The sports world will have plenty to take in on Saturday with a slew of NBA Game 7s and a title fight featuring the unbeaten Floyd Mayweather Jr. on tap. But the most exciting two minutes will take place not in Las Vegas but at Churchill Downs, site of the 2014 Kentucky Derby.
While horse racing fans have been following the action closely in the lead-up to Saturday's 140th Run for the Roses, even casual fans will be tuning in for the Triple Crown's first leg this weekend.
With the stage set for another classic, let's take a closer look at the Kentucky Derby field and the latest odds for each horse.
Date: Saturday, May 3
Post Time: 6:24 p.m. ET
Where: Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky
Live Stream: NBC Sports Live Extra
|2||Vicar's In Trouble||Mike Maker||Rosie Napravnik||25-1|
|3||Harry's Holiday||Mike Maker||Corey Lanerie||50-1|
|4||Uncle Sigh||Gary Contessa||Irad Ortiz Jr.||35-1|
|5||Danza||Todd Pletcher||Joe Bravo||8-1|
|6||California Chrome||Art Sherman||Victor Espinoza||21-10|
|7||Samraat||Rick Violette Jr.||Jose Ortiz||16-1|
|8||We Miss Artie||Todd Pletcher||Javier Castellano||33-1|
|9||General A Rod||Mike Maker||Joel Rosario||18-1|
|10||Vinceremos||Todd Pletcher||Joe Rocco Jr.||50-1|
|11||Wildcat Red||Jose Garoffalo||Luis Saez||18-1|
|12||Dance With Fate||Peter Eurton||Corey Nakatani||14-1|
|13||Chitu||Bob Baffert||Martin Garcia||22-1|
|14||Medal Count||Dale Romans||Robby Albarado||22-1|
|15||Tapiture||Steve Asmussen||Ricardo Santana Jr.||20-1|
|16||Intense Holiday||Todd Pletcher||John Velazquez||12-1|
|17||Commanding Curve||Dallas Stewart||Shaun Bridgmohan||33-1|
|18||Candy Boy||John Sadler||Gary Stevens||18-1|
|19||Ride On Curlin||William G. Gowan||Calvin Borel||18-1|
|20||Wicked Strong||James A. Jerkens||Rajiv Maragh||8-1|
|SCRATCHED||Pablo Del Monte||SCRATCHED|
Info via KentuckyDerby.com. Odds via Oddsshark.com
General a Rod Will Surprise
With the California Chrome bandwagon nearing capacity and everyone buzzing about Danza and Wicked Strong, watch for General a Rod to surprise on Saturday.
The dark-horse contender even has the support of former Super Bowl MVP Aaron Rodgers:
Jockeyed by 2013 Kentucky Derby winner Joel Rosario, General a Rod will run from post No. 9 this weekend. And while he's come up short in his two most recent outings at the Grade 1 Florida Derby and Grade 2 Fountain of Youth Stakes, the longer Derby distance should allow him to finish strong.
General a Rod boasts a strong pedigree, one that features several key stamina influences. That's important for a race at this distance where speedsters tend to fall off the pace late.
General a Rod wouldn't be a huge upset, but based on his lack of notable victories coming in, it's safe to say few would have seen it coming.
Danza, California Chrome Will Finish in the Money
As for the favorites, look for both Danza and California Chrome to both finish on the board on Saturday. The two contenders will start alongside each other in post Nos. 5 and 6, respectively, per Yahoo Sports' Pat Forde, and should each make their way into prime position heading into the first turn.
California Chrome gets No. 5. Wanted 6-10 but certainly won't complain about that.— Pat Forde (@YahooForde) April 30, 2014
Danza's impressive display at the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby suggests he'll be a factor late, and California Chrome's four consecutive victories qualify him as a force to be reckoned with, per trainer Art Sherman, via ESPN.com's Gary West:
"He looked good out there. He's feeling good, and he's doing good. He's coming up to this race right."
Meanwhile, look for jockey Joe Bravo and Danza to come on strong toward the end similarly to the Arkansas Derby, overtaking California Chrome for second just ahead of the finish.
Although many consider Wicked Strong a favorite to finish in the money, his poor post draw is a concern. Only one horse has won from post No. 20 since 1929 and if jockey Rajiv Maragh is unable to navigate his colt through the traffic early, it's possible Wicked Strong could lose too much ground heading into the first turn.
A lack of execution early could easily derail Wicked Strong's entire trip.
Final Prediction: Win: General a Rod, Place: Danza, Show: California Chrome.
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