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Kentucky Derby 2014: Horses, Favorites and Contenders for This Year's Field

In this photo provided by the New York Racing Association, Wicked Strong, with Rajiv Maragh aboard, captures The Wood Memorial Stakes horse race at Aqueduct Race Track in New York, Saturday, April 5, 2014. (AP Photo/New York Racing Association, David Alcosser)
David Alcosser
Sean ODonnellContributor IIIApril 29, 2014

There's plenty to look forward to when the Kentucky Derby rolls around each year. Whether you're looking over each oddsmaker's lines, preparing your best mint julep recipe or donning the latest fashionable derby hat, this race has something for everyone.

The horses, however, will always be the center of attention.

As the official draw approaches on Wednesday, it's important to know the top contenders and early favorites as they arrive at Churchill Downs.

Experts have been predicting which horses will be featured in this storied race, and oddsmakers have been hard at work predicting which ones have the best chances of donning roses upon the race's conclusion.

As the highly anticipated draw nears, let's take a look at the horses already in attendance, this year's top contenders and favorites to come away with the win.

 

Horses at Churchill Downs

Uncredited

Jonathan Lintner of The Courier-Journal tweeted on Wednesday that the barns at Churchill Downs were already filling out. Plenty of horses were already in attendance and others were on their way:

The arrival of favorite California Chrome was highly anticipated. The horse arrived on Monday and turned in a pre-race workout immediately. According to the Associated Press, via the Miami Herald, trainer Art Sherman was pleased with how his horse looked during the workout.

 

Top Contenders

Garry Jones

Despite plenty of horses already taking to the track at Churchill Downs, the field has yet to be set. We know which top contenders should be participating, but the final draw won't take place until Wednesday.

Until then, here's a look at the top contenders according to their season standings, via the Kentucky Derby's official website:

2014 Kentucky Derby Contenders
ContenderSeason RankingSeason Points
California Chrome1150
Vicar's In Trouble2120
Dance With Fate3108
Wicked Strong4102
Samraat5100
Danza6100
Hoppertunity795
Intense Holiday893
Wildcat Red990
We Miss Artie1060
Ride On Curlin1155
Chitu1254
Tapiture1352
Ring Weekend1450
General A Rod1540
Medal Count1640
Candy Boy1730
Uncle Sigh1824
Vinceremos1920
Harry's Holiday2020
Commanding Curve2120
Pablo Del Monte2220
Bayern2320
Social Inclusion2420
Big Bazinga2514
Strong Mandate2611
KentuckyDerby.com

Lintner has also been keeping tabs on his projected field for the race. Here's his latest look, according to a tweet he posted Tuesday: 

 

Early Favorites

Charlie Riedel

California Chrome is the early favorite for this year's race; however, several horses have what it takes to claim the Kentucky Derby crown.

Odds Shark compiled an early list of odds for the top contenders:

2014 Kentucky Derby Odds
ContenderOdds
California Chrome5-2
Wicked Strong13-2
Danza9-1
Hoppertunity12-1
Samraat16-1
Dance With Fate20-1
Ride On Curlin20-1
Vicar's In Trouble20-1
Wildcat Red20-1
Candy Boy25-1
Intense Holiday25-1
Chitu33-1
General A Rod33-1
Social Inclusion33-1
Tapiture33-1
Commanding Curve40-1
Medal Count40-1
Uncle Sigh40-1
We Miss Artie40-1
Harry's Holiday50-1
Pablo Del Monte50-1
Vinceremos50-1
OddsShark.com

California Chrome has the best odds due to the horse's dominance over the last several races. Winning in decisive fashion numerous times has Chrome looking like a serious threat for the Triple Crown.

Take a look at how impressive this horse has been. Here's a glance at Chrome's performance at the Santa Anita Derby:

Wicked Strong should be well in the mix with California Chrome.

A blazing performance in the Wood Memorial against other Kentucky Derby contenders really set the tone for Wicked Strong's appearance at Churchill Downs:

Danza is a big favorite as well—for good reason. Winning the highly contested Arkansas Derby over Ride On Curlin by 4 3/4 lengths bodes well for the continued success of this horse:

Even though there are some clear early favorites, anything is possible at the Kentucky Derby. The next step is the official draw. After that, picking a winner based on facts and a little bit of luck will provide plenty of excitement until the derby takes place on May 3.

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