The 2014 Kentucky Derby is right around the corner with May 3 rapidly approaching, and one horse seems to be dominating the headlines heading into the race. California Chrome has gotten a lot of attention as of late and for good reason. The three-year-old colt will face some stiff competition as the lowest favorite in recent memory but still has a solid chance to come out on top at Churchill Downs on Saturday.
Not since Big Brown back in 2008 has there been a consensus favorite in the Derby. Brown ultimately came out on top in that race with odds of 2-1. Odds from OddsShark.com have California Chrome dubbed the favorite with 11-4 odds on Saturday.
As Kevin Martin of CBS Pittsburgh suggests, Chrome is the favorite for good reason sporting two solid performances as of late:
No other colt in the Derby field has paired together two strong performances like California Chrome in winning the Grade 2 San Felipe and the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby. He dominated fields that included graded stakes winners by a combined twelve lengths. He has won six races from ten career starts and has not lost since last November. Prior to his two graded wins, he won two stakes races for California breds also by big margins.
Clearly, Chrome has earned the distinction as the consensus favorite with a spotless record going back to last November. Although Chrome owners were hoping to be in the six to 10 range in terms of starting position, the favorite will start at five according to Yahoo! Sports' Pat Forde:
California Chrome gets No. 5. Wanted 6-10 but certainly won't complain about that.— Pat Forde (@YahooForde) April 30, 2014
Despite his dominance on the track over the last six months, Chrome will face other colts potentially capable of pulling off the upset on Saturday. The following horses could prove to be his toughest competition at Churchhill Downs.
Wicked Strong has proven his worth after winning a race earlier this month at Wood Memorial at similar odds to what he's received for the Derby at 9-1. Many consider Strong to be second behind Chrome heading into Saturday's race in terms of chances of winning the Derby. Strong currently sits with odds of 7-1.
According to Yahoo! Sports' Forde, Strong wasn't given the most favorable starting position:
Wicked Strong gets a wicked post: No. 20. Ouch.— Pat Forde (@YahooForde) April 30, 2014
There's a chance the odds could change from now until May 3 as a result of the released starting positions, but it would be safe to say that Strong will still be considered as a force to be reckoned coming out of the gates. Strong will likely still have favorable odds.
As stated by NESN.com, Strong is owned by a group made of 28 members from Centennial Farms in Boston. If Strong does manage to win the race, 5 percent of the winnings will be donated to One Fund for the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing from last year.
The horse was originally named Moyne Spun and changed to Wicked Strong due to the fact that Boston Strong was already taken.
Trainer Todd Pletcher has paved the way for the Danza to make an impact in the biggest race of the year after training Super Saver to become the Kentucky Derby winner back in 2010.
Fortunately for Pletcher, Danza will be in the same starting position as Super Saver was back when he won in 2010 according to Forde:
Arkansas Derby winner Danza draws No. 4. Trainer Todd Pletcher won from that post in 2010 w Super Saver.— Pat Forde (@YahooForde) April 30, 2014
As a result of the favorable starting position, Danza's odds could change and may potentially leap Strong as the second behind Chrome heading into the race.
Danza burst onto the scene in the Arkansas Derby back earlier this month. The colt had only three career starts before entering the race but came out victorious regardless of long odds at 41-1.
Believe it or not, if you've been wondering the origin of the name of the horse, the colt is named after actor Tony Danza, according to NESN.com:
"Danza is next on the odds after Wicked Strong, and is indeed named after actor Tony Danza, although he has no affiliation with the horse. Get ready for “Who’s the Boss?” headlines if Danza wins."
Although Strong stands ahead of this colt to get the best of Chrome, Danza could be the favorite's biggest competitor this weekend. Danza currently sits with odds of 9-1 as of April 30.
As usual, the Kentucky Derby is a highly anticipated sporting event that shouldn't disappoint with these three colts in the running to get the Triple Crown season underway. Although California Chrome will have competition from Strong and Danza, the consensus seems to be that he'll come out on top, crossing the finish line before any other at Churchill Downs on May 3.