The runaway favorites for the 2014 Kentucky Derby are now quite obvious after both the post draw and official odds have finally been revealed.
It would be unwise to suggest it is rather easy to bet on one of the globe's most important sporting events, but the Derby at Churchill Downs becomes easier to decipher once the official order is known thanks to the rich history of each spot.
For example, a near-rail post on the inside of the proceedings can doom even the most talented horses and jockeys, as they can get squeezed into the pack of 20 and, barring elite recovery speed, fall behind early and never recover.
This reason alone makes the draw almost as important as the race itself. Now that each horse has an official slot, let's take a gander at the fresh odds and a few favorites.
Odds courtesy of Odds Shark.
2014 Kentucky Derby Draw
|1||Vicar's In Trouble||Rosie Napravnik||Mike Maker||Kenneth L. and Sarah K. Ramsey|
|2||Harry's Holiday||Corey Lanerie||Mike Maker||Skychai Racing LLC, Sand Dollar Stable, LLC, Terry Raymond & Jana Wagner|
|3||Uncle Sigh||Irad Ortiz Jr.||Gary Contessa||Wounded Warrior Stables & Anthony C. Robertson|
|4||Danza||Joe Bravo||Todd Pletcher||Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners|
|5||California Chrome||Victor Espinoza||Art Sherman||Steve and Carolyn Coburn & Perry and Denise Martin|
|6||Samraat||Jose Ortiz||Rick Violette Jr.||My Meadowview Farm|
|7||We Miss Artie||Javier Castellano||Todd Pletcher||Kenneth L. and Sarah K. Ramsey|
|8||General A Rod||Joel Rosario||Mike Maker||Starlight Racing & Skychai Racing, LLC|
|9||Vinceremos||Joe Rococo Jr.||Todd Pletcher||WinStar Farm LLC and Twin Creeks Racing|
|10||Wildcat Red||Luis Saez||Jose Garoffalo||Honors Stable Corp.|
|11||Hoppertunity||Mike Smith||Bob Baffert||Karl Watson, Mike Pegram & Paul Weitman|
|12||Dance With Fate||Corey Nakatani||Peter Eurton||S. Alesia, Bran Jam Stable & Ciaglia Racing, LLC|
|13||Chitu||Martin Garcia||Bob Baffert||Tanma Corporation|
|14||Medal Count||Robby Albarado||Dale Romans||Spendthrift Farm|
|15||Tapiture||Ricardo Santana Jr.||Steve Asmussen||Winchell Thoroughbreds|
|16||Intense Holiday||John Velazquez||Todd Pletcher||Starlight Racing|
|17||Commanding Curve||Shaun Bridgmohan||Dallas Stewart||West Point Thoroughbreds|
|18||Candy Boy||Gary Stevens||John Sadler||C R K Stable LLC|
|19||Ride On Curlin||Calvin Borel||William G. Gowan||Daniel J. Dougherty|
|20||Wicked Strong||Rajiv Maragh||James A. Jerkens||Centennial Farms|
2014 Kentucky Derby Odds
|Dance With Fate||20-1|
|Ride On Curlin||20-1|
|Vicar's in Trouble||20-1|
|General a Rod||33-1|
|We Miss Artie||40-1|
Wicked Strong (7-1)
Jockey Rajiv Maragh and Wicked Strong are a bit of an odd pair, but there's a lot to like in the odds department after the draw, especially given the horse's recent success against unfavorable odds.
Wicked Strong was a hefty underdog at the Wood Memorial before blowing away the competition in April.
Momentum is one thing, but pair it with history, and a horse is a very easy bet. Let's allow Kevin Martin of CBS Pittsburgh to provide the details:
Wicked Strong is trained by the New York-based Jimmy Jerkens. His father Allen Jerkens, also a trainer, is known as the “Giant Killer” for a history of saddling upset winners, the most famous coming in 1973 when he beat the mighty Secretariat twice. The Jerkens family “Giant Killer” gene could serve Wicked Strong well against the formidable California Chrome.
Bigger names will continue to make the rounds, but that's nothing new for both Jim Jerkens and Wicked Strong, not to mention Maragh.
Add in the post position of 20, and Strong is an overall package worth an investment based on the potential returns.
California Chrome (11-4)
Martin brings up California Chrome for good reason.
It has been quite some time since the Kentucky Derby has had a runaway favorite, but the hype around California Chrome is all too real. The post position of five means little overall in the equation considering California Chrome is the best all-around package at Churchill Downs this year.
California Chrome has been on a tear as of late, having won four races in a row. Part-owner Steve Coburn has shot down any and all offers for California Chrome with extreme prejudice, per horseracinghl of the Lexington Herald-Leader:
Coburn on the offer they received to buy California Chrome "It was very easy, the answer was no. Actually it was hell no."— horseracinghl (@horseracinghl) April 30, 2014
Trainer Art Sherman, who has experience at the Derby that dates back to 1955, is a major fan of both California Chrome and the attention he is receiving leading up to the race, as captured by TVG.com:
California Chrome is a bit of a strange favorite given his lackluster pedigree, but recent success typically bodes well at Churchill downs.
Vicar's In Trouble (20-1)
Speaking of recent successes that will translate well to the proceedings on Saturday, Vicar's In Trouble is a major name to watch.
The first post position stinks, but there are a few reasons to not panic over the result. A third-place finish at the Risen Star Stakes and a dominant victory at the Louisiana Derby puts the picture into focus—Vicar's In Trouble is not to be underrated by bettors.
There's a reason the littler horse in comparison to the field was close behind California Chrome in the point standings. Vicar's In Trouble's smaller stature, paired with eyebrow-raising explosiveness, will allow him to navigate the clutter of the 20-horse field before turning on the afterburners.
It's easy to look past Vicar's In Trouble, but don't be too shocked when he's in heavy contention near the finish line thanks to his size-speed combo.