Kentucky Derby 2014 Post Positions: Field Predictions, New Odds and Jockey Info

Patrick ClarkeCorrespondent IMay 1, 2014

LOUISVILLE, KY - MAY 01:  Kentucky Derby contender California Chrome works during early morning workouts at Churchill Downs on May 1, 2014 in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

California Chrome is the favorite to win the 2014 Kentucky Derby from Churchill Downs on Saturday and for good reason.

The California-bred colt will be ridden by 2002 Kentucky Derby-winning jockey Victor Espinoza and will run out of the No. 5 post this weekend, a starting slot that has produced eight Derby champions since 1930, including War Emblem. That's important to remember because Espinoza jockeyed War Emblem to victory from the fifth post a dozen years ago.

But while California Chrome's pedigree is devoid of impressive stamina influences, a four-race winning streak and a somewhat lackluster field have many jumping on the colt's bandwagon ahead of the weekend, per NBC Sports:

But before you go picking California Chrome to run away with the Triple Crown's first leg, consider the key factors surrounding some of the other top contenders.

 

Date: Saturday, May 3

Post Time: 6:24 p.m. ET

Where: Churchill Downs, Louisville, Kentucky

Watch: NBC

Live Stream: NBC Sports Live Extra

 

2014 Kentucky Derby Field
Post Pos.HorseJockeyTrainerPedigreeOdds
1Vicar's In TroubleRosie NapravnikMike MakerSire: Into Mischief, Dam: Vibrant, Dam Sire: Vicar20-1
2Harry's HolidayCorey LanerieMike MakerSire: Harlan's Holiday, Dam: Daisy Mason, Dam Sire: Orientate50-1
3Uncle SighIrad Ortiz Jr.Gary ContessaSire: Indian Charlie, Dam: Cradlesong, Dam Sire: Pine Bluff30-1
4DanzaJoe BravoTodd PletcherSire: Street Boss, Dam: Champagne Royale, Dam Sire: French Deputy8-1
5California ChromeVictor EspinozaArt ShermanSire: Lucky Pulpit, Dam: Love the Chase, Dam Sire: Not for Love5-2
6SamraatJose OrtizRick Violette Jr.Sire: Noble Causeway, Dam: Little Indian Girl, Dam Sire: Indian Charlie15-1
7We Miss ArtieJavier CastellanoTodd PletcherSire: Artie Schiller, Dam: Athena's Gift, Dam Sire: Fusaichi Pegasus50-1
8General A RodJoel RosarioMike MakerSire: Roman Ruler, Dam: Dynamite Eyes, Dam Sire: Dynaformer15-1
9VinceremosJoe Rocco Jr.Todd PletcherSire: Pioneerof the Nile, Dam: Kettle's Sister, Dam Sire: More Than Ready30-1
10Wildcat RedLuis SaezJose GaroffaloSire: D'Wildcat, Dam: Racene, Dam Sire: Miner's Mark15-1
SCRATCHEDHoppertunity
11Dance With FateCorey NakataniPeter EurtonSire: Two Step Salsa, Dam: Flirting with Fate, Dam Sire: Saint Ballado20-1
12ChituMartin GarciaBob BaffertSire: Henny Hughes, Dam: Sea Gift, Dam Sire: A.P. Indy20-1
13Medal CountRobby AlbaradoDale RomansSire: Dynaformer, Dam: Brisquette, Dam Sire: Unbridled's Song20-1
14TapitureRicardo Santana Jr.Steve AsmussenSire: Tapit, Dam: Free Spin, Dam Sire: Olympio8-1
15Intense HolidayJohn VelazquezTodd PletcherSire: Harlan's Holiday, Dam: Intensify, Dam Sire: Unbridled's Song8-1
16Commanding CurveShaun BridgmohanDallas StewartSire: Master Command, Dam: Mother, Dam Sire: Lion Hearted50-1
17Candy BoyGary StevensJohn SadlerSire: Candy Ride, Dam: She's An Eleven, Dam Sire: In Excess15-1
18Ride on CurlinCalvin BorelWilliam G. GowanSire: Curlin, Dam: Magical Ride, Dam Sire: Storm Cat15-1
19Wicked StrongRajiv MaraghJames A. JerkensSire: Hard Spun, Dam: Moyne Abbey, Dam Sire: Charismatic6-1
20Pablo Del MonteJeffrey SanchezWesley WardSire: Giant's Causeway, Dam: One Hot Wish, Dam Sire: Bring the Heat50-1
Odds and info via KentuckyDerby.com

