With the post positions officially set for the 2014 Kentucky Derby, the latest Vegas odds have been released, and there are a few horses that would be smart picks to bet on for this year's race.
Post positions can make a big difference at the Derby for some horses. Most owners prefer to have a post in the middle of the pack, as the inside spots are too close to the rail, and the outside posts require riders to start strong in order to make it near the front of the pack before the first turn.
Below is a look at the post positions for the 20 horses competing in this year's Derby along with the starting odds and picks for win, place and show.
Post Positions and Odds
|1||Vicar's In Trouble||30-1|
|7||We Miss Artie||50-1|
|8||General A Rod||15-1|
|12||Dance With Fate||20-1|
|19||Ride On Curlin||15-1|
When it comes to trainers, Bob Baffert is one of the best in the business, and that will give Hoppertunity a good chance to make a strong push near the front of the pack in this year's race.
Baffert has won the Derby three times in his career, with the last coming in 2002 with War Emblem. Hoppertunity has shown the potential to give Baffert his fourth Derby victory this year, as the colt has come away with two wins so far this year. The horse's last race came at the Santa Anita Derby, where he finished in second to California Chrome, this year's favorite to win the Derby.
Hoppertunity has an ideal spot at the No. 11 post, and with a strong spot in the middle, this horse has a chance to make a break and grab a spot in the money.
Place: Candy Boy
Experience can go a long way in a race like the Derby, and few rider-jockey duos have as much experience as Candy Boy and Gary Stevens.
Candy Boy has been a very consistent horse in seven career races, never finishing worse than fourth and finishing in the money in five consecutive races. The colt finished in third at the Santa Anita Derby and grabbed a win at the Robert B. Lewis Stakes back in February.
Meanwhile, Stevens will be looking to continue to add to his legacy. With eight Triple Crown wins, including three at Churchill Downs, Stevens came out of retirement in 2013 and ended up winning the Preakness Stakes. Now, he'll be looking to add a fourth Derby victory.
It'll be a tough race for Candy Boy coming out of the No. 18 post, but Stevens feels confident that they can make a push if the can get Candy Boy back to his old form, according to Jennie Rees of USA Today, saying:
We want to go back to his running style of his first race this year that he won. In the Santa Anita Derby, the track we felt was playing to speed. We didn't want California Chrome to get away from us. I used him a little bit leaving there, and it backfired on us.
We needed points in the Santa Anita Derby to get into the Derby. We didn't want to fire our best bullet, but we had to fire a good bullet. I've very confident we can make up some lengths, and I hope it's enough.
Only one other horse has won coming out of the No. 18 post, but with Stevens as his jockey, Candy Boy is a legitimate dark horse contender.
Most people will be picking California Chrome to win the Derby, but the favorite doesn't usually end up winning it all. Instead, I'm going with Danza, and he has a lot going for him right now.
Danza is coming off a big-time win at the Arkansas Derby that gives him a lot of momentum heading into this race. He's only been in four races, but he's finished in the money in each, winning two of them and finishing in third place in the other two.
The colt is trained by Todd Pletcher, who helped train Super Saver, the 2010 Derby winner. Danza will be coming out of the No. 4 post, and according to Pat Forde of Yahoo! Sports, that's the same post position that Super Saver came out of when he won the Derby.
With a decent post position, if Danza can stay near the front of the pack for the most of the race, his durability could help him pull away on the final stretch and help Pletcher come away with a huge victory.