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:
|Vicars In Trouble||10-1|
|Dance With Fate||16-1|
|General A Rod||25-1|
|Ride On Curlin||25-1|
|We Miss Artie||33-1|
|Tap It Rich||50-1|
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 arrived at CD at 5:30a this morning for @Centennial_Farm. Jimmy Jerkens told me "everything is good" via text message.— Joaquin Jaime (@JoaquinTVG) April 27, 2014
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.
Danza went well, easily got the best of Vinceremos, 1/2 :49.07 out 1:12.26 up 1:16.04.— Mike Welsch (@DRFWelsch) April 27, 2014
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.