Now that the official post positions and corresponding odds were announced Wednesday for the 2014 Kentucky Derby, the real speculation can begin.
Will favorite California Chrome take advantage of the No. 5 post, which is tied with the No. 1 post for the most winners (12) since 1900? How much trouble is Vicar’s in Trouble really in with the rail position in a 20-horse field? Will one of the long shots stun the entire field?
With those questions and more in mind, let’s take a glance at the post positions for the whole field:
|1||Vicar's in Trouble|
|7||We Miss Artie|
|8||General A Rod|
|12||Dance With Fate|
|19||Ride On Curlin|
NBC Sports Broadcast
Updated odds were announced on the NBC Sports Network immediately after the broadcast. This is what they looked like, as of Wednesday, April 30:
|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|
NBC Sports Network Broadcast
Sleepers to Watch
It would be easy to simply assume that the favorite California Chrome is going to run away from the rest of the field, but there will be other horses that contend for the crown.
One of those is Samraat, who is unfamiliar with anything but winning based on his recent pedigree. In fact, Samraat has five victories under his belt and even held off Uncle Sigh in the Grade 3 Withers and Gotham Stakes.
Horse racing writer Sam Hollingsworth feels that Samraat’s post position could help him continue his winning ways:
Loving Samraat's spot at Post 6 for #KentuckyDerby. Scary spot for California Chrome & Victor Espinoza right next to him at Post 5, though.— Sam Hollingsworth (@SammySports) April 30, 2014
Interestingly, Samraat has never raced outside of the state of New York. Whether that will come into play or not remains to be seen, but with a favorable posting in the middle of the pack and the momentum from recent victories, expect Samraat to contend for the Derby.
He doesn’t have to be worried about getting trapped against the rail in the early push like Vicar’s in Trouble does, so Samraat should get a favorable position in the pack after the initial burst. From there, he can use his speed and closing ability, which may just be enough to register a surprising victory.
Samraat may have a number of wins under his belt, but Wildcat Red knows nothing but first and second-place finishes in his seven starts.
Will Wildcat Red finish in the top three?
Wildcat Red won the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth Stakes and the Grade 2 Hutcheson Stakes and will have jockey Luis Saez leading the way at Churchill Downs. Saez actually won atop Wildcat Red at Gulfstream, so there is a degree of familiarity there.
Trainer Jose Garoffalo stressed the fact during training that his horse loves racing against others, according to Frank Angst of Bloodhorse (via ESPN.com): "In the case of my horse, he needs competition. He needs horses beside him."
There isn’t a more heated competition in all of horse racing than the Kentucky Derby, so Wildcat Red should feel right at home.
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