Kentucky Derby 2014 betting guide

California Chrome
California Chrome is the favorite to win the 2014 Kentucky Derby.
Credit: Getty Images

Few people watch the Kentucky Derby for the race. They want to see if history will be made, with a Triple Crown horse emerging.

It has been almost 36 years since Affirmed won the Belmont Stakes to take the Triple Crown. Since then, there have been 12 horses to win the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness, only to lose at Belmont. This year, it is a horse from the West Coast that has everyone buzzing, but there is plenty of talent hitting the right stride in time for the Run for the Roses.

This year’s field is deep, and after favorite California Chrome it could be any horse to win, including New York locals Wicked Strong and Samraat. Both have shown well this spring at Aqueduct and could be primed for a finish in the money at famed Churchill Downs.

For most of the entries in this field, the derby can be a spooky experience: The large crowd buzzing, the flash of tens of thousands of cameras, a different track and strange surroundings can unnerve even a calm horse. Plus, the 1 1/4-mile dirt track is the longest trip any of these horses have taken, meaning a speed horse that can’t close could be left without a bed of roses.

The favorites

California Chrome (5-2) – No horse from the Golden State has won the Kentucky Derby since 1962, but there’s plenty of shine to this entry. Winner of his last four starts, including the April 5 Santa Anita Derby against Hoppertunity and Candy Boy, also in the field on Saturday, California Chrome is physically impressive with a long gait and good speed. Had an impressive breeze this past weekend and could be peaking at the right time.

Danza (10-1) – Trainer Todd Pletcher has a horse that could show everyone who’s the boss at Churchill Downs. With two wins in four starts, Danza runs consistently in the top three but may not have enough speed to compete with California Chrome. Still, if the favorite gets stuck, this horse can churn out a result, as was done in mid-April at the Arkansas Derby. Danza rode the rail from the gate in that Grade 1 stakes race three weeks ago, blowing past the small field to win by five lengths.

Wicked Strong (8-1) – Fresh off a win over Samraat and Social Inclusion in the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct, Wicked Strong is capable of a great trip or a rather ordinary one. While he’s coming off a strong finish in his two prior races prior to the Wood, he placed outside of the money both times. Has good closing speed at the final turn and will be listed as a favorite but perhaps shouldn’t be one – just not a proven winner.

Vicar’s in Trouble (30-1) – There are some things to like about this horse, including five finishes in the money in as many starts dating back to October, but there should be caution here as those three wins came against lesser competition. Yet in an impressive Louisiana Derby win in late March, Vicar’s in Trouble took the lead from the first turn to win by nearly five lengths. This is a horse that could be peaking at the right time and could be ready for the longest race of his career.

Can make a run

Dance with Fate (20-1) – He put up a tremendous push at the Blue Grass Stakes a couple weeks ago, coming from the back of the pack to make a wide run. At this distance, he could be an intriguing pick given the length of the race. Keep in mind that speed horses struggle in the Triple Crown, as endurance is key.

Wildcat Red (15-1) – He always runs in the money, but a loss by a nose at the Florida Derby showed this horse can’t go gate to post. He faded with a hard-charging Constitution pressing on. But he can be an interesting pick for the superfecta. He’s good enough to be here, not good enough to win.

Intense Holiday (12-1) – He has run in six straight graded stakes races and never finished worse than fifth. He would have to run his best for a similar result.

Samraat (15-1) – Samraat, who has done well at Aqueduct, is coming off a disappointing second at the Wood Memorial. If he is near the leaders at the final turn, he can make a late push, but he will have to time it just right.

Tapiture (15-1) – Coming off a weak fourth-place showing at the Arkansas Derby, this is a tough class for this horse, who has never won a race against any of the entrants in this field.

Candy Boy (20-1) – This is another proven horse from the California circuit, but he just does not have enough high-end speed. He came in third behind California Chrome and Hoppertunity at the Santa Anita Derby.

