It's no NFL draft, but the 2014 Kentucky Derby can't commence until the official draw occurs—a traditional and fateful event that places contenders and underdogs in order, for better or worse.
The draw is a spectacle in itself because of the implications for the 20 contestants (and four extras, should a racer withdraw). The Associated Press explains why the draw matters, via ESPN.com:
Some trainers want to avoid the No. 1 post because their horse starts next to the rail and could get pinched going into the first turn. Others don't like the No. 20 post because their horse is on the far outside and has to quickly make its way over toward the rail to save ground going into the first turn. Last year's winner, Orb, broke from the No. 15 post.
A lot is on the line Wednesday for those who are sure to tune in for the big event—especially those who want to make some coin in the process—and for the contestants themselves. Here's the scoop.
What: 2014 Kentucky Derby Draw
When: Wednesday, April 30 at 5 p.m. ET
TV Info: NBC Sports Network
Live Stream: NBC Sports Live Extra
Note: Full viewing info for entire event can be found here.
For those investing hard-earned cash on the festivities, look no further than California Chrome. Forget the returns and looking for underdogs—there's simply too much to like about the recent run of dominance to bet any other way.
Chrome and jockey Victor Espinoza have won their last four races by a landslide. As Sam Gardner of FoxSports.com points out, Chrome's owner, Steve Coburn, has guaranteed a victory:
He’s going to win the Kentucky Derby. This horse is going to win the Kentucky Derby, not a doubt in my mind. If he gets a nice, clean pass, he’s done — it’s over with.
There’s the big hype about Candy Boy, how Candy Boy is going to destroy California Chrome. Where did Candy Boy finish (at the Santa Anita Derby)? Third. And Hoppertunity finished second. Those are good horses, they’re fine horses, but they can’t keep up with the speed of this horse. If you look at how he’s run his races, he’s outrun these horses by two, three, four seconds. I just don’t see any speed out there.
Hey, those other names are noteworthy as sound underdog bets, but Coburn isn't wrong in his analysis, even if he is biased.
Of course, weather also plays a role. As is seemingly a Derby tradition, the track has been battered with rain early in the week, as captured by Lone State Park:
Want a storyline to watch on Wednesday? Root for one of the following horse-jockey combos to land in a favorable spot. All involved are racing for admirable causes, as Teresa Genaro of Forbes details:
Wicked Strong (#4 in points), whose name alludes to his owner’s hometown of Boston, Massachusetts, will run for The One Fund Boston, which supports those affected by the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings. A portion of Uncle Sigh’s earnings (he’s at #17 in points) go to two veterans’ charities: Retrieving Freedom, which trains service dogs for placement with veterans, children with autism and adults and children with diabetes., and Task Force Dagger Foundation, which supports the families of those wounded, ill, or injured as a result of their military service. Uncle Sigh is owned by Wounded Warrior Stables and Anthony C. Robinson.
The marriage of sports and good causes continues thanks to the 2014 edition of the Derby, and it starts with the all-important draw.
For those who can't get enough of the sport, the program will surely provide plenty of history and backstory for each participant. It'll also act as the precursor to one of the globe's best sporting events, so free up that block of time for a date with the derby draw.