The 2014 Kentucky Derby is nearly here, and it’s time to start identifying the horses you plan to bet on in the prestigious race this weekend.
Fortunately, Vegas has been constantly updating its lines for some time now and allowing opportunistic bettors to start backing their favorite contenders ahead of the Triple Crown event.
While we won’t know exactly which horses will be participating or where they will line up until the draw on Wednesday, you can still get an idea of the prices on some of the best horses projected to be in the field.
Keep reading for a look at the updated odds and some advice on which horses to put your money behind on Saturday.
Note: Odds courtesy of Odds Shark.
|Vicars In Trouble||10-1|
|Dance with Fate||16-2|
|General A Rod||25-1|
|Ride On Curlin||25-1|
|We Miss Artie||33-1|
|Tap It Rich||50-1|
Odds as of April 28. OddsShark.com
Long Shot of Note: Ride on Curlin (25-1)
Ride on Curlin is a very intriguing colt that bettors should keep a close eye on during the draw. He’s a currently a long shot at 25-1 odds but could shoot up the favorites list if he lands close to the rail.
The reasoning behind that is simple—jockey Calvin Borel is a wizard when he has an opportunity to ride along it and has engineered a number of thrilling finishes via that method.
The 47-year-old Borel already has three Kentucky Derby victories to his name and will be looking to claim a fourth when the most exciting two minutes in sports concludes on Saturday. He may have found a great horse to accomplish that goal with in Ride on Curlin.
The three-year-old colt is plenty experienced, having participated in nine races leading up to the Run for the Roses. While he has only won two of those, he has never finished worse than fourth and should be right at the front again at Churchill Downs.
Mike Welsch of Daily Racing Form tweeted out one of Ride on Curlin’s breeze times leading up to this marquee event:
Ride On Curlin 7F from the 6 furlong pole 1:28.98 under strong handling to finish, final 3/8's 37.13— Mike Welsch (@DRFWelsch) April 27, 2014
The fact that Ride on Curlin is a long shot should be appealing to bettors, as horses with double-digit odds have won five of the last six Derbys. Big Brown was the last odds-on favorite to break through the finish line, and that was all the way back in 2008.
Don’t sleep on this colt and its superstar jockey keeping that streak alive with an impressive win as a long shot this weekend.
Strong Contender: Wicked Strong (8-1)
Wicked Strong is near the top of the odds list now and should remain there up to post time, as he is one of the better bets to make if you are looking to get behind a favorite.
The colt is coming off a great maiden victory at Wood Memorial, one of the most prestigious lead-up races to the Kentucky Derby. His epic performance included a win against previously undefeated Samraat, a tough competitor who is likely to be in the Derby field and currently going off at 20-1 odds.
A win in that race has given many horses confidence going into the first leg of the Triple Crown, as 11 of them have gone on to be adorned with a blanket of roses on the first Saturday in May.
How will Wicked Strong perform at the Kentucky Derby?
Wicked Strong could become the 12th to do so, and his handlers are assertive that will be the case. According to Jacqueline Tempera of The Boston Globe, trainer Jimmy Jerkens expressed an extreme amount of confidence about his colt’s chances:
“It’s amazing how fate seems to be working for us,” Jerkens said. “I never say we’re going to win because that will blow your chances. But I will say we’re quietly confident.”
You should feel confident about Wicked Strong’s chances, too, and bet on him to finish in the top three at the 2014 Kentucky Derby.