Chitu (20-1) – Three wins in his last four races looks promising, but that was against weak competition. A balanced field like this means a top-half finish would be a good stepping stone.

General A Rod (15-1) – He beat Wildcat Red at Gulfstream on New Year’s Day, but since then has struggled. He needs to find a rhythm and will need to run a perfect race.

The rest

Ride on Curlin (15-1) – He looked strong along the rail in Arkansas a few weeks ago, coming in second. He needs a bit more speed here but this horse is fearless.

Medal Count (20-1) – He’s had sporadic finishes, though a recent second at the Blue Grass was a boost. Still needs too much to go right.

We Miss Artie (50-1) – He ran a distant eighth to Wildcat Red in February’s Fountain of Youth, but rebounded well in March with a graded stakes win. He’ll need to make a huge leap to finish in the top four here.

Uncle Sigh (30-1) – Intriguing odds but a disappointing fifth at the Wood Memorial showed some flaws for the horse as he ran middle of the pack the whole way after a slow start. Hope for better, just not with your wallet.

Follow Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Apple says its systems not to blame for…

By Edwin Chan and Christina FarrSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - The week before a crucial launch of its new iPhone, Apple Inc said intimate photos of…

Local

Tallest residential building planned for lower Manhattan

A residential tower planned for lower Manhattan will soar 1,356 feet in the air -- just 12 feet shy of 1 World Trade Center. When…

Local

Bronx man commits suicide by decapitation

A Bronx man committed suicide Monday morning in the Hunts Point area of the Bronx by decapitating himself. According to the NYPD, the 51-year-old man…

Local

Top cops enroll in Twitter course at John…

NYPD officers are reportedly getting a lesson on the best way to use 140 characters or less. The New York Post reported Tuesday top officers…

Arts

Pop culture and prostitutes: New Toulouse-Lautrec exhibit at…

Henri Toulouse-Lautrec documented the cult of celebrity and the rise of pop entertainment in his prints, posters and lithographs — now on display at MoMA.

Arts

PHOTO: Extreme artist Eskil Ronningsbakken balances unicycle on…

Extreme artist’ Eskil Ronningsbakken balances on the edge of a cliff face at 4,600 feet – on a unicycle. The Norwegian travels across the globe, balancing over vertiginous ravines, tall…

Music

Hear two previously unreleased Adele songs

Missing some Adele in your life? Two previously unreleased songs from the singer have appeared online.

Music

Lincoln Center just made 'Lord of the Rings'…

Middle Earth already has sweeping vistas, a hero's journey and technology-revolutionizing special effects. But next April, the Lincoln Center will add another dimension to Peter Jackson's…

NFL

10 storylines to watch for the Giants this…

The Giants rebounded from an embarrassing 0-6 start last season, but not well enough to make the playoffs.

NFL

Michael Vick set to be weekly guest with…

Mike Francesa may need to backtrack from his harsh commentary of Michael Vick now that the Jets backup quarterback will be a weekly guest on his show.

NFL

Jets expect to make playoffs after sitting on…

The same pundits who predicted the Jets would be woeful a season ago are now eying the playoffs for this revamped team.

NFL

Antonio Allen returns to practice after concussion

Antonio Allen was cleared to practice again following his concussion two weeks ago.

Parenting

In defense of making a mess during playtime

"Recipes for Play" authors Rachel Sumner and Ruth Mitchener think playtime should involve the five senses and making a mess is part of the fun.

Wellbeing

Jason Hope helps push anti-aging efforts forward

Reporter was commissioned to write this in-depth article When it comes to age-related illness, the direction of modern medicine seems more reactive than proactive. In…

Wellbeing

Today's Doomsday preppers: a closer look at survivalist…

Reporter was commissioned to write this in-depth article. The term “Doomsday prepper” is often associated with the paranoid, anti-government stereotype of the 1990s. The truth…

Education

These college students think breakfast is the most…

  It should be no surprise that the city that never sleeps is also home to the most students who like to order food in…