Kentucky Derby Field 2014: Pinpointing Underrated Horses and Jockeys in Lineup

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Kentucky Derby Field 2014: Pinpointing Underrated Horses and Jockeys in Lineup
Morry Gash/Associated Press

We all know the favorites.

California Chrome, Danza, Wicked Strong, Wildcat Red and others have great odds heading into the 140th Kentucky Derby for a reason.

Those horses have been completely dominant this season and have strong jockeys to ensure their continued success.

But other contenders have fallen into the shadows and are being overlooked by many.

Whether it's the horse or the jockey who is being severely underrated, some other horses could make some noise during the 2014 Run for the Roses.

Let's put a few under the microscope.

 

Harry's Holiday

Jockey: Corey Lanerie

Morry Gash/Associated Press

Harry's Holiday isn't necessarily expected to finish near the front of the pack given the horse's 50-1 odds and second post position.

Lanerie is no stranger to Churchill Downs, though. At 39 years of age, he's been riding for 23 years and has plenty of experience—even if this is his first Run for the Roses.

Jeff Duncan of NOLA.com highlighted some of Lanerie's accomplishments over his storied career: "Lanerie, after all, is one of the most accomplished jockeys in the nation. He's won the jockey title as the leading rider in four of the past five meets at Churchill Downs. He's also won riding titles at Ellis Park, Lone Star Park, Retama Park and Sam Houston."

Needless to say, Lanerie knows how to navigate Churchill Downs. If anyone can get Harry's Holiday cleanly out of the No. 2 post position, he's the jockey to do it.

 

Medal Count

Jockey: Robby Albarado

Morry Gash/Associated Press

Medal Count and jockey Robby Albarado have their work cut out for them in this year's Kentucky Derby.

They do hold a nice position at the 13th post; however, they are sandwiched between Chitu and Tapiture—two horses expected to do well this year.

That shouldn't matter to Albarado, whose experience on Medal Count will go a long way during Saturday's race.

Earlier this season, Medal Count had a sparkling performance at the Transylvania Stakes. Starting against the rail, Albarado decided to stay inside and drift toward the rear of the pack. He began his move early on the backstretch, quickly closing on his competitors.

Keeping Medal Count's stamina intact, Albarado found a small hole to squeeze through, soaring to the front of the pack and maintaining enough speed to fend off contenders down the final stretch for the win.

Although the pair is starting toward the outside at Churchill Downs, this familiar strategy could pay off in a big way once again.

 

Candy Boy

Jockey: Gary Stevens

Morry Gash/Associated Press

Candy Boy and jockey Gary Stevens have the daunting task of starting from post position 17. This is the one position that has never yielded a winner at the Kentucky Derby.

Stevens and Candy Boy showed a strong rapport earlier this year during their win at the Robert B. Lewis Stakes.

Starting against the rail, Stevens decided to head outside. He shadowed the leaders four-wide into the stretch before overtaking another Kentucky Derby contender, Chitu, to gain the victory.

After the race, Stevens spoke about Candy Boy's budding talent during an interview with Jack Shinar of BloodHorse.com, via ESPN.com:

For a big horse he has a lot of acceleration and confidence on the turn. I was closer than I thought we were going to be today. He's grown a lot lately, he's grown but he's also grown [mentally], too. I've been up for his last five works and we haven't really squeezed the trigger yet.

The gallop-out was huge today and I was already thinking about the Santa Anita Derby as we were galloping out around the turn. It was a lot of fun and he didn't even take a deep breath after the race. He's a super talent.

Since heading out wide and coming on strong down the stretch worked for this duo in February, starting at position 17 could suit Candy Boy nicely.

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