Kentucky Derby Betting: Field Set!

After months of watching stakes racing, following the points leaderboards and fastidiously monitoring the health of various colts, the field for the 2014 Kentucky Derby from Churchill Downs is set. Let’s take a look at who’ll be part of the Run for the Roses on Saturday. Coverage of the race starts at 4 PM ET on NBC.

California Chrome Leads the Field, Hoppertunity Out

The odds-on favorite going into the race is California Chrome, currently sitting at 11-4. History and geography aren’t exactly on the colt’s side – only three California-bred and trained horses have ever won the Derby, and California Chrome is from the west coast. The three previous California Derby winners were Morvich in 1922, Swaps in 1955 and Decidedly in 1962, meaning California Chrome could be the first to represent Cali in the winner’s circle for the first time in 52 years.

After California Chrome on the Derby odds was Hoppertunity, who came in second to the colt in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby. However, Bob Baffert pulled the horse due to a foot problem.

Next up is Wicked Strong coming in at 7-1. Another horse from a non-traditional racing state (Massachusetts), he raised some eyebrows by capturing the $590,000 Wood Memorial a few weeks back, surprising a field that included two undefeated colts, Social Inclusion and Samraat (who won the Gotham Stakes). Wicked Strong came in as a 9-1 longshot and for the majority of the race looked as though he was finished – until he caught the outside down the stretch and sailed home, winning the race by three and a half lengths, and more importantly, secured enough points to guarantee a berth in the Kentucky Derby. Wicked Strong’s original name was actually Boston Strong, in honor of those affected by the tragedy at last year’s Boston Marathon, but after learning another stable had already laid claim to the name, his ownership group decided to use the popular colloquial “Wicked” instead. The rest, as they say, is history.

The third favorite, at least according to oddsmakers, is Danza at 9-1 – and in case you’re wondering, yes, the horse is named after Who’s the Boss star Tony Danza. Danza’s sire is a stallion by the name of Street Boss – hence the play on “Who’s the Boss?” – and the colt burst onto the scene recently by capturing the Arkansas Derby as a 40-1 longshot. Danza had been one to watch earlier this season, especially after a third-place finish at Saratoga last August, but fell off the map in the heart of the stakes season due to a knee injury. The win at Arkansas really boosted his stock, though, and he’s looking like a serious player at Churchill.

As for the Rest…

The rest of the field looks like this: Samraat at 16-1, Intense Holiday at 18-1, Dance With Fate at 20-1, Ride on Curlin at 20-1, Vicar’s in Trouble at 20-1, Wildcat Red at 20-1, Tapiture at 28-1, Social Inclusion at 33-1, General a Rod at 33-1, Chitu at 33-1, We Miss Artie at 40-1, Medal Count at 40-1, Commanding Curve at 40-1, Uncle Sigh at 40-1, Vinceremos at 50-1, Harry’s Holiday at 50-1 and Pablo Del Monte at 50-1.

Looking for a sleeper pick? Want to throw your Kentucky Derby hats into the ring? Try getting down with Chitu at 33-1; he won the Grade 3 Stakes at Sunland and finished second in the Grade 2 at Robert B. Lewis. Chitu’s a good dirt runner that can tear it up with his speed, which is a good asset to bring to Churchill.  

Kentucky Derby Post Positions

1. Vicar’s In Trouble (Rosie Napravnik)

2. Harry’s Holiday (Corey Lanerie)

3. Uncle Sigh (Irad Ortiz Jr)

4. Danza (Joe Bravo)

5. California Chrome (Victor Espinoza)

6. Samraat (Jose Ortiz)

7. We Miss Artie (Javier Castellano)

8. General a Rod (Joel Rosario)

9. Vinceremos (Joe Rocco Jr)

10. Wildcat Red (Luis Saez)

11. Dance With Fate (Corey Nakatani)

12. Chitu (Martin Garcia)

13. Medal Count (Robby Albarado)

14. Tapiture (Ricardo Santana Jr)

15. Intense Holiday (John Velazquez)

16. Commanding Curve (Shaun Bridgmohan)

17. Candy Boy (Gary Stevens)

18. Ride On Curlin (Calvin Borel)

19. Wicked Strong (Rajiv Maragh)

20. Pablo Del Monte (Jeffrey Sanchez)

About Tennessee Leduc

Born in Summersville Kentucky, Tennessee is an impassioned fan of horse racing, women, civilized debauchery, and... mint juleps. He writes, he reads, he listens, but above all he experiences the world he lives in.

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