2014 Kentucky Derby Preview
posted Apr 30 2014, 08:53PM
story by Pat Infante
posted in Horse Racing, Betting

Preview of the 140th Kentucky Derby

Find me on Twitter @PInfante97


 Vicar’s In Trouble comes to Kentucky as the Louisiana Derby winner. He has hit the board in all 5 of his career starts and won 3 of them, 2 of which were graded stakes races. This horse seems to like being up front and I am a concerned with how this horse would handle a fast pace in the derby. Previous to his Louisiana Derby win, in the Risen Star Stakes he failed to grab the lead early and finished in 3rd. However it should be noted he did battle back to pull within 1 length down the stretch before running out of gas and falling back to a well beaten 3rd. The biggest problem for Vicar's In Trouble is the fact that he drew the #1 post. If you want to understand how much of a disadvantage that is look no further then 2010 Kentucky Derby favorite Lookin At Lucky's start out of the gate from the 1 hole. He is going to have to break perfectly and get right to the front but if he gets a clean break and can get right to the front he will have the shortest trip around. UPDATE: With the scratch of Hoppertunity all horses 1-10 will slide down 1 spot thus it will give Vicar's In Trouble a little more breathing room down by the rail.

Harry’s Holiday is an easy toss. He has not won any graded stakes races. If the derby is his first one I would be extremely shocked. Lets be realistic, he simply does not belong here.

Unce Sigh is a New York based horse that had a nice rivalry with Samraat throughout the spring battling head to head with him in a few races at Aqueduct. He never finished ahead of Samraat so based on that its hard to like him in this spot. Based on his post position i'd ecpect him to head right up front heading into the first turn. I just don't see a scenerio that has him in contention coming down the stretch.

Danza won the Arkansas Derby at odds of 41-1 and he did it in a spectacular performance. With only 4 lifetime starts its hard to get a read on him. But his Arkansas Derby was so impressive that I am going to play this horse under California Chrome in most if not all of my exotic bets. To play devil’s advocate a lot of time when a horse improves that much in one race there is a bounce factor. But I can not ignore that performance in Arkansas. Big time win…

 California Chrome is this years rags to riches story. His owners bought his Dam (Mother), Love theChase, for $8,000. They then bred Love the Chase to an unproven California based stallion called Lucky Pulpit for $2,500. The result: the millionaire and possibly the most unlikely Kentucky Derby favorite ever, California Chrome. Over the Santa Anita Derby champion's past 4 races no one has even been close to California Chrome. He has won those races by a combined 24 ¼ lengths. The scary thing is that he hasn’t even been pushed in those races. All in all I do not believe there is a horse in this field that can beat this horse. The only thing that could beat him is a bad trip, whether its getting pinned against the rail or stuck out 6-7 wide. You're going to hear a lot of concern for a fast pace burning him out, but i'm not concerned with that in the least. This horse has tactical speed, meaning he can win a race in different styles, he can sprint then slow and take back off with push button acceleration and will have no problem sitting off the pace and exploding down the stretch. I truly believe that if this horse does complete the task and win the Derby, he will cruise through the Preakness and head to Belmont with a legit shot at a Triple Crown. Here is a little sneaky fact you won't hear anywhere else, looking down his pedigree you will find a horse named Ribot who is considered by many to be one of the greatest horses of all time. Ribot was considered the ultimate ‘Super Horse’. Undefeated in sixteen races, he won over all distances, from 5 furlongs to 1 ¾ miles in three different countries and on all types of track conditions. Flat out - California Chrome is special.
Samraat was undefeated in his first 5 starts until his 2nd place finish in the Wood Memorial. Another horse who likes to run in front running fashion should contribute to a fast moving pace. When you run 6 career starts and finish in first in 5 of them and 2nd in the other its hard to say that this horse is not a contender. However horses coming out of NY haven't fared too well in recent history. Not one of my favorites but at the same time you can't totally ignore him.
 We Miss Artie has not raced since he won the Grade 3 Spiral Stakes over an artificial surface on March 14th. Look, these 20 horses who enter the gate on the first Saturday in May are all premium talent. Every year 30,000 thoroughbred horses are born, 15,000 actually make it to race, only 20 make the gate on Derby day, 1 wins and is considered the greatest of his generation. This is not that horse.

 General A Rod ran some good quality races over the winter in Florida. He finished in the money in all 5 of his career races and finished 3rd in the Florida Derby. Not a bad horse by any means but I think he might be in a little over his head here. Post position 8 is considered a premium spot to be in so if he hit the top 4 I wouldn't be that surprised but you can't bet every horse and have to make some tough tosses.

