Las Vegas, NV - It's finally here! The 2014 Kentucky Derby comes our way from Churchill Downs May 3. All of the qualifying races are over - the top 20 point getters will go 1 1/4 miles on Churchill Downs's main track for the winner's share of the $2 million and the right to call themselves a Kentucky Derby winner.
A full field of 20 plus one Also Eligible will line up in the Kentucky Derby - race 11 on Churchill Downs's Saturday card. Post time is 6:24 PM. Here is a look at all the past performance of the qualifiers for the one and only Kentucky Derby.
California Chrome 5/2 - Art Sherman pupil entered the Santa Anita Derby on a three race win streak by a combined 19 lengths - over Midnight Hawk and Kristo the Grade 2 San Felipe Stakes by an impressive 7 1/4 lengths (with a 107 Beyer Speed Figure) March 8 and two minor stakes races - the California Cup here January 25 after the King Glorious Stakes at Hollywood Park December 22. He blew the field away in the Santa Anita Derby April 5 and staked his claim as the favorite for the Kentucky Derby. That's four straight dominating wins! for California Chrome! He leaves from post with Victor Espinoza aboard.
Hoppertunity 6-1 - *An injured left front foot will keep Santa Anita Derby runner-up Hoppertunity from running in Saturday's Kentucky Derby.* Bob Baffert trained colt is coming off a second behind California Chrome in the Santa Anita Derby after a great win over Tapiture (with a career best 100 Beyer Speed Figure) in the Grade 2 Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park March 15. Before that was a fourth in the Grade 2 Risen Star at Fair Grounds February 22. His other two career results were a win and a fifth in a pair of MSW races on to start his career. He has been very competitive the last two times out and is expected to be one of the challengers Saturday. Mike Smith rides the morning line second choice from gate 11.
Wicked Strong 8-1 - had a respectable third behind Honor Code and Cairo Prince in the Grade 2 Remsen after a MSW score at Belmont Park in his second career start. Last time out was an eye-opening win - in the Grade 1 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct April 5. Before that his previous two efforts weren't all that great however - a fourth in an Allowance Optional Claiming at Gulfstream February 22 followed a disappointing ninth in the Grade 2 Holy Bull Stakes January 25. He has placed in four of six career starts but his win a month ago has given him some serious credibility. Wicked Strong has drawn the unfavorable far outside post and will have Rajiv Maragh in the reins.
Danza 10-1 - Todd Pletcher trained colt won his debut - at Belmont Park in July and has since finished third in his next two career starts - an Allowance Optional Claiming at Gulfstream March 1 and in the Grade 2 Saratoga Special in August at Saratoga. Last time out was a terrific win in the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby April 12. He is certainly peaking at the right time and is the fourth choice on the morning line. Joe Bravo gets the mount from post 4.
Intense Holiday 12-1 - Todd Pletcher trained colt has been very competitive his last three starts after an inconsistent start to his career. Last time out was an OK second in the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby March 29 after a win in the Grade 2 Risen Star at Fair Grounds in February and an OK third in the Grade 2 Holy Bull in January. He has been at or near the top in every race this year against graded stakes foes and could surprise Saturday. John Velazquez rides from post 16.
Samraat 15-1 - Richard Violette trained New York is coming off his only loss - a second in the Grade 1 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct April 5. He had four starts and four wins to start his career- over Uncle Sigh in the Grade 3 Withers Stakes February 1, before that in his stakes debut - the listed Damon Runyon Stakes by an astounding 16 3/4 lengths December 18, an Allowance score November 22 and a MSW by 3 1/2 lengths score in his debut at Belmont Park in October. Jose Ortiz has the call from post 6.
General a Rod 15-1 - finished third last time out in the Grade 1 Florida Derby March 29 after a second for trainer Michael Maker behind Wildcat Red in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth February 22 and a win in the minor Gulfstream Park Derby over Wildcat Red in his third career start. He also had a second in an Allowance Optional Claiming at Churchill Downs November 30 and a MSW score in his debut at Keeneland October 18. General A Rod now has two wins, two seconds and a third place finish in five career starts - very competitive every time out. He will have Joel Rosario in the saddle from gate 8.
Wildcat Red 15-1 - has seven career four wins and three seconds. Last time out was a good second in the Grade 1 Florida Derby which followed a very impressive win streak - in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth February 22 and in the Grade 3 Hutcheson Stakes ahead of C. Zee February 1. Before that was a pair of seconds in minor stakes action - behind General A Rod in the Gulfstream Park Derby January 1 and in the Juvenile Sprint Stakes November 9. He started his career with a pair of wins as well. Wildcat Red makes his first start away from Gulfstream and will have Luis Saez guiding him from post 10.
Tapiture 15-1 - Steve Asmussen pupil has two wins, two seconds and two third place finishes in seven career starts but is coming off his only off-the-board finish - a fourth in the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park. Before that was a second in the Grade 2 Rebel Stakes March 15 and two straight wins - the Grade 3 Southwest Stakes and the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes. He has been at or near the top in every career start and hopes are that he rebounds from a career-worst effort last time out. Ricardo Santana has the call from post 15.
Candy Boy 20-1 - highly regarded colt has seven career starts for trainer John Sadler - a pair of fourths to start his career to go along with a pair of seconds including the Grade 1 CashCall Futurity behind Eclipse Award winner Shared Belief December 14 with a 95 Beyer Speed Figure. Last time out was an OK third in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby April 5 after he took his game to a different level with a terrific win over Chitu (with a 96 Beyer Speed Figure) in the Grade 2 Robert B. Lewis Stakes February 8. He has two wins, two seconds and a third in his last five starts and is another in a long line of solid entries for the Derby. Gary Stevens rides from the 18-hole.
