Believe it or not, the 2014 Kentucky Derby draw, like any draw for the annual spectacle, is just as important as the race itself.
Just look at the odds.
The Derby itself is guesswork for bettors. This horse is too inside near the rail, so he could simply get lost in the shuffle and never recover, right? That one is far enough outside to break away from the pack, but does he have enough speed to keep pace for the entire two minutes?
Still, it's some of the most fun sports fans can have all year. Do some research on the posts and horses, and walk away with some cash too.
2014 Kentucky Derby Lineup
|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 (scratched)||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|
|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
Look, California Chrome is the odds-on favorite, but the returns make the investment price a bit too much to ask.
Let's talk some Wicked Strong instead.
Bettors may shy away from Wicked Strong thanks to the No. 20 post, but David Grening of the Daily Racing Form captures the thoughts of those in the know, who suggest the post may work in the horse's favor:
Jimmy Jerkens said Edgar Prado, who rode Wicked Strong once, texted him "perfect" when he drew post 20— David Grening (@DRFGrening) April 30, 2014
Why perfect? Wicked Strong has steady burst, endurance and, well, a wicked ability to kick into final gear in the closing stretches. Horses with similar skill sets have won from the outside in the past, and, given the odds, Vegas seems to understand that. The payout is worth the risk.
The No. 4 slot isn't horrible, but it's interesting how much firepower Danza has next to him. On one side is California Chrome; on the other side is Uncle Sigh.
So why the favorable odds? Danza might just have the quickest step of all, meaning he has the ability to break free from the pack early and ride strong endurance to the win.
At the Races' Steve Byk says Danza got the best draw of any horse in terms of post and skill set:
Danza biggest beneficiary of draw by wide margin; Wicked Strong not fatally injured by 20 given style and positive that he loads last..— Steve Byk (@Steve_Byk) April 30, 2014
Forget skill set for a minute and look at something as simple as history, which Yahoo! Sports' Pat Forde points out:
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
Any way you slice it, Danza is a superb pick, and the payout is sound.