Kentucky Derby Odds 2014: Sleepers That May Win the Fastest 2 Minutes in Sports

Michael Dempsey@turfnsportFeatured ColumnistApril 29, 2014

Kentucky Derby Odds 2014: Sleepers That May Win the Fastest 2 Minutes in Sports

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    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    There is no doubt that California Chrome is going to be the betting favorite for the 140th running of the Kentucky Derby, but with 20 of the last 25 favorites coming up short on the first Saturday of May, we need to find a few sleepers that may win the fastest two minutes in sports.

    Speed, a solid foundation, sharp connections and betting value are all important in finding sleepers that can have an impact in this year’s Kentucky Derby. With a 20-horse field likely for the race, there are viable options to backing the post-time favorite this year.

    Let’s take a look at some contenders that may fly under the radar on the first Saturday of May.

Chitu: 33-1

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Any time Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert sends out a longshot in the Kentucky Derby, the horse should get a good look. Chitu comes into the race off a victory in the Sunland Derby (G3), a race that Mine That Bird put on the map in 2009 as a viable prep for the Run for the Roses. Baffert has saddled three Kentucky Derby winners, the last coming with upset winner War Emblem in 2002. 

    Currently at betting odds of 33-1, according to Odds Shark, this colt is not one of the more highly regarded runners in the field but is one of just four that earned a triple-digit Beyer Speed Figure in their final prep.  In his previous start, he was only beaten a half-length by Candy Boy in the Robert B. Lewis (G2).

    With just four starts under his belt, Chitu has not run a bad race and perhaps has as much upside as any in the 20-horse field.

Candy Boy: 25-1

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    Charlie Riedel

    Can this colt make up 8 3/4 lengths on California Chrome? That as the distance this colt was behind the Derby favorite last out in the Santa Anita Derby (G1). The colt was the 5-2 second choice in that race. 

    His victory in the Robert B. Lewis (G2) in February was solid and he capped off his juvenile season with a game second in the CashCall Futurity (G1) at Hollywood Park last December behind the then early Derby favorite Shared Belief.

    This is a colt to keep an eye on as he works in the mornings at Churchill Downs this week. Steve Haskin of observed, “He’s a powerfully built colt who likely needed his last race, and it will be interesting to see him train over the Churchill Downs surface.”

Wildcat Red: 22-1

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    Adam Coglianese

    It’s tough to win the Run for the Roses in gate-to-wire fashion, but Wildcat Red will give it his best shot. The colt has put in four very game efforts in 2014, including a second-place finish in the Gulfstream Park Derby and a win Fountain of Youth (G2). In his final prep in the Florida Derby (G1) the colt set the early fractions and finished gamely to just miss by a neck to Constitution, who is now off the Derby trail. 

    Trained by Jose Garoffalo, the colt has only raced at Gulfstream Park in his career, but his trainer was happy with his last work.

    “He’s perfect. He had a very easy workout and is saving everything for Saturday,” the South Florida-based trainer said. “There are people who are skeptical about the workout, but he did it so easily and [jockey Luis Saez] felt the horse did well.”

    Currently at betting odds of 22-1, according to Odds Shark, this colt looks capable of outrunning his odds on the first Saturday of May.

Ride on Curlin: 20-1

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    Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

    This colt is 0-for-6 in stakes races and is flying under the radar coming into Louisville this week. He was only beaten a length for the top spot in the Rebel Stakes (G2) and then in his last start came with a good late run to finish in the runner-up spot in the Arkansas Derby (G1), coming six-wide while the winner got a ground-saving trip in the stretch.

    Jockey Calvin Borel is reunited with the colt, which means we know Ride on Curlin will get a good trip. Borel has won three of the last seven runnings of the Kentucky Derby, including booting home the improbable 50-1 longshot Mine That Bird in 2009.

Samraat: 16-1

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    Chelsea Durand

    Undefeated in his first five starts, the colt suffered his first loss when running second to Wicked Strong in the Wood Memorial (G1) at Aqueduct on April 5. Samraat started his career by trouncing state-breds in his first three outings in New York, then stepped up into graded stakes company and won the Withers and Gotham, beating Derby contender Uncle Sigh in both victories.

    The Wood was once considered a key Derby prep, but in recent years, the horses exiting the race have not fared well. Some call it a curse. From 2009 to 2011, the Wood winners failed to make it into the starting gate for the Run for the Roses due to injuries, including I Want Revenge and Eskendereya, who both likely would have been the betting favorites.

    The last runner to exit the Wood and win the Derby was Funny Cide in 2003, who was also a New York bred.

Intense Holiday: 16-1

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    Rob Carr/Getty Images

    It will be interesting to see how bettors assess this colt’s chances as we approach Derby Day. He is currently listed at 16-1, but with Todd Pletcher's go-to guy John Velazquez in the irons, he could end up taking more betting action. 

    The colt won the Risen Star (G2) at Fair Grounds on February 22, but had to settle for the runner-up spot in the Louisiana Derby (G2) in his final prep. In that outing he could not catch a loose on the lead Vicar’s in Trouble, but his effort should set him up nicely for Saturday.

    Jay Privman of the Daily Racing Form noted about his Louisiana Derby effort that the colt, “Didn't have cleanest trip, wasn't going to catch loose leader. Should get more pace at Churchill Downs.”