Johnny Love's Kentucky Derby preview

  • Updated: May 3, 2014 - 7:11 AM

Purse: $2 million Guaranteed
 
Post Horse Opening Odds Jockey Trainer
1        
2 Vicar's in Trouble 30-1 Rosie Napravnik Mike Maker
3 Harry's Holiday 50-1 Corey Lanerie Mike Maker
4 Uncle Sigh 30-1 Irad Ortiz Jr. Gary Contessa
5 Danza 8-1 Joe Bravo Todd Pletcher
6 California Chrome 5-2 Victor Espinoza Art Sherman
7 Samraat 15-1 Jose Ortiz Rick Violette Jr.
8 We Miss Artie 50-1 Javier Castellano Todd Pletcher
9 General a Rod 15-1 Joel Rosario Mike Maker
10 Vinceremos 30-1 Joe Rocco Jr. Todd Pletcher
11 Wildcat Red 15-1 Luis Saez Jose Garoffalo
-- Hoppertunity - Scratched -- Mike Smith Bob Baffert
12 Dance With Fate 20-1 Corey Nakatani Peter Eurton
13 Chitu 20-1 Martin Garcia Bob Baffert
14 Medal Count 20-1 Robby Albarado Dale Romans
15 Tapiture 15-1 Ricardo Santana Jr. Steve Asmussen
16 Intense Holiday 8-1 John Velazquez Todd Pletcher
17 Commanding Curve 50-1 Shaun Bridgmohan Dallas Stewart
18 Candy Boy 20-1 Gary Stevens John Sadler
19 Ride On Curlin 15-1 Calvin Borel William Gowan
20 Wicked Strong 6-1 Rajiv Maragh Jimmy Jerkens
 
Colts & Geldings Carry 126 Pounds

 

 

Expect a blistering pace in this year’s 140th Kentucky Derby, and California Chrome will be wearing the bull’s-eye as the deserving favorite after winning his past four races by a total of 25 lengths. On paper, he’s heads above the rest of the field and a potential superstar in the sport, but he needs to overcome the not-so favorable inside post position and all the obstacles that lie ahead for him in this large field. There are more than enough off-the-pace runners who are major threats and will benefit from the expected quick fractions up front that occur when 20 horses stampede out of the gate. Here are my main contenders in this year’s field, where anything can happen once the gates are opened, and if you don’t like the favorite, there is a plethora of prices.

 

DANCE WITH FATE: I always look for runners who are improving each race, and Dance With Fate has done just that in his past four attempts, including an impressive off-the-pace victory in the Blue Grass Stakes. The knock on DWF is that his stakes victory was on Polytrack. I used to toss these runners off my ticket myself, but successful Polytrack runners have adjusted well to the Churchill dirt track in recent years. DWF will benefit from the contested fractions, and I expect him to be near the front coming down the stretch with the opportunity to light up the board at a 20-1 morning line. Veteran jockey Cory Nakatani will know exactly where to position his ride and know when to push the go button.

 

CALIFORNIA CHROME: The favorite is talented enough to sit off the pace or take the lead, and my guess is he’ll sit right behind the pace-setters. Keys for him are breaking well, which has been a slight issue, and getting into position near the front around the first turn without getting squeezed or bumped around. His wins are more impressive to watch than they are to read in past performances. Jockey Victor Espinoza looked like a statue in the saddle, without no urging or whip needed, in the most impressive prep race of horses in today’s field. If California Chrome wins the Derby, he will be the legitimate Triple Crown threat that we haven’t seen in years.

 

MEDAL COUNT: Another Polytrack/turf-to-dirt transfer who finished second to Dance With Fate in the Blue Grass Stakes, finishing strong. Most likely will sit midpack and get first shot on the speedsters up front. Trainer Dale Romans is extremely high on his colt, which has been showing encouraging workouts this week in training. Slight cause for concern is that this will be his third start in 30 days.

RIDE ON CURLIN: Ride on Curlin has been improving and is coming off a place finish in the Arkansas Derby after a bumpy start. The colt has never finished worse than fourth in nine starts and should handle the Derby distance with a great view of the pace-setters, sitting right behind, ready to pounce. Calvin Borel gets the mount; he won the Derby in 2009 and 2010.

 

INTENSE HOLIDAY and WICKED STRONG: The outside positions have been the money posts in the Derby the past few years because runners are able to avoid the bumping and body slamming that goes on after the gates are opened. Intense Holiday and Wicked Strong are both strong closers who will appreciate the quick early pace, and both seem to be on the upswing.

 

Love’s wagers: $2 exacta 12, 14 with all —$76; 50 cent trifecta box with 5, 12, 14, 19, 20 — $30. Total — $106.