Dance With Fate 20-1 - Debuted July 14 at Hollywood Park and finished an ugly eighth in a MSW but bounced back with a win in a MSW August 11. He had a good second behind Bond Holder in the Grade 1 FrontRunner Stakes September 28 after a troubled second behind Tamarando in the Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity September 4 and went on to a disappointing eighth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. He bounced back with an Allowance Optional Claiming score by 1 3/4 lengths at Santa Anita January 24 and followed that with a good second in the Grade 2 El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate February 15. Last time out was a career defining effort - a win in the Grade 1 Blue Grass Stakes April 12. He has two wins and a second in his last three starts and is certainly peaking ahead of this weekend. Corey Nakatani will be aboard from post 12.
Ride On Curlin 20-1 - has finished worse than third just once in nine career starts. Last time out was a good second in the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby after two straight thirds in graded stakes action - the Grade 2 Rebel Stakes in March and the Grade 3 Southwest in February. He has yet to win a graded stakes race but has been close every time out. Calvin Borel gets the call from post 19.
Vicar's in Trouble 30-1 - Michael Maker trainee has three wins and two third place finishes in five career starts including graded stakes wins in two of his last three starts. Last time out was a win in the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby March 29 after a third in the Risen Star and another win in the Grade 3 Lecomte. Vicar's in Trouble is a very intriguing 20-1 and will line up from the troublesome rail with Rosie Napravnik in the saddle.
Medal Count 20-1 - Dale Romans trained colt is coming off a good second in the Grade 1 Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland April 12 after a win in the Grade 3 Transylvania Stakes April 4, a fifth in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream February 22, an Allowance Optional Claiming score January 12 and an eleventh in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. That followed an equally disappointing fifth in the Grade 3 Bourbon Stakes at Keeneland in October and a MSW score in his career debut - at Ellis Park September 1. Medal Count hadn't been great in his graded stakes action but his last two races have put him on the Derby radar. He starts from gate 14 with Robby Alabrado aboard.
Chitu 30-1 - Bob Baffert trained colt was perfect in his first two career starts and finished a good second behind Candy Boy in his step into stakes company - the Grade 2 Robert B. Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita February 8. He returned to the winner's circle last time out in the Grade 3 Sunland Derby March 23. That makes three wins and a second in four career starts for Chitu ahead of the Derby. He has been mighty impressive in his three race career and brings with him some lofty expectations. Martin Garcia gets the call Saturday from post 13
Uncle Sigh 30-1 - New York bred will race for the sixth time for trainer Gary Contessa - all previous starts coming at Aqueduct. Last time out was a career worst effort - a fifth in the Grade 1 Wood Memorial April 5 after a second in the Grade 3 Gotham and a good second behind Samraat in the Grade 3 Withers February 1 and after breaking maiden December 27 by an incredible 14 1/2 lengths. He looks to bounce back after a disappointing effort last time out and will have Irad Ortiz in the saddle for post 3.
We Miss Artie 30-1 - Todd Pletcher hopeful had a three length MSW score August 11 after a second in his debut in a similar race at Belmont Park July 4. Last time out was a career best effort - a win in the Grade 3 Spiral Stakes at Turfway Park March 22 after a career worst performance - an eighth in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream February 22. He also had a respectable second in the minor Kitten's Joy Stakes January 19 and a somewhat disappointing seventh in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. Before the Breeders' Cup was a terrific win in the Grade 1 Dixiana Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland October 5 and a disappointing sixth in his stakes debut - in the Grade 2 With Anticipation Stakes at Saratoga August 29. He has certainly been up and down in his career but is trending upward after his win last time out. Javier Castellano rides from gate 7.
Harry's Holiday 50-1 - Michael Maker trained colt is coming off an ugly thirteenth in the Blue Grass Stakes after a good second in the Grade 3 Spiral Stakes at Turfway Park March 22, a third behind Solitary Ranger and Poker Player in the minor John Battaglia Memorial March 1 and his first stakes score - the 96ROCK Stakes also February 1. He has three wins, two seconds and a third place finish in eight career starts but didn't look so good last time out. Corey Lanerie gets the call from post 2.
Vinceremos 50-1 - impressive Todd Pletcher trained colt is coming off a terrible fourteenth place finish in the Blue Grass Stakes after a good second behind upset winner Ring Weekend in the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby March 8 and a terrific win in the Sam F. Davis Stakes February 1 in his third career start. He debuted with a second and broke maiden January 4 at Gulfstream before his stakes debut. Vinceremos has two wins and two seconds in five career starts but fell back to earth last time out after two straight stellar graded stakes results. He looks to get back into top form with Joe Rocco aboard from post 9.
Commanding Curve 50-1 - Dallas Stewart trainee has a win, a second and two third place finishes in six career starts - the win coming three back in a MSW on this track in November. He has two graded stakes starts since - a sixth in the Grade 2 Risen Star and a respectable third in the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby last time out March 29. Shaun Bridgmohan will get the mount from gate 17.
Pablo Del Monte 50-1 - ALSO ELIGIBLE Wesley Ward pupil won his first two career starts - a MSW and an Allowance at Keeneland before stepping up and finishing fifth in the Grade 3 Generous Stakes on grass at Hollywood Park November 30. Last time out was a decent third in the Blue Grass Stakes April 12 after another third in the Grade 3 Hutcheson Stakes at Gulfstream February 1.