Danza Odds to Win the 2014 Kentucky Derby with Picks and Predictions
by Trevor Whenham - 4/18/2014
There are lots of horses in the Kentucky Derby starting gate that we knew were going to be there for months. They were talented and running well, and their connections were determined to get there. Horses have to overcome massive odds just to make the starting gate, but these horses aren't a real surprise. And then there are horses like Danza. He was way, way off the radar heading into his final prep in the Arkansas Derby. He had only three career starts before the race and only one other stakes appearance - way back in August. Bettors basically ignored him coming into the race - he went off at 41/1. Yet he did indeed win, and here we are - a shocker in the starting gate. But can Danza win the Kentucky Derby? T he oddsmakers at Sportsbook.ag give him a much better shot than they did last time out - he sits at +1800.
When evaluating this horse for yourself, here are four factors to consider:
The Arkansas Derby: While he was a very unexpected winner, you have to give him some credit for winning this race. The field was largely unproven but very deep. There were only eight horses in the field, but seven of them had legitimate Derby aspirations - and two others besides this horse will be in the Derby starting gate. He didn't beat up on weaklings to get to where he is. He did, though, enjoy an almost perfect trip. The previously unbeaten Bayern took the early lead and set a swift pace while being chased by Thundergram, the longest shot in the field. Danza settled on the rail and saved ground effortlessly. When they headed into the final turn and it was time to make a move, there was a crowd outside of Danza, and it looked like he might be in some trouble. But then, out of nowhere, a virtual highway opened up right in front of him. He was able to move to the front, catching Bayern at the top of the stretch. Because of the ease of the trip, he had plenty left and was in cruise control down the stretch winning easily. Of course, he's not going to get nearly as smooth of a trip in Kentucky, so you have to really wonder if he can be a factor when the race is bigger and messier. You also have to be concerned about the Arkansas Derby in general. Smarty Jones in 2004 was the last winner of this race to win in the Derby, and since then Arkansas Derby winners have consistently disappointed. When highly-regarded winners of this race have struggled at Churchill, it makes it very tough to have a lot of faith in this surprise winner.
Experience: The good news here is that this horse raced twice as a two year old. At least he doesn't have to overcome that major handicap. The problem is, though, that the horse has only four career starts and has raced just twice since last August. Before winning in Arkansas he had only run in an allowance race on March 1, finishing third. He is really light on experience and hasn't dealt with a lot of adversity. That would be less of a concern if he had been consistently dominant or if he had overcome a tough trip last time out, but neither are true. This is a serious concern for this horse. If there is a silver lining, though, it's that at least the horse has been well-traveled. His four races have been on four different tracks in three states. He doesn't have a strong base of experience, but he won't be bothered by the new surroundings he'll experience during the Derby.
Trainer: Todd Pletcher is a very tough guy to come to terms with in this race. There is no one better at getting horses into this race. He has three likely starters this year and one more with a chance. In recent years having five starters has almost been the norm. He owns the prep process, and he is the best trainer there is right now. Except for on Derby day. He has had 36 Kentucky Derby starters, including several very highly-regarded ones. He has only one win to show for that - Super Saver in 2010. He just doesn't seem capable of getting his horses ready to have their best day on their biggest day. That's a major concern every time you are considering a Pletcher horse, but it is especially a concern when it's a horse like this with so many questions already.
Breeding: On the surface, this is really bad news. Street Boss, his sire, was an excellent sprinter, and his offspring have excelled at distances of a mile or less. The mile and a quarter Derby distance is a major concern for a son of Street Boss. The breeding on the dam side doesn't offer enough to overcome those concerns, either. There is one small flash of hope, though. He has a half brother, Majestic Prince, who has won at a mile and a half at Santa Anita this year. That means that his dam has some serious stamina tendencies. That's probably not enough, but it's at least something.
Doc's Sports has a great offer for new clients. You can get $60 worth of picks from any Advisory Board handicapper for any sport he handicaps. All with no obligation and no credit card needed. Claim your free picks today.
Read more articles by Trevor Whenham
Most Recent Kentucky Derby Handicapping
- 2020 Kentucky Derby Long Shots: Expert Advice and Betting Tips for Finding Value
- 2020 Kentucky Derby Predictions
- 2020 Kentucky Oaks Predictions and Race Analysis
- Kentucky Derby Field - The Lineup and Morning Line Odds
- Best Trifecta Bets for the 2020 Kentucky Derby
- 2020 Kentucky Derby Horse Numbers: Post Positions and Expert Analysis
- 2020 Kentucky Derby Wagering Strategies
- 2020 Kentucky Derby Betting Trends
- Kentucky Derby Odds - Betting the 2020 Kentucky Derby
- 2020 Kentucky Derby Trivia Questions and Answers