With a four-race winning streak and speed figures that are tops in the field, California Chrome remains the heavy betting favorite for the 140th running of the Kentucky Derby on Saturday afternoon at Churchill Downs.
The colt's task got a bit easier on Thursday with the scratch of Hoppertunity, who was the second choice on the morning line at 6-1. The Bob Baffert trainee is suffering from a minor foot bruise, but the colt could still be headed to Pimlico for the Preakness Stakes, the second jewel of the Triple Crown.
The scratch has seen more wagering action move to Wicked Strong, who was 6/1 midday Saturday according to racebooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
With the scratch of Hoppertunity, the James Jerkens-trained Wicked Strong inherited the role as the second choice on the morning line at 6-1. The colt won the Grade 1 Wood Memorial in his last start for his first victory of 2014. The colt was ninth in the Grade 2 Holy Bull followed by a fourth place finish against optional claimers before his Wood win.
While he is 6-1 on the morning line, early betting at Oddsshark.com had him pegged at a more generous 8-1. The colt moved to 6/1 by midday, but will have to overcome breaking from the far outside post when 19 leave the gate on Saturday.
Intense Holiday was also getting lots of support as he moved all the way down to 8/1.
California Chrome is now 5/2 in the latest odds at Oddsshark.com. The colt has done nothing wrong this year, winning all three of his starts and landing on top of the 2014 Kentucky Derby Points Standings with 150.
The colt's three-year-old campaign started by facing state breds in the California Cup Derby where he trounced the field by 5 ½ lengths. He then stepped outside of the state bred ranks and won the Grade 2 San Felipe by 7 ¼ lengths.
In his final prep for the Run for the Roses, the colt drew away to win the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby by 5 ¼ lengths over a solid field that included Hoppertunity and Candy Ride.
The Kentucky Derby is race 11 of a 13-race card on tap at Churchill Downs on Saturday, with first post of 10:30am (ET). Post time for the Kentucky Derby is slated for 6:24pm (ET) and will be televised live on NBC.