The Kentucky Derby is right around the corner, and at this point, you know the field, the horses to watch and the jockeys of interest.
So, which horse will cross that finish line first?
Here is a look at the predicted finish for the entire 19-horse field, as well as the odds for each one to put it in perspective. The odds are courtesy of Odds Shark as of Saturday, May 3.
|1||Vicar's In Trouble||Rosie Napravnik||Mike Maker||20-1||5|
|2||Harry's Holiday||Corey Lanerie||Mike Maker||50-1||17|
|3||Uncle Sigh||Irad Ortiz Jr.||Gary Contessa||30-1||16|
|4||Danza||Joe Bravo||Todd Pletcher||8-1||3|
|5||California Chrome||Victor Espinoza||Art Sherman||5-2||1|
|6||Samraat||Jose Ortiz||Rick Violette Jr.||15-1||6|
|7||We Miss Artie||Javier Castellano||Todd Pletcher||50-1||15|
|8||General A Rod||Joel Rosario||Mike Maker||15-1||7|
|9||Vinceremos||Joe Rocco Jr.||Todd Pletecher||30-1||19|
|10||Wildcat Red||Luis Saez||Jose Garoffalo||15-1||10|
|11||Hoppertunity||Mike Smith||Bob Baffert||SCRATCHED||N/A|
|12||Dance With Fate||Corey Nakatani||Peter Eurton||20-1||14|
|13||Chitu||Martin Garcia||Bob Baffert||20-1||13|
|14||Medal Count||Robby Albarado||Dale Romans||20-1||12|
|15||Tapiture||Ricardo Santana Jr.||Steve Asmussen||12-1||11|
|16||Intense Holiday||John Velazquez||Todd Pletcher||8-1||9|
|17||Commanding Curve||Shaun Bridgmohan||Dallas Stewart||50-1||18|
|18||Candy Boy||Gary Stevens||John Sadler||15-1||8|
|19||Ride On Curlin||Calvin Borel||William G. Gowan||15-1||4|
|20||Wicked Strong||Rajiv Maragh||James A. Jerkens||6-1||2|
|21||Pablo Del Monte||Jeffrey Sanchez||Wesley Ward||SCRATCHED||N/A|
odds courtesy of Odds Shark
Now that we know what the projected finish looks like, let’s take a glance at our top three picks.
California Chrome has done nothing but dominate since he turned three years old. In fact, he is undefeated as a three-year-old and has won six different times in 10 starts in his career.
California Chrome comes into the Kentucky Derby with four straight victories by a combined 24.5 lengths, so it is safe to say that he has momentum in his corner. Included in that stretch were solid wins in the San Felipe Stakes and the Santa Anita Derby.
If there is anything to watch out for, though, it is the fact that he will be racing outside of his home state of California. The Associated Press pointed out that California horses don’t have an illustrious recent history at Churchill Downs:
California Chrome aiming to become the first California-bred Kentucky Derby winner in 52 years: http://t.co/hqxOMwgdcR— The Associated Press (@AP) May 3, 2014
Despite that fact, California Chrome is the favorite for a reason.
He will jump out to an early lead from a solid posting position and cruise to victory from there. Hoppertunity is no longer a threat after scratching, and California Chrome has dominant closing speed. He has shown as much recently since turning three years old.
Look for him to continue his hot streak by adding the most illustrious title in horse racing to his resume.
Wicked Strong is known for his closing speed, especially after emerging from the middle of the pack to win the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct.
In what place will Wicked Strong finish?
Owner Don Little Jr. discussed how crazy things have gotten since that win, via John Powers of The Boston Globe: “Since he crossed the line it’s been nonstop. The eight hours of sleep a night are long gone.”
He will need that closing speed because he is starting on the outside at the Kentucky Derby. There are so many horses in the field that chasing down all of them is a monumental task, given the posting. Were it not for that rather unfortunate posting, Wicked Strong would probably be the most serious threat to California Chrome, but it will be too much to overcome Saturday in terms of winning the actual race.
Danza dealt with a knee injury for much of last year, but he did win the Arkansas Derby in April and enters Churchill Downs with some momentum.
He also boasts a pedigree that is a solid combination of speed and endurance, two critical traits when it comes to the Kentucky Derby. His sire, Street Boss, won the Bing Crosby, Triple Bend and Los Angeles Handicaps in 2008 and was known as more of a sprinter. His dam, Champagne Royale, was responsible for multiple winners over long distances (Consider Yourself and Majestic Harbor).
Danza, who is actually named after actor Tony Danza, will have to flash both speed and endurance to compete in this field. Unfortunately for him, it still won’t be enough to hold off the red-hot California Chrome.
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