The Kentucky Derby, also known as the Greatest Two Minutes in Sports, is going to make one horse a lot of money in future stud fees and one owner a lot of money if his or her thoroughbred crosses the finish line in first place.
In fact, the path to becoming a millionaire in horse racing is much easier than it is by playing the lottery. Kentucky Derby favorite California Chrome cost Steve Coburn $8,000. At least that's what California Chrome's mother, Love The Chase, was sold to him for five years ago.
One reason the Derby generates such a vast audience is because of the money at stake. Gambling drives popular sports in this country, so it is no surprise that the purse for this race keeps growing.
As we count down the hours to post time at Churchill Downs, we will have all the information you need about the winning purse, projected order of finish and how we expect to get there.
Projected Prize Money
According to Jennie Rees of The Courier Journal, this year's Kentucky Derby purse would have reached $2,202,800. The winner would have gotten $1,442,800 with the rest going to the place and show finishers.
Unfortunately, due to the absence of Hoppertunity and Pablo Del Monte, the purse isn't going to reach those levels since that knocks the field down to 19 runners.
Trainer Bob Baffert reports Hoppertunity (left front hoof) will bypass Saturday's #KyDerby & will be examined later today in Lexington.— Kentucky Derby (@KentuckyDerby) May 1, 2014
BREAKING NEWS: Pablo Del Monte is OUT of the #KyDerby, per text from trainer W.Ward.— Marty McGee (@DRFMcGee) May 2, 2014
It's still going to be a hefty payday for whichever thoroughbred crosses the finish line first on Saturday night.
Projected Order of Finish
|8||Vicar's In Trouble|
|9||General A Rod|
|12||Ride On Curlin|
|17||We Miss Artie|
|19||Dance With Fate|
Who do you want to win the Kentucky Derby?
It's no surprise that California Chrome is at the top of my leaderboard. He's been the best horse in the country this year, not just at the Santa Anita Derby. The Golden State-based horse has won his last four races by 24.5 lengths, according to Kentucky Derby.com.
There's no horse in the field who can match that level of dominance from race to race. The only concern for California Chrome leading up to the Derby is everyone thinks he will win, which only sets him up for failure.
Of course, even when you think he's going to fail, like when he started slow out of the gate at Santa Anita, California Chrome catches himself and ends up winning by 5.25 lengths.
As for the horses behind California Chrome, Wildcat Red immediately jumps out. He's got a great starting post at No. 10, which has produced more winners (nine) than any other spot since Churchill Downs started using gates in 1930.
Mike Welsch of the Daily Racing Form did note that Wildcat Red looked bad during a practice session on Sunday, which certainly hurts his stock.
Wildcat Red very disappointing 5F 1:04.39 with no gallop out, obviously not as fond of this strip as swifter home course at Gulfstream— Mike Welsch (@DRFWelsch) April 27, 2014
However, to borrow a phrase from Allen Iverson, we're talking about practice. It doesn't matter what you look like before the game starts. All that matters is what you do when the gates open. He's never finished lower than second in seven career races with four total wins.
The rest of the field is a cluttered mess that has the potential to shine. A horse like Danza, who was a surprise winner at the Arkansas Derby, has the ability to emerge from the pack because he showed what happens when he's able to get on the inside and take the shortest path to win.
California Chrome stands above the rest of this field, so he should be draped in roses when the race is over.
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