Could this finally be the year for a Triple Crown winner?
After coming in as the odds-on favorite to capture the Kentucky Derby, California Chrome paced the field down the back stretch and claimed the historic race at Churchill Downs. Heading into the Preakness Stakes in less than two weeks, the California-bred colt is once again viewed as the top contender.
While the potential for a Triple Crown will dominate all headlines following the Run for the Roses, several notable horses still have a shot at overtaking California Chrome and 77-year-old Art Sherman.
Many of those horses finished with an unfavorable result at the Derby. But with a few weeks to recover and many of those horses still having a history of winning, expect a few to put on a much better performance at the Preakness.
Here's a look at the full results from Louisville and some horses that can emerge from the back of the Derby field for a strong run in Baltimore.
|1||5||California Chrome||Victor Espinoza||Art Sherman||2:03.66|
|2||17||Commanding Curve||Shaun Bridgmohan||Dallas Stewart||1 3/4|
|3||4||Danza||Joe Bravo||Todd Pletcher||3|
|4||20||Wicked Strong||Rajiv Maragh||Jimmy Jerkens||5 3/4|
|5||6||Samraat||Jose Ortiz||Rick Violette Jr.||5 3/4|
|6||12||Dance With Fate||Corey Nakatani||Peter Eurton||6 1/4|
|7||19||Ride On Curlin||Calvin Borel||Billy Gowan||6 3/4|
|8||14||Medal Count||Robby Albarado||Dale Romans||7 1/2|
|9||13||Chitu||Martin Garcia||Bob Baffert||8|
|10||7||We Miss Artie||Javier Castellano||Todd Pletcher||8 1/4|
|11||8||General A Rod||Joel Rosario||Mike Maker||8 1/4|
|12||16||Intense Holiday||John Velazquez||Todd Pletcher||9|
|13||18||Candy Boy||Gary Stevens||John Sadler||11 3/4|
|14||3||Uncle Sigh||Irad Ortiz Jr.||Gary Contessa||15|
|15||15||Tapiture||Ricardo Santana Jr.||Steve Asmussen||16 1/4|
|16||2||Harry's Holiday||Corey Lanerie||Mike Maker||22 1/2|
|17||9||Vinceremos||Joe Rococo Jr.||Todd Pletcher||28|
|18||10||Wildcat Red||Luis Saez||Jose Garoffalo||28 1/4|
|19||1||Vicar's In Trouble||Rosie Napravnik||Mike Maker||38 1/4|
|11||Hoppertunity||Mike Smith||Bob Baffert||SCR|
At the start of the season, Samraat looked like a colt that was nearly unbeatable. But that has cooled off in recent races for the Rick Violette Jr. horse.
In the several prep races leading up to the Derby, including the Gotham and Withers, Samraat took the top prize easily. Violette spoke about his horse following the final win at Aqueduct, per the Kentucky Derby's official site:
This is a real horse now. We knew he had a shot to be a real horse after the Withers; he proved he is a real horse today. This was a good field. It was a deep field of horses.
The weight had me worried. We picked up five pounds from last time; that's a big shift. I'd be lying if I said we weren't already thinking (about the Kentucky Derby). At this stage, we didn't want to do anything that would prevent us from going to the Derby.
Since that point, Samraat has dropped two consecutive races.
The fifth-place finish at the Derby was preceded by a runner-up at the Wood Memorial to Wicked Strong. Even with those unfortunate results, Samraat is still a strong challenger to California Chrome in Baltimore.
Given his past results, Samraat might finally settle in on the big stage and contend at the Preakness Stakes. If he can, this colt has a chance to win it all and upset California Chrome along with the rest of the field.
An early bump did Candy Boy in during the Kentucky Derby, but the colt still has a shot to fully rebound in the Preakness.
Candy Boy was such a late favorite that his odds moved from 16-1 to 9-1 due to a huge bet, but he disappointed with a 13th-place result. But even with that poor finish, Candy Boy remains a top contender for the upcoming leg of the Triple Crown.
Paul Lo Duca of TVG provides his analysis of the gelding following the Run for the Roses:
Watched replay multiple times now...Danza,Dance With Fate,General A Rod,Ride On Curlin and Candy Boy all ran great races despite trouble.— Paul Lo Duca (@paulloduca16) May 4, 2014
As Lo Duca points out, Candy Boy experienced some adversity at the beginning of the race and still performed valiantly at the Twin Spires.
If Candy Boy can get off to a better start in Baltimore, look for the colt to compete with the best in horse racing and potentially place in the top three.
Vicar's In Trouble
Which dark horse has the best shot at the Preakness Stakes?
From the very start, Vicar was indeed in trouble.
The colt came in with a strong pedigree and plenty of potential, but the post parade put a damper on Vicar's In Trouble's slim hopes of overtaking California Chrome.
Coming out of the No. 1 post, Vicar's In Trouble was reduced to barely being an afterthought out of the unlucky gate. And as the race transpired, Rosie Napravnik was unable to navigate the strong horse to the front or even the middle of the pack.
If this gelding can get a better starting position in the Preakness Stakes, watch out for Vicar's In Trouble and Napravnik. With the jockey looking to make history, the next leg of the Triple Crown will be a perfect opportunity for her and the colt.
Follow R. Cory Smith on Twitter.