 

Field Predictions 

Winner: General a Rod, 15-1

LOUISVILLE, KY - APRIL 29:  General A Rod is ridden by Joel Barrientos during the morning exercise session in preparation for the140th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on April 29, 2014 in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

A dark-horse contender to watch for this weekend is General a Rod, who will run from the No. 8 post on Saturday, as noted by Yahoo Sports' Pat Forde:

Not only has that post produced eight Derby champions since 1930, but Mine That Bird won from the eighth slot as recently as 2009.

Plus, General a Rod will be jockeyed by Joel Rosario, who won the Derby a year ago atop Orb. 

General a Rod's pedigree is also very encouraging and suggests that he could potentially capitalize on the longer distance. General a Rod's sire, Roman Ruler is the son of 2000 Kentucky Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus. And on his dam side, General a Rod features strong stamina influences. His dam sire is Dynaformer, who sired 2006 Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro.

Therefore, with 15-1 odds, General a Rod appears to be a smart bet this weekend.

 

Place: Danza, 8-1

LOUISVILLE, KY - APRIL 30:  Danza ridden by Ezequiel Perez goes over the track during the morning exercise session in preparation for the 140th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on April 30, 2014 in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

Grade I Arkansas Derby winner Danza boasts encouraging odds and a strong pedigree heading into this weekend's Run for the Roses and will have an excellent shot to reach the winner's circle at Churchill Downs.

A little piece of history to keep in mind: Danza is trained by Todd Pletcher, who won the 2010 Kentucky Derby with Super Saver. Oddly enough, Super Saver won from post No. 4, the same slot Danza will start from on Saturday. 

In addition to having momentum and history on his side, Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners president Aron Wellman (the company that owns Danza) likes what he's seeing from Danza ahead of Saturday's race, per USA Today's Jeff Greer:

"There are two schools of thought: One that says the Arkansas Derby had to be a fluke. The second is people delving deeper into his form and saying he hadn't done anything wrong and that maybe it wasn't a fluke...This could be the horse that's in the right place at the right time."

The Kentucky Derby will obviously be a huge test, but Danza's performance on the dirt at Oaklawn Park last month, in which he beat out fellow Derby contenders Ride on Curlin and Tapiture, suggests he's capable of conquering the 10 furlongs at Churchill Downs on Saturday.

 

Show: California Chrome, 5-2

It's obvious why California Chrome is considered one of the favorites to win on Saturday, In addition to having won four consecutive races, the colt drew an excellent post and will be jockeyed by a past Derby winner in Espinoza. 

But the lack of strong stamina influences in California Chrome's pedigree seem to suggest that Art Sherman's favorite will wind up surrendering the lead late. 

LOUISVILLE, KY - APRIL 29: Wicked Strong is ridden by Kelvin Pahal during the morning exercise session in preparation for the140th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on April 29, 2014 in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Had Wicked Strong drawn a more favorable post on Wednesday, he'd have a much stronger chance to show or even win on Saturday. However, jockey Rajiv Maragh will have his work cut out for him while operating from way outside the rail in post No. 19.

Despite his tremendous potential, there's a good chance that Wicked Strong will lose too much ground heading into the first turn and struggle to recover.

And while California Chrome won't have the same challenges, the longer distance could derail his hopes. Still, at 5-2, he's a safe bet to finish in the money this weekend.

 

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