The 2014 Kentucky Derby already kicked off Saturday morning with five preliminary races at Churchill Downs. However, the real competitions will take place this afternoon, with five pulsating races building up to the main event - the 140th Kentucky Derby.
California Chrome leads this year crop of talented race horses, which will surely give more intrigue in the upcoming showpiece. Owned by Perry Martin & Steve Coburn, the thoroughbred has already won the San Anita Derby and the San Felipe Stakes heading into the first leg of the Triple Crown series.
Chrome might be a 5-2 favorite entering the derby, but leading contenders haven't been lucky these past few years at Churchill Downs. Last year, Orb lived up to the hype by finishing first in the race. However, other favorites like Bodemeister and Animal Kingdom absorbed upset in stunning fashion in the 2011 and 2012 edition of the race, respectively.
Several horse racing analyst have already placed their fearless forecast ahead of the race. While most of their predictions have California Chrome crossing the finish line ahead of the competition, there are others skeptical about the favorite's chance in bagging the victory.
In a pre-derby article on the Courier-Journal, Mike Battaglia of CJ Handicapper posted his top-five picks, with Candy Boy pulling off a stunner while Wicked Strong, California Chrome, Medal Count and Intense Holiday rounded out his top 5.
"He needed his last race badly (third in the Santa Anita Derby). Gary Stevens sent him out early to run with California Chrome, and he faded. He can come from off the pace, I like the fact Gary is riding him and I think he's sitting on a big race," Battaglia stated via Courier-Journal.
"Lots of early speed. If California Chrome doesn't break sharply, he could get shuffled back. Even if he does break sharply, I think it sets up for a late runner."
On the other hand, Daily Racing Form Mike Welsch has a different lineup of winners for the upcoming race. He believed Intense Holiday will take the win, while Medal Count and Danza will place second and third in the race.
Welsch surprisingly kicked California Chrome out of the top-5 because the favorite would no longer get the same treatment he had at San Anita. The competition will be fiercer this time, and Chrome's so-so initial runs at Churchill Downs would likely lead to a letdown in the race.
All 19 race horses will gather at the post at 6:24 p.m ET for the start of the 140th Kentucky Derby. But before the main event, the Churchill Distaff Turf (1:19 pm ET), Humana Distaff (2:08 pm ET), American Turf (2:59 pm ET), Churchill Downs (3:46 pm ET) will take place in chronological order.
TV Schedule and Results
TV Broadcast of the 140th Kentucky Derby will start at 12 pm through 4 pm ET on NBC Sports and 4 pm through 7 pm ET on NBC. Live Streaming will be available on NBCSports.com for American Audience while TV Sports will provide feed for non-American Audience. Results of the Kentucky Derby races can be followed on Horse Racing.com.