Free Picks: 2014 Kentucky Derby Preview & Pick

David Schwab

Wednesday, April 30, 2014 5:10 PM GMT

We are just days away from the running of this year’s Kentucky Derby, which marks the start of the 2014 Triple Crown racing season, with one of the highest prize purses in racing. California Chrome is all gold and at the top of odds makers favorite list. Can we sway your opinion?

The Favorites
The horse at the top of most lists heading into this race is California Chrome. Bovada has opened this three-year old colt as an 11/5 favorite to win this year’s “Run for the Roses” and for good reason. Trained by Art Sherman and ridden by Victor Espinoza, he accumulated the most points during this year’s Kentucky Derby prep race schedule. California Chrome only ran in two races, but that was more than enough to earn top honors. He followed up a victory in the Grade II San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita Park on March 8 with a convincing win in the Grade I Santa Anita Derby on April 5. 

The second favorite on Bovada’s board is wicked strong at 15/2. Training out of Centennial Farms under the watchful eye of James A. Jerkens, this colt first caught everyone’s eyes as juvenile, with a third-place finish in the Grade II Remsen Stakes at Aqueduct. He fell off the Triple Crown Trail with a very disappointing ninth-place finish in the Grade II Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Park in late January. Once at Aqueduct he started to regain his championship pedigree and he moved near the top of the list in Kentucky Derby qualifying points with a stunning victory in the Grade I Wood Memorial at Aqueduct on April 5.

Danza is currently listed as the third-favorite to win this year’s Derby at 10/1. He was ranked sixth in the standings with 100 points primarily on the strength of a victory in the Grade I Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park on April 12th. With Joe Bravo aboard for the ride, Danza won this race going off as a 41/1 longshot. This three-year old is probably trainer Todd Pletcher’s best shot at getting back to the Winner’s Circle in the Kentucky Derby after guiding Super Saver to a victory  in 2010.

The odds for a few of the other top contenders in the Kentucky Derby field are Hoppertunity at 12/1, Intense Holiday at 16/1 and Ride on Curlin and Vicar’s in Trouble at 18/1.

Also read our article for 2014 Kentucky Derby betting futures

Top Value Pick
I am moving down the board even further for my top value pick with a wager on Samarat at 20/1 to win this year’s Kentucky Derby. I have loved this three-year old colt ever since he went undefeated in three races as a juvenile, including a victory in the Damon Runyon Stakes at Aqueduct last December. Trained by Rick Violette Jr. and ridden by Jose Ortiz, he extended his winning streak as a three-year old to five with victories in two more stakes races at that track; the Grade III Withers Stakes on Feb. 1 and the Grade III Gotham Stakes on March 1. Even though this impressive winning streak came to an end, Samraat proved he is a legitimate contender to win this year’s Derby with a second place finish in the Wood Memorial on April 5.