Just in case you haven't brushed up on the upcoming 2014 Kentucky Derby's post positions, odds and other useful information, a last-minute recap of the week's events and forward look to Saturday's prestigious race is in order.
That's exactly what we're doing here.
This week was filled with plenty of excitement off the track.
On Wednesday, jockeys, trainers, owners, media, bettors and casual fans awaited the fates of each horse during the official draw. At the event's conclusion we all knew what the field looked like, the early odds and the complete post information—or so we thought.
Thursday brought about a significant change, as one of the race's favorites Hoppertunity was scratched due to a left foot issue. That brought Pablo Del Monte into the field and changed post positions and odds accordingly.
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
Although, that wasn't all.
On Friday, Pablo Del Monte's owners announced they would be pulling the horse from the race, leaving a field of just 19 instead of 20. Once again, post positions were shifted and odds were reworked.
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
Following the aftermath, here's how the Derby's post positions and odds will look (hopefully) as the Run for the Roses commences (h/t The Baltimore Sun):
|2||Vicar's In Trouble||20-1|
|8||We Miss Artie||50-1|
|9||General A Rod||15-1|
|12||Dance With Fate||20-1|
|19||Ride On Curlin||15-1|
These post positions weigh heavily in determining which horses have what it takes to don a garland of roses by the race's conclusion.
Luckily for Vicar's In Trouble, the first post position will be vacant for this year's race. This horse will now begin in the second post and has a slightly better chance of making it out of the gate without being pinned against the rail.
The happiest people to hear Wesley Ward scratch are the #1 Vicar's in Trouble folks. Inside 10 all move out a stall.— Richard Eng (@RichEng4ProPick) May 2, 2014
Race favorites Danza, California Chrome and Samraat all benefit from this shift, moving outward from the rail by one position. Each of these horses will start in the fifth, sixth and seventh posts, respectively.
That's a huge advantage for the overall favorite California Chrome, as a seemingly clear path to the finish line is imminent.
Wildcat Red moves from the 10th post to the 11th. That doesn't seem like such a big move, but it is. Instead of being the last horse to pull into its stall, Wildcat Red now becomes the first, as the 11th gate is the first to load.
A long wait is in store for this horse before the race commences.
Commanding Curve has the daunting task of starting from the 17th post. This is the only position that has never yielded a winner in the history of the Kentucky Derby. Given the horse's 50-1 odds, it looks as though that streak will continue for at least another year.
Derby post position talk this morning on #wlky! No horse has ever won from the 17 slot......not a great indicator for Commanding Curve.— Karen Roby (@WLKYKaren) May 1, 2014
Wicked Strong will start from the 20th post. This may seem like a huge disadvantage; however, if any horse can be a factor from that gate, it's this one.
Obtaining a large amount of stamina and possessing great closing speed, Wicked Strong has the potential to avoid early traffic, set a good pace and come on strong down the final stretch.
That said, let's move on to the predictions.
This isn't an exact science. We all know that. Plenty can happen over the course of the Kentucky Derby. However, based on available information, here's how the standings could look at the race's conclusion:
|6||Ride On Curlin||19|
|9||Dance With Fate||12|
|10||General A Rod||9|
|13||Vicar's In Trouble||2|
|17||We Miss Artie||8|
Sean O'Donnell's Predictions
California Chrome won't disappoint. This horse is a severe threat for the Triple Crown and will claim a Kentucky Derby win due to recent dominance and a great starting position.
Danza has the ability to maintain a solid pace throughout the race. He should be able to stick with California Chrome throughout the duration only to be edged out down the final furlong.
Wicked Strong will begin near the rear of the pack and slowly make up ground before coming on extremely strong down the stretch to place third.
Whether this prediction comes to fruition or not, one thing is for certain: The strong field at the 2014 Kentucky Derby will bring about many thrills and plenty of excitement for everyone watching.
Be sure you don't miss out.