It is every handicappers duty to try and get a relative short-priced favorite beaten. After all at around 5/2 there is surely little value and everyone looks a fool tipping the obvious horse when it gets beaten. The 140th Kentucky Derby 2013 is time to break those rules.
But then favorite California Chrome has not stuck to the rules either. Modestly bred by a cheap sire out of an apparently bad mare, hailing from California (and they don’t win the Kentucky Derby), this diamond that has come out of the very rough really should not even be in this grade.
The negatives don’t end there as the colt who will start favorite for America’s greatest horse race is trained by a guy three years short of being an octogenarian in little known trainer Art Sherman.
All that said we are tipping California Chrome to justify favouritism and hopefully do it in style. The improving colt has won his last four and none more impressive than a Santa Anita Derby romp by over five lengths.
It’s hard to see where the dangers are going to come from. Maybe the biggest risk is getting involved in a speed dual up front. Only going too quick too soon could damage him, and as we have seen with Mike Smith’s Derby mounts in the last two renewals even the best horse in the race can be beaten by a jockey who defies common sense fractions. Fortunately Smith is nothing to do with California Chrome and level-headed Victor Espinoza is set to maintain his great partnership with this horse.
Who will chase the favorite home?
The chief contenders for place honors go to Danza, Wicked Strong and Candy Boy.
Danza won the Arkansas Derby nearly as easily as the Californian horse won his latest race. However the field may not have been as strong, though runner-up Ride On Curlin needs a mention. The last named gets the help of Calvin Borel in the saddle. If there were to be insane speed early then Borel might just capitalize bringing his mount from certain last to maybe first. However things need to fall for him, just as they have for Borel on a few occasions in the past (remember Mine That Bird & Super Saver!). On bear form it is Danza who should finish ahead though.
Wicked Strong won Aqueduct’s Wood Memorial, another good trial for this race. However I don’t see the balance of his form being equal to Art Sherman’s challenger.
Candy Boy ran on nicely behind the favorite at Santa Anita and some judges expect him to finish closer this time. But if both horses run to form then Candy Boy will have a mountain to climb to actually reverse the form with the Californian dream.
So the ultimate conclusion is stop looking for the big prices and go with likely 5/2 favorite California Chrome as those odds look inflated value enough.