2015 Kentucky Derby Contenders

When it comes to Kentucky Derby betting, knowing the contenders and top picks by the experts is a great place to start coming up with your own betting strategy for the race. Knowing what horses others have picked to do well in 2015 makes it easier to come up with a personal list of 2015 Kentucky Derby contenders.

About Kentucky Derby Contenders

The Kentucky Derby will bring together the best three year old race horses in the world on the first Saturday in May, 2015.  Here are the horses entered in the race in order of position position with morning line odds.

The Current Top Contenders for Kentucky Derby 2015

--Vicar's In Trouble (Post Position 1—Morning Line Odds 20/1):  An afterthought for much of the Derby prep season, Vicar's In Trouble shot up the contender rankings for the Kentucky Derby with a win in the Louisiana Derby.  Before that he had a win in his 3 year old debut, the G3 Lecomte and followed that up with a third place finish in the G2 Risen Star.  A small horse with a lot of heart is how his connections describe him.

--Harry's Holiday (Post Position 2-- Morning Line Odds 50/1):  Overall a forgettable horse with an underwhelming resume.  Finished second in the Spiral Stakes but was a huge disappointment in the Grade 1 Blue Grass Stakes, finishing 14th.  Veteran jockey Corey Lanerie will ride Harry's Holiday in the Kentucky Derby.  Harry's Holiday did race twice at Churchill Downs early in his career finishing first and second but against a dramatically lower class of opposition. 

--Uncle Sigh (Post Position 3-- Morning Line Odds 30/1):  Will likely be one of the biggest longshots in the field  by post time.  Finished second in both the Grade 3 Withers and Grade 3 Gotham before slumping to fifth in the Wood Memorial.  If the weather is bad and the track is sloppy Uncle Sigh might be worth a look—his trainer Gary Contessa says that this horse 'loves the mud'.  Problem is that there's only a 20% chance of rain on Kentucky Derby day this year.

--Danza (Post Position 4—Morning Line Odds 8/1):  This Todd Pletcher trained horse was the upset winner of the Arkansas Derby, shocking the field at 41/1.  Didn't have a spectacular resume heading in to the race but it wasn't that bad and he clearly got lost in the mix in a field full of higher profile horses.  Could be peaking at the right time.

--California Chrome (Post Position 5—Morning Line Odds 5/2):  California Chrome shot up the Derby prospect charts with a resounding victory in the San Felipe and has become 'the horse to beat'  in the Kentucky Derby following his impressive showing in the Santa Anita Derby.  He turned in a time that has been beaten only three times in history (Lucky Debonair in 1965, Sham in 1973 and Indian Charlie in 1998).  Connections were very happy with his post position draw.

--Samraat (Post Position 6—Morning Line Odds 15/1):  Undefeated in five career starts before a second place finish in the Wood Memorial.  Samraat is trained by Richard Violette, Jr.   Front running speed in a field with better front running speed doesn't bode particularly well.  Could be better at shorter distances.

--We Miss Artie (Post Position 7—Morning Line Odds 50/1):  Won the Spiral Stakes at Turfway Park in late March and that gave him enough points to punch his ticket to the Kentucky Derby.  If you buy in to the notion that a serious Kentucky Derby contender needs a fair amount of work as a two year old We Miss Artie Could be your horse—he's got 8 career starts. Trained by Todd Pletcher some handicappers suggest that We Miss Artie's off the pace style could be effective in a field full of front runners.  Has worked poorly since arriving at Churchill Downs and will wear thinner shoes into the Kentucky Derby.

--General A Rod (Post Position 8-- Morning Line Odds 15/1):  This Michael J. Maker trained colt is a very divisive topic among horse racing fans.  Some think that he's a solid contender that has performed well in the mix with a number of top three year olds at Gulfstream Park in his three year old campaign.  Won the Gulfstream Park Derby, finished second in the Fountain of Youth and third in the Florida Derby.  His detractors suggest that the racing talent at Gulfstream Park is a cut below other tracks making General A Rod an average horse at best.  Objectively speaking, he doesn't look as good as Constitution or Wildcat Red.

--Vinceremos (Post Position 9—Morning Line Odds 30/1):  Trained by Todd Pletcher, ran poorly on synthetic in the Blue Grass Stakes.  Was competitive on dirt earlier in his three year old campaign but hard to see him doing anything against a field of this class.

