The 140th Kentucky Derby takes top billing and for good reason, but there is an entire day of horse racing action Saturday at Churchill Downs.
For those who won’t be in attendance, NBC Sports Network will cover the undercard races from 11 a.m. ET to 4 p.m. ET. KentuckyDerby.ag has the entire undercard schedule available.
However, it is the actual Derby and its loaded field that draws the majority of the interest. Here is a look at the broadcast information for the Run for the Roses:
|Date||Time (ET)||TV||Live Stream|
|Saturday, May 3||4-7 p.m. (actual race expected around 6:32 p.m.)||NBC||NBC Sports Live Extra|
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the Kentucky Derby for a certain sector of viewers is the betting line for each horse. California Chrome is the sure-fire favorite, but there are a handful of intriguing odds. Posting numbers and jockeys also come into play when determining the odds, so here is an overview of all that information, as of Odds Shark on Friday, May 2:
|1||Vicar's In Trouble||Rosie Napravnik||Mike Maker||25-1|
|2||Harry's Holiday||Corey Lanerie||Mike Maker||50-1|
|3||Uncle Sigh||Irad Ortiz Jr.||Gary Contessa||35-1|
|4||Danza||Joe Bravo||Todd Pletcher||8-1|
|5||California Chrome||Victor Espinoza||Art Sherman||21-10|
|6||Samraat||Jose Ortiz||Rick Violette Jr.||16-1|
|7||We Miss Artie||Javier Castellano||Todd Pletcher||33-1|
|8||General A Rod||Joel Rosario||Mike Maker||18-1|
|9||Vinceremos||Joe Rocco Jr.||Todd Pletecher||50-1|
|10||Wildcat Red||Luis Saez||Jose Garoffalo||18-1|
|11||Hoppertunity||Mike Smith||Bob Baffert||SCRATCHED|
|12||Dance With Fate||Corey Nakatani||Peter Eurton||14-1|
|13||Chitu||Martin Garcia||Bob Baffert||22-1|
|14||Medal Count||Robby Albarado||Dale Romans||22-1|
|15||Tapiture||Ricardo Santana Jr.||Steve Asmussen||20-1|
|16||Intense Holiday||John Velazquez||Todd Pletcher||12-1|
|17||Commanding Curve||Shaun Bridgmohan||Dallas Stewart||33-1|
|18||Candy Boy||Gary Stevens||John Sadler||18-1|
|19||Ride On Curlin||Calvin Borel||William G. Gowan||18-1|
|20||Wicked Strong||Rajiv Maragh||James A. Jerkens||8-1|
|21||Pablo Del Monte||Jeffrey Sanchez||Wesley Ward||SCRATCHED|
Now that we have the details on the broadcast information, the posting numbers, the jockeys and the odds, let’s take a look at a few notable storylines heading into the race.
The Kentucky Derby’s official Twitter page and the L.A. Daily News alerted horse racing fans of the absences of two different horses in the field:
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
Pablo Del Monte out, reducing Kentucky Derby field to 19 http://t.co/BbV3BNZQLr— L.A. Daily News (@ladailynews) May 2, 2014
It was originally supposed to be a 20-horse field, and Pablo Del Monte was going to take Hoppertunity’s place. However, instead we will have 19 competitors Saturday, which still makes for a crowded field. There should be plenty of jockeying in the early going, as riders try to avoid being trapped against the rail or falling too far behind.
Hoppertunity was seen as one of the primary contenders to keep California Chrome off the winner’s stand, so his absence is particularly notable.
The aforementioned California Chrome is the definitive favorite in the Derby, and he arrives at Churchill Downs with four straight dominating victories. In fact, he won by a combined 24.5 lengths over the course of those four runs and has six victories in 10 tries.
Hoppertunity is out of the field, and another formidable contender in Wicked Strong is starting from an outside gate. Jockey Victor Espinoza won the Derby in 2002 with War Emblem and will hope to add to his legacy Saturday.
He says that California Chrome does all the work, according to Beth Harris of the Associated Press, via ABC News: "He's so light on his feet. He just does things so easy and makes my job easy."
If Espinoza guides California Chrome to victory, trainer Art Sherman would become the oldest trainer to win the Run for the Roses at age 77.
That is exactly what will happen.
California Chrome is on an absolute tear and will jump out to an early lead from the No. 5 posting. From there, he will cruise to victory, especially with no Hoppertunity in the field.
It will set up discussion of a potential Triple Crown and drum up more interest in the sport than we have seen in quite some time.
Rosie Napravnik’s Quest for History
California Chrome won’t dominate all the coverage, though, because Rosie Napravnik is trying to make history.
Will Vicar's in Trouble finish in the top three?
If she guides Vicar’s In Trouble to a win, she would become the first-ever female jockey to capture the Kentucky Derby crown. The only problem is she is starting from the No. 1 posting, and emerging from that position in a favorable spot in such a crowded field will be a monumental task.
Napravnik’s resume is impressive nonetheless. She was the first woman to win at the Fair Grounds in New Orleans, the first woman to win the Louisiana Derby and the first woman to win the Kentucky Oaks. What’s more, she placed in fifth at the Derby last year, which is the best mark for a woman of all time.
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