The 2014 Kentucky Derby represents the first jewel of the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing. Every horse in the field is hoping it can win at Churchill Downs and go on to dominate the two remaining marquee races—the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes.
That is part of what makes the Derby one of the most consistently exciting races in the world. The outcome always matters and there is always hope afterward that the winner could go on to capture the remaining Triple Crown events and make history.
Let's take a look at the latest odds for each horse in the field at the Run for the Roses, as well as highlight a colt that actually has a shot at pulling off the first Triple Crown victory since Affirmed in 1978.
2014 Kentucky Derby Viewing Info
Date: Saturday, May 3
When: Coverage begins at 4 p.m. ET
Post Time: 6:24 p.m. ET
Live Stream: NBCSports.com
|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|
Triple Crown Hopeful: California Chrome
California Chrome is truly the one horse in the field that could not only run away with victory after a 10-furlong romp in the dirt at Churchill Downs, but also work his way north this summer and win at Pimlico Race Course and Belmont Park.
While it may not be shocking to hear the odds-on favorite is the strongest horse in the field and likely will be for the remainder of the three-year-old circuit, it actually hasn’t been a great boon to be favored in the Run for the Roses.
Over the last 33 years, only five horses were able to rise to the occasion as the favorites and claim victory at the Derby. Seattle Slew in 1977 was the last favorite to win the Triple Crown, proving that it is in no way an easy feat to accomplish.
California Chrome appears to be one of the rare favorites that is truly head and shoulders above any other competitor in the field on Saturday. The rising star has won six races in a row heading into the Derby and has a superstar team surrounding him.
SportsCenter posted a photo of Chrome up before dawn getting ready to win this upcoming race:
Giddyup! Kentucky Derby favorite California Chrome was up at 5:45 am to stretch his legs in advance of today's race. pic.twitter.com/Qn0dT38oRs— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) May 3, 2014
Jockey Victor Espinoza came immensely close to a Triple Crown title in 2002, taking War Emblem across the finish line first at both Churchill Downs and Pimlico before falling well short during the endurance test at Belmont.
Espinoza undoubtedly learned to manage the hype that comes with winning two Triple Crown races and should be able to apply those lessons going forward if he wins the Kentucky Derby.
While trainer Art Sherman hasn’t been a participant in the Run for the Roses in nearly 60 years, he does have a wealth of knowledge and experience in his pocket and won’t be deterred by the buzz surrounding a potential Triple Crown candidate.
Will California Chrome pull off a Triple Crown win?
California Chrome’s co-owner, Steve Coburn, is certainly not lacking confidence heading into the first leg of the Triple Crown, telling John Powers of The Boston Globe: “With a good break and a clean trip, I think it’s a done deal.”
Considering Chrome has blown away the competition by a combined 24.25 lengths over his last four races, it looks like Coburn will be right. Barring an accident or terrible start, Chrome will win the Derby and head into Preakness as a favorite.
It’s not easy to win a Triple Crown, but Chrome has the best chance of any contender in many years and could finally rejuvenate the sport with signature victories across the trio of major races.