 Vinceremos is a Todd Pletcher horse and enters the field coming off of a last place finish in the Blue Grass Stakes. That clearly wasn't his day. Maybe he didn't like the synthetic track. Good thing for him is that the Derby is run on dirt. All of his other 4 races were on dirt finishing with 2 wins and 2 second place finishes. He has not really beaten any quality horses and is kind of a tough horse to get a read on. This is the type of horse that could finish dead last or could surprise everyone at huge odds and finish 3rd or 4th and lead to a lot of torn up tickets and huge payouts. Based on entering the Derby off of a last place finish you have to toss this horse.

 Wildcat Red is a fighter. Another front running horse, but a front running horse that will fight to the end. He comes to Kentucky off of a 2nd place finish in the Florida Derby. This horse will not quit. In his race previous to the Florida Derby he battled General A Rod nose for nose all the way around the track and prevailed in the end. He has won 5 of his career 7 starts and his 2 losses were less than a ½ length combined at the wire. His pedigree says he can't stay the distance as these horses stretch out to 1 ¼  miles but pedigree can not measure heart and this horse might have the biggest. What he has to do is a tall task considering his pedigree, front running style, and what should be a blazing pace but if any horse in this race is going to be able to withstand the pace its Wildcat Red. I think he has a chance to be right there coming down the stretch. I will play him heavy under California Chrome in exotics.

 Hoppertunity - SCRATCHED

 Dance With Fate enters the Derby coming off a win in the Grade 1 Blue Grass Stakes. He has won 3 of 8 lifetime starts. Few things I don’t like about this horse. 1) 6 of his 8 races and all 3 of his wins come over an artificial surface and one turf race. 2) The competition this horse has beaten in his wins has been less than stellar. 3) The last time this horse raced on a dirt track was November 13th in the Breeders Cup Juvenile and was a non factor finishing 8th. Although I may consider playing this horse on the back end of a few tri and super bets based solely on the fact that the Blue Grass is one of the big 6 prep races and a win that can’t be totally ignored.

 Chitu is an interesting horse. He has only made 4 starts and had won 3 of them with one second place finish. He has not raced since March 14th, winning the Sunland Derby. I think the odds will be high on him, maybe somewhere in the area of 20-1. Maybe worth a flier. Its hard to get a read since he wasn't in any of the big 6 prep races. He is trained by Bob Baffert and again he has won 75% of his races the one he lost he lost only by a ½ length.

 Medal Count is another horse that is unproven on dirt. He comes to the Derby off a 2nd place finish in the Blue Grass Stakes on synthetic. In 7 career races he has only raced twice on dirt finishing 5th and 11th. However he is steadily improving and in his last race in the Blue Grass Stakes he finished 2nd off only 8 days of rest. Word out of Churchill is he has actually taken quite nicely to the track. Deep longshot play.

 Tapiture is a horse that for whatever reason im very indifferent about. I thought he was overrated going off at 2-1 in the Arkansas Derby and my gut turned out to be right. He finished a well beaten 4th 7 lengths behind the leader. In all fairness he was stuck out with a 4-5 wide trip. However in his previous 2 races before the Arkansas Derby he did finish ahead of Ride On Curlin who I kinda like. Originally I was going to toss this horse but the more I think about it Im going to thro him in on my tri.

Intense Holiday was not one of my favorites. But the buzz out of Louisville is that this horse has worked great over the surface and is primed to run a big race. He finished 2nd to Vicar’s In Trouble in the Louisiana Derby and actually beat Vicar’s In Trouble 1 month before in the Risen Star. He has won 2 of his 8 lifetime starts and he is battle tested considering his last 6 races are all graded stakes races. Based on the buzz he is creating alone i'm going to have to find a way to play him in exotic bets.

Commanding Curve comes to Louisville off of a 3rd place finish in the Louisiana Derby. He has finished behind Vicar’s in Trouble and Intense Holiday in both of his last 2 races. I don't believe he can be a factor. Toss

Candy Boy comes out of a 3rd place finish in the Santa Anita Derby. He has 2 wins in 7 career starts. I do think he is the type of horse that can get the distance. I just don't know if he is fast enough. A month ago he was considered a much better prospect. He looked like a 2nd tier horse (or 3rd tier if tier 1 is California Chrome by himself) in the Santa Anita Derby. However would not be shocked if he was passing tired horses in the stretch to come up and hit 3rd or 4th… but I think thats his best case scenario.

