04/30/2014 6:02PM

Kentucky Derby: California Chrome solid favorite from post 5

Barbara D. Livingston
California Chrome should be able to gain good early position from post 5.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – California Chrome has won four straight races, and when he goes for five on Saturday in the 140th Kentucky Derby, he’ll be wearing number 5, the post he drew when a full field was entered on Wednesday at Churchill Downs.

Victor Espinoza, the rider of California Chrome, was satisfied with the post, believing it to be a good omen, since he scored his only Derby victory in 2002 on War Emblem, who was number 5 in that race.

California Chrome is favored on the lines of both Mike Battaglia of Churchill Downs and Mike Watchmaker, Daily Racing Form’s national handicapper. Battaglia, who was making his 40th consecutive Derby line here, made California Chrome the 5-2 choice, while Watchmaker has him favored at 3-1.

Battaglia originally had Wicked Strong as his second choice, but when that colt drew the far outside, post 20, he switched, and made Hoppertunity, who drew post 11, the second choice. Hoppertunity is 6-1 on Battaglia’s line, with Wicked Strong 8-1.

Watchmaker has Wicked Strong as his second choice, at 8-1, with Hoppertunity the third choice at 10-1.

:: KENTUCKY DERBY: Posts, odds, and comments

Wicked Strong’s outside draw was the most significant of the major contenders, but several others had bad luck during the draw. Mike Maker, who trains three runners, saw two of them – Vicar’s in Trouble and Harry’s Holiday – land the two inside posts, in that order. Vicar’s in Trouble is a front-runner, so the start will be crucial for him if he hopes to avoid getting trapped behind runners in the early going.

Maker’s third runner, General a Rod, drew post 8.

Candy Boy landed post 18. His jockey, Gary Stevens, said he already had sized up the trip he envisions, vis-à-vis the horses he fears most, and was plotting strategy as each runner’s post was assigned.

“There’s four or five I have my eye on, and I’m outside all of them,” he said.

Tapiture got a post his connections desired. His trainer, Steve Asmussen, was hoping Tapiture would be towards the outside of the field, allowing him to get into the flow of the race instead of being hustled from down inside. He landed post 15, which is the first stall in the six-horse auxiliary gate.

:: ROAD TO THE KENTUCKY DERBY: Prep races, point standings, replays

Medal Count drew post 14, the outside post in the main gate. Both posts 14 and 15 are considered good posts, because there is a space between the main gate and the auxiliary gate, affording a horse the opportunity to overcome a bit of a tardy start.

There were 21 horses entered in the Derby, but a maximum of 20 can run.

A points system, devised by Churchill Downs and in its second year, determines the field. In cases of ties, preference is given to the horse with the most earnings in non-restricted stakes races.

The lone horse who did not make the cut – Pablo Del Monte - was placed on an also-eligible list. He can only draw in if there is a defection by scratch time, which is Friday at 9 a.m.

The Derby will be shown live during a three-hour telecast on NBC beginning at 4 p.m. Eastern on Saturday. The day’s coverage begins at noon on NBCSN, and continues on NBCSN following the Derby with a post-race show from 7-7:30 p.m.

If the maximum field of 20 starts, the total purse of the Derby would be $2,202,800, with $1,442,800 going to the winner.

Barbara MacLean More than 1 year ago
How to win the Derby formula...put the names in a hat, then toss in air...last one to fall will be your winner. That simple! Good luck, u will need it:). Ky girl.
Barbara MacLean More than 1 year ago
Put the names in a hat... toss in the air. The last one to fall... wins! It's that sure!
Boyd Cord More than 1 year ago
Down to 3 Cal Chrome Candy Boy Wicked Strong
dameian ramsay More than 1 year ago
I love California chrome. From what I've seen he's the hands down the best horse by far in this race and wouldn't b surprised if he went wire to wire on these horses. I would of loved to c them give him a work over cd surface. Ther will b no betting value on him. If I get 3-1 or better I will mt my account on him but I doubt I Wil get that. This is the Kentucky t and a 20 horse field and this is horse racing and racez aren't won on paper.
Boyd Cord More than 1 year ago
He'll go off 3-1 to 7/2. I seeing people are TRYING to look elsewhere. Watch the odds on Danza, he's the one that scares me because I don't want to use him
Boyd Cord More than 1 year ago
No offense to the DRF writers but did anyone pick Hellmers brain on this race?
TEDK215 More than 1 year ago
if Danza gets just of the pace like he did his last time, I think Bravo will finally get that Derby win that has eluded him far to long! Good Luck Joe, this might be your best shot!
rahman Williams More than 1 year ago
I have to go with the bounce angle on him, the derby will be only his second two turn start. He ran a big one last time out. He is definitely talented enough to win, I see Pletcher winning his first preakness or third belmont with him.
Boyd Cord More than 1 year ago
except why no one ever bet him? Not even his owners
rahman Williams More than 1 year ago
5. Best form might be best horse, does not alway win, must put on tickets 6. Very consistent, Dangerous 13. To the outside of all the speed, trained by the speed demon 14. Big strong horse with great pedigree 18. Might of been compromise by Santa Anita'sTrack. Could freak at Churchill. Win Bet 13, I love longshots with speed. Good luck everyone
dameian ramsay More than 1 year ago
Love ur thoughts . Ive told everyone at my local otb don't sleep on chitu. He comes from Hennessey the same sire for beholder. They said the same thing about beholder she can't get the distance and she's repeatedly run the best fillies in grade 1 route races. It seems like everyone is forgetting that he has the great AP Indy on his bottom side of pedigree for the stamina. I will b putting a small win bet on him.hehas the second fastest z1 1/8 time 1:47.55 to California chrome 1:47:255 and also has the 3nd fastest time to California chrome's fastest 1 1/6 race which was 1:40 . He lost that race by 1/2 to candy boy in the Robert lewis aftrr pressing the pace the whole way final time wss 1:41. All these other horses running 1:43'1:45 at a z1 1/16 snd 2:49- 1:52 at 1 1/8
Johnson Smith More than 1 year ago
CC seems to have drawn well. The #1 horse is committed to the lead and #10 is going to go up front, so CC should get a clean stalking position with Danza behind those 2. The biggest worries are the #2/7/9. All of them are no chance horses trained by guys with better dogs in the fight. You would hope no funny business is going to happen, but if their main objective is to find the #5 horse then CC might not get such a clean trip.
Roger More than 1 year ago
California Chrome's biggest problem is having Samraat to his outside. Samraat is the fastest breaker in the field and will be the first one out. This horse won't let CC get out without paying a huge price and if he does get out this one will go after him. I'm elated he's right to CC's outside.
B More than 1 year ago
I hope for the good of the sport that California Chrome is the real deal. He certainly looks the best on paper, but no racing outside of California and no works over this track causes one to pause. I love Wildcat Red, but obviously the distance is an issue. Nevertheless, I was going to keep him my exotics, but that that terrible CD work for a horse that has never run anywhere other than Gulfstream makes me more than pause. Wicked Strong from post 20 has an awful lot of horses to pass to win this and he is unproven outside of NY, though for this race that is probably better than being unproven outside of Gulfstream. I guess one also has to consider Hoppertunity and Danza and long shot Medal Count just might relish the distance. I have no interest in any of the others though some may have talent and futures, particularly Samraat, but I don't think a mile & a quarter on this track is their thing.