Gentlemen, start your horses. Or something like that. The Kentucky Derby is almost here!
And you need information, folks. You need horse names, post positions, odds and perhaps some betting tips, mint julep recipes, big-hat advice and Hunter S. Thompson columns, and...
Okay, whoa, I should slow down. You really just want more information on the horses, I'm sure. Well, you've come to the right place.
|1||Vicar's In Trouble||Kenneth L. and Sarah K. Ramsey||Mike Maker||Rosie Napravnik||20-1|
|2||Harry's Holiday||Skychai Racing LLC, Sand Dollar Stable, LLC, Terry Raymond & Jana Wagner||Mike Maker||Corey Lanerie||50-1|
|3||Uncle Sigh||Wounded Warrior Stables & Anthony C. Robertson||Gary Contessa||Irad Ortiz Jr.||30-1|
|4||Danza||Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners||Todd Pletcher||Joe Bravo||8-1|
|5||California Chrome||Steve and Carolyn Coburn & Perry and Denise Martin||Art Sherman||Victor Espinoza||5-2|
|6||Samraat||My Meadowview Farm||Rick Violette Jr.||Jose Ortiz||15-1|
|7||We Miss Artie||Kenneth L. and Sarah K. Ramsey||Todd Pletcher||Javier Castellano||50-1|
|8||General A Rod||Starlight Racing & Skychai Racing, LLC||Mike Maker||Joel Rosario||15-1|
|9||Vinceremos||WinStar Farm LLC and Twin Creeks Racing||Todd Pletcher||Joe Rococo Jr.||30-1|
|10||Wildcat Red||Honors Stable Corp.||Jose Garoffalo||Luis Saez||15-1|
|12||Dance With Fate||S. Alesia, Bran Jam Stable & Ciaglia Racing, LLC||Peter Eurton||Corey Nakatani||20-1|
|13||Chitu||Tanma Corporation||Bob Baffert||Martin Garcia||20-1|
|14||Medal Count||Spendthrift Farm||Dale Romans||Robby Albarado||20-1|
|15||Tapiture||Winchell Thoroughbreds||Steve Asmussen||Ricardo Santana Jr.||12-1|
|16||Intense Holiday||Starlight Racing||Todd Pletcher||John Velazquez||8-1|
|17||Commanding Curve||West Point Thoroughbreds||Dallas Stewart||Shaun Bridgmohan||50-1|
|18||Candy Boy||C R K Stable LLC||John Sadler||Gary Stevens||15-1|
|19||Ride On Curlin||Daniel J. Dougherty||William G. Gowan||Calvin Borel||15-1|
|20||Wicked Strong||Centennial Farms||James A. Jerkens||Rajiv Maragh||6-1|
|21||Pablo Del Monte (SCRATCHED)|
The race is already down two contestants, as both Hoppertunity and his replacement, Pablo Del Monte, have been withdrawn from the race. From the Derby's official Twitter account:
BREAKING NEWS: AE #21 Pablo Del Monte scratches from #KyDerby. Field of 19 set for Saturday's 140th running.— Kentucky Derby (@KentuckyDerby) May 2, 2014
With scratch of Hoppertunity, all horses in posts 1-10 will move out one spot in #KyDerby starting gate, per steward Barbara Borden.— Kentucky Derby (@KentuckyDerby) May 2, 2014
Hoppertunity was one of the top contenders to challenge race favorite California Chrome, making his withdrawal particularly disappointing. One of his owners, Mike Pegram, talked to BloodHorse.com, via ESPN.com, about that disappointment:
This is part of the business you don't like, but they're athletes and these things happen. This happens a lot, but this just happened in the Kentucky Derby. You don't get that many shots. That's the reason you never apologize when you win.
I'm just lucky to have partners like Paul [Weitman] and Karl [Watson], who are gentlemen and take it in stride. I can tell you we may have a happy face but we're dying inside.
So, who will win? And who should you be betting on?
The former is pretty hard to discern. There are a couple of ways to approach the latter.
You could go with past performances, in which case California Chrome is probably your horse. He's coming into the Derby with four straight wins, including a dominating performance in the Santa Anita Derby.
Of course, Danza won the Arkansas Derby, always a pretty good indication of which contenders might fare well in the Kentucky Derby, so Danza will be a popular choice in this race.
Wicked Strong is fresh off a victory at the Wood Memorial making him a major contender and arguably the top competition for California Chrome after Hoppertunity's withdrawal.
Of course, people often focus on post position when picking a winner. Danza is an early runner, so his spot on the inside benefits his style. California Chrome will be pleased with his starting post as well, though if he doesn't run well early, he could get squeezed between fast starters Danza and Samraat.
Wicked Strong is going to have a difficult run starting so wide from the outside. He'll need to put himself in position to stalk the leaders and not fall too far down the pack. If the latter happens, he'll be in trouble.
Tapiture and Intense Holiday will be pleased with starting spots just outside of the main pack, while Calvin Borel is going to have a heck of a time getting Ride On Curlin to the inside given the horse's starting post.
And hey, what's in a name? If you just want to wear a fancy hat or suit, drink mint juleps and have a good time, perhaps you aren't too concerned with past performances or post positions. If that's the case, perhaps you should just pick the best name.
There's Danza, for you Who's the Boss? fans. If you were originally turning your nose up at General A Rod, don't worry—he isn't named after the baseball player.
There's Wildcat Red, who sounds less like a horse and more like a 1970s comedian with a scotch in one hand and a cigarette in the other. And of course, there is Wicked Strong, named to honor the victims of last year's Boston Marathon bombings.
It's hard to top a name with as much meaning as that.