Kentucky Derby winner California Chrome may have fallen short of winning the Triple Crown but there’s still a couple of superlatives he can earn in the second half of his three year old campaign. His connections are going to resume his training next week with the primary goal being participation in the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic on November 1. He can also get a more ceremonial honor–the ‘Horse of the Year’ award and based on the betting lines at Nevada sportsbook chain William Hill his chances look pretty good.
California Chrome is currently a 5-2 co-favorite along with Metropolitan Handicap winner Palace Malice. Palace Malice is most famous for doing what California Chrome was unable to do–winning the 2013 Belmont Stakes. Palace Malice is considered by most as the sport’s best older horse and historically the ‘Horse of the Year’ voting hasn’t been a name recognition or popularity contest meaning that he’s a very viable contender despite California Chrome’s massive popularity.
Right behind the co-favorites are the defending two time Horse of the Year Wise Dan at 10-1 and 2013 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Mucho Macho Man at 12-1. Untapable is also priced at 12-1 to win the ‘Horse of the Year’ title. Will Take Charge is 15-1 and Close Hatches is 18-1. The aforementioned Wise Dan had opened as a 4-1 favorite ahead of a 5-1 Mucho Macho Man but betting action has produced a dramatic shake up in the odds pricing.
William Hill was able to get the ‘Horse of the Year’ bet approved by the Nevada gaming regulators despite the ridiculously restrictive criteria for ‘non sports betting’. Any event that is not determined on the field of play such as a voted award must go through a borderline absurd approval process before a sports book can post it. Prior to 2013 ‘non sports’ bets were prohibited altogether. The first bet of this type to be offered was on the 2013 World Series of Poker but no other such bets have been posted since then serving to underscore the burdensome regulatory hoops that bookmakers must jump through.
The results of the ‘Horse of the Year’ voting will be announced on January 17, 2015 though per the inexplicable conditions placed on the bet by gaming regulators betting on the award will be closed before the end of 2014.