The Washington Post

Why no one can agree on a trifecta at the Kentucky Derby

Kentucky Derby contender Wicked Strong, with Rajiv Maragh aboard, captures The Wood Memorial Stakes at Aqueduct Race Track in New York this month. (David Alcosser/AP/New York Racing Association)

Horse-racing analysts pretty much unanimously agree that California Chrome has the best chance to win at Saturday’s Kentucky Derby. As to the equines who might fill out the trifecta, however, that’s a bigger debate.

Basically, no one agrees on anything. The problem is, unlike California Chrome, which is heads and tails (literally) ahead of the competition, the rest of the field looks pretty much even. Each horse comes with its own pluses and minuses. Here’s what the experts predict:

John Asher, a racing analyst with over 30 years of experience, picked Wicked Strong, who came in first at Wood Memorial earlier this month, to come in second behind California Chrome.

Jill Byrne, the official handicapper at Churchill Downs where the horses will race on this weekend, picked Intense Holiday, to take the No. 2 spot. Intense Holiday finished first at February’s Risen Star race and second at last month’s Louisiana Derby.

Ed DeRosa, of, picked Ride On Curlin, a horse that most recently came in second the Arkansas Derby.

And James Scully, the editor of the “Handicapper’s Edge and Bloodstock Journal” newsletters, picked Hoppertunity, a horse that  finished in the top four at Risen Star, Rebel and the Santa Anita Derby this year.

Having trouble keeping up? Then take notes because two more horses enter the equation once analysts start talking trifectas.

While Asher and Byrne picked Hoppertunity to come in third,  DeRosa and Scully picked two new names.

DeRosa’s watching Danza, who most recently finished first in the Arkansas Derby, and Scully picked Samraat, who took the second spot at the Wood Memorial earlier this month.

To recap, that means experts predict California Chrome on top (simple) with either Wicked Strong, Intense Holiday, Ride On Curlin, Hoppertunity, Danza or Samraat coming in second, third, or not placing at all.

Here are the official odds, courtesy of OddsShark, which will most likely be updated Wednesday when final post positions are set to be drawn.

California Chrome 11/4
Wicked Strong 7/1
Danza 9/1
Hoppertunity 10/1
Samraat 16/1
Intense Holiday 18/1
Dance With Fate 20/1
Ride On Curlin 20/1
Vicar’s in Trouble 20/1
Wildcat Red 20/1
Candy Boy 25/1
Tapiture 28/1
Social Inclusion 33/1
General a Rod 33/1
Chitu 33/1
We Miss Artie 40/1
Medal Count 40/1
Uncle Sigh 40/1
Commanding Curve 40/1
Vinceremos 50/1
Pablo Del Monte 50/1
Harry’s Holiday 50/1

Marissa Payne writes for The Early Lead, a fast-breaking sports blog, where she focuses on what she calls the “cultural anthropological” side of sports, aka “mostly the fun stuff.” She is also an avid WWE fan.



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Marissa Payne · April 29, 2014