Kentucky Derby 2014 Horses: Odds and Post Positions for Contenders and Sleepers

Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistApril 30, 2014

LOUISVILLE, KY - APRIL 30: Ride On Curlin ridden by Bryan Beccia during the morning exercise session in preparation for the 140th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on April 30, 2014 in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

There's an old—and very true—axiom that suggests the more you learn, the less you know. Never does that notion seem more true then during the Kentucky Derby draw. 

Sure, we finally get to see which horses will start where, speculate on whether the position benefits their racing style or hurts them and try to discern the type of run they'll get. Will the horses near them ruin their game plan? Will they get trapped on the rail? Buried in the pack? 

It's all a guessing game, of course, but it just so happens to be one of the most enjoyable, tantalizing and addictive guessing games in sports. Here, we'll join the fray, as we take a look at the positions and odds and try to look into the crystal ball to determine how the draw will affect some of the race's most intriguing horses.

Kentucky Derby Field
1Vicar's In TroubleKenneth L. and Sarah K. RamseyMike MakerRosie Napravnik20-1
2Harry's HolidaySkychai Racing LLC, Sand Dollar Stable, LLC, Terry Raymond & Jana WagnerMike MakerCorey Lanerie50-1
3Uncle SighWounded Warrior Stables & Anthony C. RobertsonGary ContessaIrad Ortiz Jr.30-1
4DanzaEclipse Thoroughbred PartnersTodd PletcherJoe Bravo10-1
5California ChromeSteve and Carolyn Coburn & Perry and Denise MartinArt ShermanVictor Espinoza5-2
6SamraatMy Meadowview FarmRick Violette Jr.Jose Ortiz15-1
7We Miss ArtieKenneth L. and Sarah K. RamseyTodd PletcherJavier Castellano50-1
8General A RodStarlight Racing & Skychai Racing, LLCMike MakerJoel Rosario15-1
9VinceremosWinStar Farm LLC and Twin Creeks RacingTodd PletcherJoe Rococo Jr.30-1
10Wildcat RedHonors Stable Corp.Jose GaroffaloLuis Saez15-1
11HoppertunityKarl Watson, Mike Pegram & Paul WeitmanBob BaffertMike Smith6-1
12Dance With FateS. Alesia, Bran Jam Stable & Ciaglia Racing, LLCPeter EurtonCorey Nakatani20-1
13ChituTanma CorporationBob BaffertMartin Garcia20-1
14Medal CountSpendthrift FarmDale RomansRobby Albarado20-1
15TapitureWinchell ThoroughbredsSteve AsmussenRicardo Santana Jr.15-1
16Intense HolidayStarlight RacingTodd PletcherJohn Velazquez12-1
17Commanding CurveWest Point ThoroughbredsDallas StewartShaun Bridgmohan50-1
18Candy BoyC R K Stable LLCJohn SadlerGary Stevens20-1
19Ride On CurlinDaniel J. DoughertyWilliam G. GowanCalvin Borel15-1
20Wicked StrongCentennial FarmsJames A. JerkensRajiv Maragh8-1
Morning Line Odds are cited

California Chrome is obviously the horse to beat, having won four straight races, including dominant performances at the Grade 2 San Felipe and the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby. In total, he's won six of his 10 races, and he hasn't lost since last November. 

The fear will be that he might get squeezed between strong starters Danza and Samraat. But California Chrome is no start off the slouch himself, and he simply needs to break quickly to avoid trouble. If he lags a bit off the start, however, one of the strongest horses in recent years and everyone's Triple Crown hopeful might be in for a disappointing run.

And as Ray Paulick of the Paulick Report notes, the No. 5 post has been the source of several recent champions:

Adds Tim Layden of Sports Illustrated:

Remember, California Chrome won the Santa Anita Derby from the No. 5 post. Unless he's sluggish to start, he'll be fine. Those 5-2 odds, on the other hand, are going to discourage some folks from siding with him come race day.

In terms of horses whose post position should match up with their racing style, Danza, Hoppertunity, Intense Holiday and Candy Boy all received very solid draws. Candy Boy in particular looks very promising at 20-1 odds, as the horse will be able to avoid the early crowd coming in from the outside and has the closing speed to really capitalize on the No. 18 post.

LOUISVILLE, KY - APRIL 29: Candy Boy is ridden by Jelani Grant 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

The horses inside of him, however, won't be so pleased with where they started. Knowing Calvin Borel, he could somehow have Ride On Curlin close to the rail surprisingly quickly, but the horse feels like more of a long shot than its 15-1 odds would suggest after his post position was announced.

While Wicked Strong was one of the top contenders coming into the race and probably still is, starting at the No. 20 post is far from ideal, though there seem to be opposing viewpoints on that matter. 

Wicked Strong's trainer isn't overly optimistic about the draw, per Layden:

But then there's this, from David Grening of the Daily Racing Form:

Good luck figuring out who is more correct.

There are several horses at 20-1 who are intriguing plays, including those on the Nos. 12-14 posts: Dance With Fate, Chitu and Medal Count. Chitu in particular is really intriguing, as he's one of the few speed demons on the outside posts and could end up getting a really sweet trip out of the gate. 

As always, the Derby draw brought with it a lot of intrigue. Let the speculating begin!