Ride On Curlin is the son of North America’s richest race horse and 2007 Kentucky Derby runner up Curlin. He has 9 career races and has not won a race over 6 furlongs but has finished top 3 in 8 of the 9. The other being a 4th place finish back in September. In his last race he finished 2nd to Danza in the Arkansas Derby. This horse for whatever reason has a tendency to get stuck wide around turns thus although he isn't winning these races he is covering a lot of ground. If he could get a good trip for once and can save some ground he may be able to conserve some energy for a stretch run. Word out of Churchill is he is full of energy right now. I would be shocked if he won the race but i will use him on the back of a few trifecta and superfecta bets.

 Wicked Strong is a horse that kinda came out of nowhere to win the Wood Memorial. He closed strong on a solid field and really looked liked a good improving horse who beat a few well respected horses. I don’t see the distance being a problem and I expect him to come closing on the field hard down the stretch. I do see a good chance of him hitting the board. Not a big fan of him drawing post 20 but no where near as bad as drawing the 1 spot. He will be one of the horses I key under California Chrome in exotic bets. I expect an ‘Ice Box’ type close (2nd place finisher in the 2010 Derby)



#1 Horse - Vicar's In Trouble (21-1 Odds)

#8 Horse - General A Rod (28-1)

#18 Horse - Candy Boy (16-1)

 (These are my 3 picks, use them as you see fit)


Betting Strategy


Now when it comes to betting the derby favorite, its usually high risk low reward which is  something I am against. However this year I believe is similar to 2008 when Big Brown was obviously better than any other horse in the field. Do not even waste your time trying to put a straight WIN bet on California Chome. He will probably go off at somewhere between 2-1 and 3-1. You are going to have to get creative and play the exoctics. For me the first thing I will do is play a California Chrome W/ ALL exacta bet and hope for a long odds bomb to hit second. Per every $2 you bet it will cost you $38 because there are 19 combinations that you are betting. You're not going to get rich off of that bet looking at derby past history. In 2008 Big Brown went off at odds of 2-1 and Eight Belles finished in 2nd and went off at 13-1 the 4th choice. The $2 exacta paid 141.60. But if you look at other years the favorite won like last year for example Orb went off at 5-1 and a 35-1 finished in 2nd the $2 exacta paid $981.60. Thats what your hoping for when you make that bet.


Now a bet I love is a trifecta with California Chrome on top over 10 horses to place and 11 horses to show. That bet will cost you $100 per $1 bet. But that is all you need when it comes to a Derby Trifecta. For example, in years where the favorite has won like 2008 the $1 tri paid $1722.80 and last year it paid $3462.80. The horses I am going to use in 2nd and 3rd place are Vicar’s In Trouble, Wicked Strong, Danza, Wildcat Red, Ride On Curlin, Chitu, Tapitiure, Candy Boy, Intense Holiday, Samraat and adding Dance With Fate as the extra horse to finish third.


Now a dollar and a dream is what the superfecta is all about. Put California Chrome on top and mix it up. When I bet the super in the derby I try to imagine how the race will unfold. The way I see this race is a fast pace up front. Wildcat Red right up toward the front with Samraat and a few other horses. California Chrome hanging a few lengths back then exploding through down the stretch to take the lead and win by a few lengths. Wildcat Red puts forth a giant effort trying to hold onto second but succumbs to a deep closing Wicked Strong then Danza passes a bunch of tired horses down the stretch to finish 4th. 


The past few $1 superfecta payouts are as follows:


2013 $28,542.00

2012 $48,046.40

2011 $24,063.00

2010 $101,284.60

2009 $278,503.20

2008 $29,368.90

2007 $14,523.20

My Bets


5 w/ ALL but I would also go back and double up my exacta on the lower odds horses 5 w/ 4,15,16,20. The 5 w/ ALL bet will cost $38 per $2 bet.


5 w/ 1,4,6,10,13,15,16,18,19,20 w/ 1,4,6,10,12,13,15,16,18,19,20 This is a $100 ticket for a $1 bet.


5 w/ 4,16,20 w/ 6,10,13 w/ 4,6,10,13,16,20 This is a $36 ticket for a $1 bet.


Pat Infante



Race 1 - 6,8,2 Tri Box
Race 2 - 6,1 Ex Box
Race 3 - 5 WIN
Race 4 - 1 WIN
Race 5 - 7 WIN
Race 6 - 9,7 Ex / 7 WIN
Race 7 - 3,8 Ex Box
Race 8 - $1 Pick 4 2,6,8,10,11/ 4,10,11/1/5 = $15 Ticket
Race 8 - 2,8,10, Ex Box
Race 9 - $1 Pick 3 ALL/1/5 = $11 Ticket
Race 9 - 4,10,11 Ex Box
Race 10 - Daily Double 1/5 


Pat Infante
I am from the Jersey Shore. Not the TV show, the actual geographical area. I have been in the car business for over 13 years. Being in the car busines...

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