--Wildcat Red (Post Position 10—Morning Line Odds 15/1):  Another enigmatic horse that could be looking for the right combination of rider, track and trip.  Never finished lower than second in his racing career and is coming off a second place run behind Constitution in the Florida Derby.   Won the Hutcheson and the Fountain of Youth earlier this year.  Trainer Jose Garofallo insists that the competition at Gulfstream Park is underrated and will be evident in his horse's Kentucky Derby performance.  Rafael Bejarano will ride Wildcat Red in the Derby—his fifth different jockey in five three year old races.

--Dance With Fate (Post Position 11—Morning Line Odds 20/1):  Won the Blue Grass Stakes but initially it appeared that the connections of this synthetic track specialist would skip the Kentucky Derby.  They've reversed course and now Dance With Fate will make his first ever start on dirt in the biggest race of his career.  Trainer Peter Eurton insists that Dance With Fate doesn't like dirt which definitely doesn't bode well for a strong run in the Kentucky Derby.

--Chitu (Post Position 12—Morning Line Odds 20/1):   It looks like Chitu is a 'go' for the Derby with jockey Martin Garcia aboard.  Chitu was originally entered in the Derby Trial but a few hours later trainer Bob Baffert indicated the horse would scratch out of that race and be pointed to the Kentucky Derby.  Finished first or second in four career starts with a win the last time out in the Grade 3 Sunland Derby in New Mexico.  In many ways Chitu is a mystery—a lot of upsides in terms of speed, performance, pedigree and connections but not much racing experience.

--Medal Count (Post Position 13—Morning Line Odds 20/1)  Will make his third start in less than 30 days in the Kentucky Derby.  His off the pace style might make him worth using underneath in exotics.

--Tapiture (Post Position 14—Morning Line Odds 12/1):  Tapiture finished second in the Rebel Stakes but turned in an impressive showing in defeat.  Based on that performance he's become a trendy selection among horse racing experts.  Were it not for a bad route in the Rebel he could have won the race.  Will race again Saturday in the Arkansas Derby.

--Intense Holiday (Post Position 15—Morning Line Odds 8/1):  Finished second behind Vicar's In Trouble in the Louisiana Derby, won the Grade 2 Risen Star before that.  Trained by Todd Pletcher the jury is still out at Intense Holiday's ability to compete against a higher quality field.  On the other hand, he's improved every time out and finished in the money in each of his three year old races.  Stock has improved since arriving at Churchill Downs due to impressive workout performance.

--Commanding Curve (Post Position 16—Morning Line Odds 50/1):  Louisiana Derby also ran.  Poor workouts this week and doubtful he can compete at this class.

--Candy Boy (Post Position 17—Morning Line Odds 15/1):  Candy Boy was considered something of a 'project'  horse heading into the Santa Anita Derby and may have improved his standing as a Kentucky Derby contender despite finishing third.  He's definitely a fast horse and the decent showing at Santa Anita bodes well for his ability to step up in class.  Of course the big question—he didn't have anything for California Chrome at Santa Anita so what suggests that he will on the unfamiliar surface at Churchill Downs against a very strong field? 
--Ride On Curlin (Post Position 18—Morning Line Odds 15/1):  Finished third in the Rebel Stakes and second in the Arkansas Derby.  Trainer Billy Gowan suggests that this horse hasn't peaked yet and just needs to get the right jockey to give him a perfect ride.  Enter Calvin Borel who has three Kentucky Derby victories and is arguably the best in the business on the Churchill Downs track.

--Wicked Strong (Post Position 19—Morning Line Odds 6/1):  Wicked Strong hadn't attracted much interest as a legitimate Kentucky Derby contender until his upset win in the Wood Memorial.  Wicked Strong won the race by 3 ½ lengths over a couple of higher profile three year olds, Samraat and race favorite Social Inclusion.  The winner of the Wood Memorial has historically performed well in the Kentucky Derby and that trend alone is likely responsible for Wicked Strong's support.  Tough post position draw. 

A Big Crop of Three Year Olds

With the start of the 2015 racing season there will be somewhere between 350 and 400 three year olds that will 'declare' for the Kentucky Derby.  The nomination process is largely symbolic, with owners putting up $600 to gain eligibility for the three Triple Crown races.  With a maximum of 20 horses accepted into the Kentucky Derby field there will be a significant process of elimination among this group of three year olds.  This is done via a formal qualification procedure involving the major Derby 'prep races' in the early part of the 2015 racing season.

As you can see, the contenders for the 2015 Kentucky Derby are just starting to get listed around the Internet. Keeping up to date on the latest contenders as the 2015 race nears is important for those who are really serious about Kentucky Derby betting odds.