Kentucky Derby Picks 2014: Vegas Odds and Predictions Heading in to Post Draw

Scott PolacekFeatured ColumnistApril 30, 2014

Exercise rider William Delgado holds Kentucky Derby hopeful California Chrome after a morning workout at Churchill Downs Tuesday, April 29, 2014, in Louisville, Ky. (AP Photo/Garry Jones)
Garry Jones/Associated Press

It takes a truly special event for sports fans across the United States to forget about the NBA playoffs, NHL playoffs and the Floyd Mayweather fight that same night for two minutes, but the Kentucky Derby is about as special as sporting events come. 

Saturday marks the 140th running of the prestigious Derby, and it promises to be a thrilling race. The field is loaded with top contenders, but there is one overwhelming favorite that is dominating many of the storylines.

Of particular interest to bettors is what that favorite’s line is as well as the odds for every horse in the race. Here is a look at the lines for the entire field as of Monday, April 28, according to OddsShark

2014 Kentucky Derby Odds
California Chrome11-4
Wicked Strong7-1
Intense Holiday18-1
Dance With Fate20-1
Ride on Curlin20-1
Vicar's in Trouble20-1
Wildcat Red20-1
Candy Boy25-1
Social Inclusion33-1
General a Rod33-1
We Miss Artie40-1
Medal Count40-1
Uncle Sigh40-1
Commanding Curve40-1
Pablo Del Monte50-1
Harry's Holiday50-1

Now that we know what the odds are for the Run for the Roses, let’s dig into a few predictions for how the action will unfold.


California Chrome Shows the World Why He Is the Favorite 

LOUISVILLE, KY - APRIL 28:  California Chrome arrives at track in preparation for the140th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on April 28, 2014 in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

There is a reason California Chrome is the favorite in this race.

He finished first on the Derby points leaderboard that ultimately determines the field for the race and has won six of 10 career starts. What’s more, California Chrome has dominated in his last four races and won by more than a combined 24 lengths. One of those four wins came at the Santa Anita Derby.

If there is one concern about California Chrome, it is that he has never raced outside of his home state of California. Trainer Art Sherman seemed to be alright with that though, via Marcus DiNitto of Sporting News.

"He'll look around and know he's at a racetrack and feel right at home," Sherman said. "That's the way he is." 

California Chrome looked comfortable the first time he stepped on the track, via Claire Novak of Blood-Horse Publications:

California Chrome will be very comfortable when he is prancing around with the bed of roses draped over his back after winning the Derby on Saturday. He simply has too much momentum in his corner for the rest of the field to overcome.


Intense Holiday Challenges the Top Contenders

LOUISVILLE, KY - APRIL 25:  Intense Holiday is riden by Isabelle Bourez during the morning exercise session in preparation for the 140th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on April 25, 2014 in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Intense Holiday may not have the expectations of a California Chrome or a Wicked Strong, but he has impressed in his graded races this year.

Intense Holiday finished second in the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby and won the Grade 2 Risen Star at the Fair Grounds in New Orleans. Vicar’s in Trouble was part of that field in New Orleans, so Intense Holiday has some experience beating one of the contenders in the Kentucky Derby.

There is also the jockey to consider.

John Velazquez won the 2011 Derby with Animal Kingdom, so he knows what it takes to compete at Churchill Downs. 

With a jockey with a winning pedigree and the momentum from his recent performances, Intense Holiday has a chance to compete for the title.


Wildcat Red Serves as a Solid Dark-Horse Pick

LOUISVILLE, KY - APRIL 29:  Wildcat Red is ridden by Juan Belmonte  during the morning exercise session in preparation for the140th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on April 29, 2014 in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

There is almost always a dark horse in the Kentucky Derby field that draws the attention of bettors, and this year it will be Wildcat Red.

He has raced seven times in his career and has never finished lower than second place. Wildcat Red won in the Grade 2 Hutcheson Stakes and the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth Stakes in back-to-back performances and finished in second in the Grade 1 Florida Derby.

What’s more, trainer Jose Garoffalo has won eight times this year. 

Wildcat Red knows nothing but first- and second-place finishes, which should worry bettors that are assuming California Chrome and the top two or three competitors will run away with the race.


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