With the 2014 Kentucky Derby just one day away, it's time to project the finishing positions for each horse in the field.
On Wednesday, we learned the post positions for the impending Run for the Roses—or so we thought.
After Hoppertunity was absent from early-morning workouts on Thursday, it was revealed that the horse was dealing with a left foot issue. He was ultimately scratched from the race, according to this tweet from the Lexington Herald-Leader:
The scratch shook up the field in a big way. With Pablo Del Monte assuming the 20th position, here's a look at the race's updated post positions and odds:
|2014 Kentucky Derby Post Positions and Odds|
|1||Vicar's In Trouble||20-1|
|7||We Miss Artie||50-1|
|8||General A Rod||15-1|
|11||Dance With Fate||20-1|
|18||Ride On Curlin||15-1|
|20||Pablo Del Monte||50-1|
Now, let's get down to the race predictions.
No one wanted to start up against the rail; however, someone had to get the first post. That unfortunate honor went to Vicar's In Trouble, whose name suddenly seems rather fitting.
Harry's Holiday and Uncle Sigh hold the two and three positions, respectively. These horses may have a difficult time getting out of the gate quickly due to the horses to their outside.
In a strong trio of horses in positions four through six, we have Danza, California Chrome and Samraat. All three of these horses are primed to be huge factors in this year's race, and it will be interesting to see which gets the best jump out of the gate.
There's aren't many top contenders in the coveted middle of the posts—that is, except for Wildcat Red in the 10th position. If this horse can get out of the gate quickly, he could be the pace-setter for the race.
Plenty of top contenders find themselves on the outside.
Tapiture starts 14th. Intense Holiday is in the 15th spot, and Wicked Strong sits outside at 19.
Wicked Strong is a great closer and could benefit by starting wide. Avoiding traffic early on is key, and this horse has the endurance and closing speed to make up plenty of ground down the final stretch.
Predicting the winner of the Kentucky Derby is a mishmash of history, science and dumb luck.
Historically speaking, horses starting on the interior have fared the best; however, winners of the last two Kentucky Derbies have come from the outside.
Strong closers look to be heavy factors in this year's race. California Chrome, Wicked Strong and Danza have all shown the ability to come up big in the final furlong this season.
Maybe some superstition will come into play as well. Candy Boy has the daunting task of starting from the 17th position—the only post that has never yielded a winner in the history of the Kentucky Derby.
Taking all of these factors into consideration, here's how the race's final standings could potentially shake out:
|2014 Kentucky Derby Final Predictions|
|8||Ride On Curlin||18|
|10||General A Rod||8|
|13||Dance With Fate||11|
|15||Vicar's In Trouble||1|
|19||We Miss Artie||7|
|20||Pablo Del Monte||20|
|Sean O'Donnell's Predictions|
Sure, plenty can still change before post time on Saturday. But one thing is for certain: This strong field will bring plenty of drama and excitement this year at Churchill Downs.