Churchill Downs will host the 140th Kentucky Derby on Saturday, adding another chapter to the event's long scroll of famed history.
This year's installment figures to live up to the hype, featuring a talented field led by California Chrome. While he's the favorite to take home the Triple Crown's first leg, plenty of other horses are in the running to run the fastest.
Those antsy for the gates to open can occupy their Saturday with a full helping of coverage. NBC will dedicate its programming to the event throughout the day, starting at noon on NBC Sports.
Date: Saturday, May 3
TV: NBC Sports (12-4 p.m. ET), NBC (4-7 p.m. ET)
Kentucky Derby Post Time: 6:24 p.m. ET
Live Stream: NBCSports.com
The Kentucky Derby race itself spans just a couple minutes, but the day as a whole consists of 13 races and seven hours of coverage. A lot of TV time centered around a two-minute event, huh?
Actually, it's more than seven hours for those who want to turn back to NBC Sports at 7 p.m. for more post-Derby analysis. Horse racing's biggest event of this year gets the full red carpet treatment, and that's not just including the red carpet show.
Those without access to a television can stream it live on NBCSports.com. Isn't the Internet a wonderful thing?
Here's the Kentucky Derby's updated field of 19 after Hoppertunity and Pablo del Monte dropped out. The first post position will remain empty, with everyone originally slated from No. 1-10 scooting down a spot.
|2014 Kentucky Derby Information|
|2||Vicar's In Trouble||Rosie Napravnik||Mike Maker||25-1|
|3||Harry's Holiday||Corey Lanerie||Mike Maker||66-1|
|4||Uncle Sigh||Irad Ortiz Jr.||Gary Contessa||33-1|
|5||Danza||Joe Bravo||Todd Pletcher||8-1|
|6||California Chrome||Victor Espinoza||Art Sherman||11-4|
|7||Samraat||Jose Ortiz||Rick Violette Jr.||18-1|
|8||We Miss Artie||Javier Castellano||Todd Pletcher||40-1|
|9||General A Rod||Joel Rosario||Mike Maker||18-1|
|10||Vinceremos||Joe Rocco Jr.||Todd Pletecher||50-1|
|11||Wildcat Red||Luis Saez||Jose Garoffalo||16-1|
|12||Dance With Fate||Corey Nakatani||Peter Eurton||22-1|
|13||Chitu||Martin Garcia||Bob Baffert||28-1|
|14||Medal Count||Robby Albarado||Dale Romans||25-1|
|15||Tapiture||Ricardo Santana Jr.||Steve Asmussen||18-1|
|16||Intense Holiday||John Velazquez||Todd Pletcher||14-1|
|17||Commanding Curve||Shaun Bridgmohan||Dallas Stewart||40-1|
|18||Candy Boy||Gary Stevens||John Sadler||25-1|
|19||Ride On Curlin||Calvin Borel||William G. Gowan||20-1|
|20||Wicked Strong||Rajiv Maragh||James A. Jerkens||10-1|
|Courtesy of Odds Shark|
Note: All odds, courtesy of Oddsshark, updated as of 8:30 p.m. on Friday, May 2.
Kentucky Derby Picks
California Chrome is the favorite, but where's the fun in picking the favorite? At the risk of stripping myself of any joy by successfully forecasting the winner, I'm going with Art Sherman's horse to take home first place.
Maybe that's not as much fun, but it sure feels like the most accurate hypothesis. And hey, there's some fluffy narratives to weave for California Chrome.
Sherman, 77 years old, finally gets a crack at the Kentucky Derby with a horse that co-owners Steve Coburn and Perry Martin previously purchased for $8,000.
Sherman described the satisfying nature of his unlikely path to Churchill Downs to CNN's Matt Majendie. The horse holding his key to victory has become, as he put it, "a rock star."
I've put 60 years into this business and I thought my chance in the Kentucky Derby had gone. You never say never. Now I've got another chance. It's a fairytale and I do believe in fate. He'll be the horse to beat. He's been awesome these last four races, we just hope he has five in him. But it's a different ball game when 150,000 people are screaming at you. But he's a rock star isn't he? That shouldn't be a problem.
He just loves to run, he'll run all day long. We just need some luck, that plays a big part in such a story. His story is just like that of Seabiscuit isn't it? It'd be a hell of a book or a movie if he pulls it off.
Simply put, California Chrome is a runaway freight train on any course. He's won his last four races, including a rousing victory at the Santa Anita Derby in April. He galloped out 5 1/4 lengths ahead of the pack.
This horse has the speed, experience and endurance to get the job done. The favorite doesn't always have to be considered the villain.
As for the rest, look to Samraat as this year's sleeper to propel into the top three. While he doesn't receive nearly as much attention as California Chrome, his past results are just as impressive.
Samraat notched off five consecutive victories before settling for a measly second place at the Wood Memorial Stake. Considering he isn't a perennial favorite, another second-place finish would hardly be a disappointment for the colt.
Several other stout contenders remain, but Wicked Strong salvages the show with the strong finish we're used to seeing from Gary Little's horse. Named to honor Boston, Wicked Strong was the one who ended Samraat's winning ways at the Wood Memorial.
This time, Samraat gets some revenge by crossing the finish line before him, but both of their owners will enjoy top-three finishes on the grand stage.
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