When my editor emailed me this morning to take an early look at the 2014 Triple Crown threats, my immediate reaction was “here we go again”. It’s not that I was mad at my boss or anything – far from it – it’s just that we in the sports community do this song and dance every year. Can California Chrome or some other horse do what no other has done in over three decades?
More importantly – are you willing to gamble on it?
The odds on this board are massive too, for good reason. This is the part where I remind you that no horse has achieved the Triple Crown in 36 years since Affirmed did so in 1978. Even then when you have a horse like California Chrome giving you 12-to-1 odds to win the Triple Crown, it’s hard not to look in your wallet and say “I could spend $100 on that…”
It’s not just that Chrome is the heavy favorite at this weekend’s Kentucky Derby – he’s the best horse in the 2014 field by a country mile. He won the Santa Anita Derby by five lengths, which is an astonishing feat in itself. The crazy part? He let up in the final leg! California Chrome may be not be the best horse we’ve seen in recent years, but he’s so much better than his peers that it’s hard not to think of him when taking an early look at the 2014 Triple Crown threats.
To put California Chrome’s +1200 odds to win the Triple Crown in perspective, you only have to look at the other horses. Wicked Strong is the next 2014 Triple Crown threat on the board at +3000 while Danza and Hopportunity are both +7500. Those are gigantic gaps between the favorite and the second/third horses on the board.
Last year was a crazy season in horse racing as Orb shattered the Triple Crown hopes by winning the derby. In 2012, I’ll Have Another stole the hearts of everyone but failed to compete in the Belmont which literally put sad faces on every sports fan in America. Before that Big Brown won both the derby and the Preakness in 2008 but failed to finish the Belmont. Smarty Jones was the closest in 2004 but finished second to Birdstone.
The reason I bring this up is because it’s not easy ot win the Triple Crown, which is why you shouldn’t launch your life savings at this board. For my flier bets (and you know I love a flier bet!) I’m willing to chip in a few relative pennies on California Chrome and Danza considering their odds. They’re the only ones I believe in as I take an early look at the 2014 Triple Crown threats.