Whichever horse wins the 140th running of the Kentucky Derby will get all the glory Saturday, but don’t forget about the jockeys. After all, somebody has to ride the champion to victory.
The pedigree of the top contenders also tells quite a story and often has a direct impact on the odds that are listed for the race. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the posting numbers and odds for every horse in the field, according to Odds Shark, as of May 1:
|2014 Kentucky Derby Odds|
|1||Vicar's In Trouble||25-1|
|7||We Miss Artie||40-1|
|8||General A Rod||18-1|
|12||Dance With Fate||22-1|
|19||Ride On Curlin||20-1|
Now that we know what the Vegas lines are, let’s dig a bit deeper with the favorites and look at the jockeys and the pedigree information.
Jockey Victor Espinoza will ride the favorite California Chrome in Saturday’s race.
Espinoza led War Emblem to victory at both the Derby and the Preakness in 2002, so he certainly knows what it takes to win on the biggest stage. He also counts a 2000 Breeders’ Cup Distaff victory, when he road Spain to his resume.
Trainer Art Sherman said that Espinoza was fine with the No. 5 posting that California Chrome drew Wednesday, via Darren Rogers of Kentuckyderby.com: "I like it fine. Victor (jockey Victor Espinoza) says he likes it. Says he won the Kentucky Derby from the five (on War Emblem in 2002). I'm happy and I feel no pressure."
This is the best horse in the field with a jockey who has won the Run for the Roses before.
That combination, along with the decent posting, will be more than enough to capture the Kentucky Derby crown. Look for California Chrome to seize favorable position in the early going from the No. 5 post and then flash his incredible speed and closing ability that has earned him four straight dominating victories.
As for the favorite’s pedigree, his sire was Lucky Pulpit and his dame was Love the Chase.
Lucky Pulpit never went beyond 5 and 1/2 furlongs, and his only stakes win came at Arlington Park. Given that reality, California Chrome might have inherited more of his racing ability from Love the Chase’s side, as Kentuckyderby.com pointed out:
Although Love the Chase showed little on the track, she boasts an interesting pedigree pattern: she is inbred 3x3 to champion and noted producer Numbered Account.
A daughter of the great Buckpasser, and descended from the phenomenal female line of *La Troienne, Numbered Account reigned as the champion two-year-old filly of 1971. She went on to foal multiple Grade 1 star and successful sire Private Account, as well as Grade 1 queen Dance Number (ancestress of 2010 Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver).
Joe Bravo will ride Danza Saturday.
Bravo has 13 jockey titles at Monmouth Park and nine at the Meadowlands under his belt and comes from a family of jockeys.
As for Danza’s pedigree, he is by Street Boss, who is known more as a sprinter than anything else. Street Boss won the Bing Crosby, Triple Bend and Los Angeles Handicaps in 2008 in impressive fashion, but Danza probably got his stamina from his dam Champagne Royale, who is responsible for multiple winners over long distances (Consider Yourself and Majestic Harbor).
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