Kentucky Derby 2014 Predictions: Final Picks on Odds for Undercard and Main Race

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMay 3, 2014

In this image taken with a fisheye lens, horses make their way around the track for a morning workout at Churchill Downs Friday, May 2, 2014, in Louisville, Ky. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

You may want to pace yourself on Saturday, otherwise, you won't survive.

There's the three Game 7s in the NBA playoffs. The Stanley Cup playoffs boast two second-round games. Interspersed throughout the day is the slate of MLB games. At night you've got the Floyd Mayweather-Marcos Maidana fight.

And wedged between it all is the 2014 Kentucky Derby, "the most exciting two minutes in sports."

Of course, the more diehard horse racing fans will be watching all of Saturday's action at Churchill Downs, which begins in the morning and runs through the evening.

Here's a look at the schedule for Derby day. You can view the full lineups and morning lines for each of the 13 races on

Churchill Downs Schedule of Events
Post Time (ET)TVRace
10:30 a.m.HRTVMdSpWt
11:00 a.m.HRTVMdSpWt
11:30 a.m.NBCSNOC $75k/N1X
12:04 p.m.NBCSNOC $75k/N1X
12:38 p.m.NBCSNOC $100k/N2X
1:19 p.m.NBCSNG3-Twin Spires Sprint
2:08 p.m.NBCSNG1-Humana Distaff
2:59 p.m.NBCSNG2-Churchill Distaff Turf Mile
3:51 p.m.NBCSNG2-Churchill Downs
4:46 p.m.NBCG1-Woodford Turf Classic
6:24 p.m.NBCG1-Kentucky Derby
7:20 p.m.HRTVOC $80k/N3$
7:50 p.m.HRTVAllowance N2$

All of the attention, though, is focused on the Run for the Roses. While the Triple Crown boasts another two races, arguably none holds the prestige of the Kentucky Derby. Those two minutes turn talented horses into legends.


Derby Field and Odds

2014 Kentucky Derby Post Position
1Vicar's In Trouble25/1
2Harry's Holiday50/1
3Uncle Sigh35/1
5California Chrome21/10
7We Miss Artie33/1
8General A Rod18/1
10Wildcat Red18/1
11Dance With Fate14/1
13Medal Count22/1
15Intense Holiday12/1
16Commanding Curve33/1
17Candy Boy18/1
18Ride On Curlin18/1
19Wicked Strong8/1
Pablo Del MonteSCRATCHED

Note: The odds are courtesy of and as up to date as May 3 at 2:12 a.m. ET.


Derby Analysis

California Chrome enters the Kentucky Derby as the favorite. The colt has won each of his last four races dating back to December 2013. The last win came at the Santa Anita Derby on April 5.

Also working in California Chrome's favor is that jockey Victor Espinoza has tasted success at Churchill Downs, winning the 2002 Derby with War Emblem.

There's very little not to like about this horse.

Joint-owner Steve Coburn remains confident of his chances heading into the race, per Matt Majendie for

"If he gets a clean run, he'll win," Coburn said. "I've said that before and I've been told I'm bold and arrogant. I'm not either of those. I'm just a man that loves this horse and believes in the fairytale."

Getting drawn in the No. 5 post also isn't much of a deterrent toward California Chrome's success. It's a little closer than Espinoza would've liked, but he's far enough off that with a good start, he shouldn't get stuck on the rail:

I'd like to give a bunch of scientific explanations for why I'm not taking California Chrome to win. All I've got are that favorites haven't had the best track record at Churchill Downs, and only eight horses have ever won the Kentucky Derby from the No. 5 position. The last to do so was Funny Cide all the way back in 2003.

Instead, I'm backing Wicked Strong.

Some may look at starting out in No. 19 as a death sentence. But Wicked Strong is at his best when running from slightly behind the lead.

The key will be not spending too much time getting on the rail. Jockey Rajiv Maragh must ensure that Wicked Strong remains tight on the leaders. He'll have enough left in the tank for a strong final kick, but that won't mean anything if he's sitting in eighth or ninth and lengths off the leader.

Trainer Jimmy Jerkens discussed how sometimes the colt decides to do his own thing, per Mike Kane of The Courier-Journal:

"He's a colt and he wants his way," Jerkens said. "There is a give and take, almost like having a teenager at home. Sometimes you've got to let him have his way and then he turns around and gives you a little slack. That's the way he is. He's a tough little guy. He's kind of plain-looking, but he has a little streak in him that you like to see in a colt. We let him get away with things and then we have to make him mind us."

If you need to see what Wicked Strong is capable of, go back and watch the Wood Memorial. He didn't have the best of starts but recovered well to win by 3.5 lengths over Samraat.

Wicked Strong may struggle to overcome a similar start, but beginning so far on the outside should mean that Maragh doesn't have to navigate through the crowd like he did at the Wood.

The colt may not be the most talented horse in the field, but he's got more than enough to win.

Winner: Wicked Strong