Horse racing is a sport that generally flies under the radar of mainstream public consciousness, but all eyes, ears and wallets will be on the 2014 Kentucky Derby as the horses trot into their gates. The event is always worth your time (it’s only two minutes, after all), but your attention is sure to be undivided if you put any money on the event. With the odds constantly changing, however, it can be hard to keep track—so this breakdown is here to help you in your gambling endeavors.
Where: Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky
Post Time: 6:24 p.m. ET on Saturday May 3
Where to Watch (TV): NBC
Where to Watch (Live Stream): NBC Sports Live Extra
|1||Vicar's In Trouble||Rosie Napravnik||Mike Maker||19-1|
|2||Harry's Holiday||Corey Lanerie||Mike Maker||38-1|
|3||Uncle Sigh||Irad Ortiz Jr.||Gary Contessa||26-1|
|4||Danza||Joe Bravo||Todd Pletcher||9-1|
|5||California Chrome||Victor Espinoza||Art Sherman||2-1|
|6||Samraat||Jose Ortiz||Rick Violette Jr.||15-1|
|7||We Miss Artie||Javier Castellano||Todd Pletcher||22-1|
|8||General A Rod||Joel Rosario||Mike Maker||29-1|
|9||Vinceremos||Joe Rococo Jr.||Todd Pletcher||48-1|
|10||Wildcat Red||Luis Saez||Jose Garoffalo||16-1|
|11||Hoppertunity||Mike Smith||Bob Baffert||Scratched|
|12||Dance With Fate||Corey Nakatani||Peter Eurton||14-1|
|13||Chitu||Martin Garcia||Bob Baffert||26-1|
|14||Medal Count||Robby Albarado||Dale Romans||24-1|
|15||Tapiture||Ricardo Santana Jr.||Steve Asmussen||37-1|
|16||Intense Holiday||John Velazquez||Todd Pletcher||13-1|
|17||Commanding Curve||Shaun Bridgmohan||Dallas Stewart||31-1|
|18||Candy Boy||Gary Stevens||John Sadler||16-1|
|19||Ride On Curlin||Calvin Borel||Billy Gowan||15-1|
|20||Wicked Strong||Rajiv Maragh||Jimmy Jerkens||7-1|
|21||Pablo Del Monte||Jeffrey Sanchez||Wesley Ward||Scratched|
|Odds via KentuckyDerby.com|
You can peruse the most up-to-date odds at the official Kentucky Derby website.
Win: Wildcat Red
Wildcat Red is my pick to win because of the tremendous fight he has shown in every one of his races. In seven races, he has never finished worse than second, and he has the speed to finish in the winner’s circle at Churchill Downs this year.
As the son of a noted sprinter, D’wildcat, Red definitely has the burst out of the gates of his father. That should help him jockey for position (pun somewhat intended) as he starts in the middle of the pack from post No. 10.
Attempting to wire the Kentucky Derby is, in general, a fool’s errand, so jockey Luis Saez will need to rein in his horse to make sure there is enough juice left in the tank for a furious finish.
If he can do that, the post position and closing burst will be good enough for Wildcat Red to don the ring of roses when it’s all said and done.
Place: California Chrome
The unquestioned favorite in this race is California Chrome, but that hasn’t generally worked out in the past. California Chrome is definitely the horse to beat here, however, given his spectacular form.
Cruising to dominant victories in his last four races, California Chrome has looked like a different breed compared to the rest of his competition. That said, early positioning will be crucial in this race. As trainer Art Sherman told Beth Harris of The Associated Press, “you want to get out and get yourself some position.”
Post No. 5 is not a bad place to be by any means, but generally, the middle of the pack fares better in terms of positioning. California Chrome will need to expend a good deal of energy early on in the race to establish positioning on the rail, and that will take away from the devastating closing speed the horse has displayed in recent races.
With an experienced jockey—Victor Espinoza—who has won at Churchill Downs before, all signs are pointing to a great showing by the California-bred horse.
Show: Ride On Curlin
Ride On Curlin is a dark horse here, but a second-place finish at the Arkansas Derby and the presence of three-time winner Calvin Borel on his back will help this horse finish among the top three.
The son of Curlin, Ride On Curlin has the bloodlines and the perfect closing style to do damage at this year’s fastest two minutes in sports.