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Buffalo 17 FINAL
New England 9
Cleveland 10 FINAL
Baltimore 20
Dallas 44 FINAL
Washington 17
Indianapolis 27 FINAL
Tennessee 10
Jacksonville 17 FINAL
Houston 23
San Diego 7 FINAL
Kansas City 19
NY Jets 37 FINAL
Miami 24
Chicago 9 FINAL
Minnesota 13
Philadelphia 34 FINAL
NY Giants 26
New Orleans 23 FINAL
Tampa Bay 20
Carolina 34 FINAL
Atlanta 3
Detroit 20 FINAL
Green Bay 30
Oakland 14 FINAL
Denver 47
Arizona 17 FINAL
San Francisco 20
St. Louis 6 FINAL
Seattle 20
Cincinnati 17 FINAL
Pittsburgh 27
Arizona 1/3/15 3:35 PM
Carolina
Baltimore 1/3/15 7:15 PM
Pittsburgh
Detroit 103 FINAL
Cleveland 80
Houston 106 FINAL
San Antonio 110
Oklahoma City 107 FINAL
Dallas 112
New York 79 FINAL
Portland 101
Toronto 116 FINAL
Denver 102
Phoenix 116 FINAL
LA Lakers 107
Toronto 4 FINAL
Florida 6
Vancouver 1 FINAL(OT)
Anaheim 2
Tulane 57 FINAL
St Johns 82
Central Conn St 48 FINAL
Connecticut 81
Iona 81 FINAL
Drexel 62
Concordia (MI) 42 FINAL
Eastern Mich 100
Harvard 46 FINAL
Arizona State 56
Longwood 64 FINAL
Ball State 69
Sacred Heart 76 FINAL
Brown 79
Colgate 64 FINAL
Columbia 69
MD-Eastern Shore 78 FINAL
Duquesne 69
UNC Greensboro 50 FINAL
East Carolina 71
Marist 64 FINAL
Elon 69
NJIT 71 FINAL
Lafayette 76
Cincinnati Christian 58 FINAL
Liberty 78
Morgan State 53 FINAL
Marquette 81
Campbell 56 FINAL
Samford 65
Bucknell 71 FINAL
Siena 73
Long Beach State 67 FINAL
Syracuse 85
Coppin State 80 FINAL
Evansville 85
UMKC 73 FINAL
Indiana State 70
Hofstra 88 FINAL
Long Island 62
Coast Guard 48 FINAL
Army 93
Thomas (GA) 48 FINAL
High Point 85
Texas Southern 58 FINAL
Kansas State 56
Rutgers 59 FINAL
Monmouth 58
NC Wesleyan 54 FINAL
NC A&T 58
South Dakota St 63 FINAL
Northern Iowa 74
Central Penn College 69 FINAL
Radford 119
Bowling Green 79 FINAL
South Florida 70
Harris-Stowe 66 FINAL
SE Missouri St 94
Robert Morris-IL 56 FINAL
SIU Edwardsville 104
Northland College 59 FINAL
North Dakota St 83
Milwaukee 60 FINAL
South Dakota 84
Northwestern St 92 FINAL
Arkansas 100
Saint Peters 59 FINAL
Cornell 52
St Katherine 62 FINAL
Fresno State 93
Haskell 42 FINAL
Oral Roberts 94
Wake Forest 65 FINAL
Richmond 63
Fla Gulf Coast 57 FINAL
Xavier 71
SD Christian 45 FINAL
Northern Ariz 71
Judson 46 FINAL
IUPU-Ft Wayne 80
Ill-Chicago 60 FINAL
Bradley 68
Loyola-Maryland 61 FINAL
Fairfield 59
Miss Valley St 53 FINAL
Houston 80
Lehigh 58 FINAL
UMBC 55
Delaware State 56 FINAL
Temple 66
Belmont 56 FINAL
Butler 67
Howard 59 FINAL
Fordham 74
NW Christian 67 FINAL
Nevada 81
UC Davis 83 FINAL
Washington St 90
Abilene Christian 81 FINAL
Grand Canyon 83
UCLA 50 FINAL
Alabama 56
Stony Brook 62 FINAL
Washington 57
Buffalo 56 FINAL
Wisconsin 68
CS-Bakersfield 55 FINAL
California 52
Cincinnati 17 FINAL
Virginia Tech 33
(15) Arizona State 36 FINAL
Duke 31
Miami-Florida 21 FINAL
So Carolina 24
Boston College 30 FINAL
Penn State 31
(25) Nebraska 42 FINAL
(24) USC 45
Texas A&M 12/29/14 1:00 PM
West Virginia
Oklahoma 12/29/14 4:30 PM
(18) Clemson
