kentucky Derby but to make a run at the Triple Crown.

Three-year-old colt Wicked Strong looks to be a major contender as well.

Wicked Strong earned an impressive win at Belmont Park in October and came back strong in April with another win in the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct.

The second victory was a big one for this colt as other Kentucky Derby contenders, Samraat and Social Inclusion, were also in the race. Here's a look at Wicked Strong's performance:

The magnificent burst down the final furlong bodes well for Wicked Strong's endurance heading into the Kentucky Derby. At 8-1 odds, this horse is worth keeping an eye on.

Another horse to watch is Danza, coming in with early 8-1 odds.

Danza overcame a knee injury last year and has flourished after fully recovering.

Most recently, Danza earned a decisive victory in the highly competitive Arkansas Derby, defeating Kentucky Derby hopeful Ride On Curlin by 4 3/4 lengths. Danza proved to be capable of maintaining pace with the pack but is also a strong closer.

Here's a look at Danza's performance in the Arkansas Derby:

Danza's sparkling performance here certainly bodes well entering the Kentucky Derby. It's tough to bet against this horse with early 8-1 odds.