2014 Kentucky Derby Predictions
CHURCHILL DOWNS, KY (The Spread) - With the 2014 Kentucky Derby just a mere hours away, here are our picks to win the first leg of the Triple Crown.
According to oddsmakers from online sports book Bovada.lv, California Chrome remains the favorite to win at 5/2, while Wicked Strong has the next-best odds at 6/1. Danza is also 7/1, while Intense Holiday is 12/1 and Candy Boy is 14/1. Ride On Curlin, Dance With Fate, Wildcat Red and Samraat are all 16/1, respectively.
TO WIN: California Chrome
There's a reason why California Chrome is favored to win today at Churchill Downs. He breezed to victory in the Santa Anita Derby, beating out Hoppertunity (who has since been scratched for the Kentucky Derby) and Candy Boy, respectively. He's also won all four of his starts heading into today's race, which includes three races on dirt. The distance and surface shouldn't be a problem today for California Chrome, who drew the No. 5 post position on Wednesday. Since 1975, that post has produced four winners in 39 starts and nine contenders that have placed either first, second or third.
TO PLACE: Wildcat Red
In seven career races, all on dirt surfaces, Wildcat Red has yet to finish lower than second. He's coming off a strong start in the Florida Derby in which he placed second behind Constitution and also won the Fountain of Youth on February 22. His other victories included the Hutcheson, an Allowance on October 13 and a MSW on September 14. He drew argubably the best post position on Wednesday, as he'll start out of the No. 10 gate. Of the 39 starts from that post, 13 contenders have finished in the top 3 (33%), which is the best percentage of any of the post positions. That spot has also produced the most wins at six. Wildcat Red is a good horse with history on his side.
TO SHOW: Ride On Curlin
You can never count out Calvin Borel, even when he'll start out wide. Borel has won three Kentucky Derbys dating back to 2007 and will have the ride today on Ride On Curlin, who is 18/1 to win. Ride On Curlin is coming off a second-place showing in the Arkansas Derby and consecutive third-place showings in the Rebel Stakes and Southwest Stakes. All of his races have come on dirt and he's trending in the right direction in terms of improving his finish despite the distance. He finished third at the Rebel Stakes, which is a 1 1/16 mile distance, and placed second in the Arkansas Derby, which was a 1 1/8 mile track. His arrow is pointing up.
Even though I didn't put him in my top 3 there's something that draws me to Samraat. He won five of his six career races and fared well in his pre-Derby start, finishing second behind Wicked Strong in the Wood Memorial. Previous winners in the Gotham haven't fared well in the Derby but it's hard to go against a horse that has competed in every race to date.