Arkansas 12/29/14 8:00 PM
Texas
Notre Dame 12/30/14 2:00 PM
(22) LSU
(13) Georgia 12/30/14 5:45 PM
(20) Louisville
Maryland 12/30/14 9:00 PM
Stanford
(9) Ole Miss 12/31/14 11:30 AM
(6) TCU
(21) Boise State 12/31/14 3:00 PM
(12) Arizona
(8) Miss State 12/31/14 7:00 PM
(10) Georgia Tech
(19) Auburn 1/1/15 11:00 AM
(17) Wisconsin
(7) Michigan State 1/1/15 11:30 AM
(4) Baylor
(16) Missouri 1/1/15 12:00 PM
Minnesota
(2) Florida State 1/1/15 4:00 PM
(3) Oregon
(5) Ohio State 1/1/15 7:30 PM
(1) Alabama
Houston 1/2/15 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Iowa 1/2/15 2:20 PM
Tennessee
(11) Kansas State 1/2/15 5:45 PM
(14) UCLA
Washington 1/2/15 9:15 PM
Oklahoma State
East Carolina 1/3/15 11:00 AM
Florida
Toledo 1/4/15 8:00 PM
Arkansas State
Drexel 71 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 54
Holy Cross 63 FINAL
Norfolk State 62
East Carolina 62 FINAL
South Florida 69
(10) Oregon State 63 FINAL
(8) Tennessee 74
Providence 51 FINAL
Boston College 79
Florida A&M 47 FINAL
Miami-Florida 83
Oakland 69 FINAL
Central Michigan 74
Chattanooga 59 FINAL
SIU-Edwardsville 49
Fairfield 59 FINAL
La Salle 73
St Francis-PA 59 FINAL
Pittsburgh 97
Milwaukee 72 FINAL
IUPU-Ft Wayne 78
Gardner-Webb 59 FINAL
Longwood 63
New Hampshire 58 FINAL
Manhattan 54
Bucknell 68 FINAL
Binghamton 57
Northeastern 70 FINAL
Albany 67
George Mason 70 FINAL
Towson 72
Richmond 59 FINAL
William & Mary 56
Tulane 60 FINAL
Cincinnati 50
North Florida 51 FINAL
Florida 63
(14) Georgia 51 FINAL
Seton Hall 70
Tennessee St 75 FINAL
(12) Kentucky 87
American Univ 64 FINAL
Wake Forest 77
Massachusetts 78 FINAL
Boston U 57
Quinnipiac 69 FINAL
Saint Josephs 67
Lafayette 49 FINAL
Saint Peters 34
Northwestern 61 FINAL
(20) Michigan State 57
Duquesne 82 FINAL
Lehigh 75
George Washington 72 FINAL
Loyola-Maryland 49
(17) Rutgers 66 FINAL
Indiana 51
(24) Green Bay 66 FINAL
Dayton 72
Western Mich 55 FINAL
Stony Brook 59
Davidson 67 FINAL
Virginia 57
UNC Greensboro 61 FINAL
LSU 82
Denver 63 FINAL
North Texas 55
VA Commonwealth 63 FINAL
Coppin State 52
Huston-Tillotson 36 FINAL
Houston Baptist 86
Lamar 63 FINAL
Rice 97
Miss Valley St 40 FINAL
Alabama 71
Saint Louis 63 FINAL
Eastern Illinois 49
Middle Tennessee 98 FINAL
Tenn Tech 76
Penn State 52 FINAL
(23) Iowa 77
Purdue 62 FINAL
Illinois 55
DePaul 99 FINAL
Illinois State 62
Sam Houston St 46 FINAL
Wichita State 70
South Dakota 76 FINAL
TX-San Antonio 69
(4) Notre Dame 82 FINAL
UCLA 67
Coll of Charleston 51 FINAL
SC State 60
Alcorn State 53 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 63
Dartmouth 76 FINAL
Niagara 70
Colgate 68 FINAL
Siena 80
Michigan 53 FINAL
Wisconsin 63
Fla Gulf Coast 73 FINAL
CS-Northridge 64
Yale 51 FINAL
(25) Arizona State 69
UC Santa Barbara 34 FINAL
(16) Stanford 90
Long Island 63 FINAL
Long Beach St 71
Jackson State 56 FINAL
Louisiana 65
Eureka 50 FINAL
Western Ill 91
Cornell 59 FINAL
(22) Syracuse 76
Temple 58 FINAL
Memphis 57

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