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Zipse At The Track

California Chrome: Running away with the Horse of the Year?


In the last few days before the 2014 Kentucky Derby, you could have grabbed California Chrome at 8-1, as the co-fifth choice in the brand new Horse of the Year Award future wager offered by William Hill. That was then, this is now.


Now, 2 1/2 weeks later, and with impressive wins in the Derby and the Preakness in the rear-view mirror, the talented chestnut has not only ran into the hearts of millions of fans, but he has moved out all alone in the HOTY race, according to Vegas oddsmakers.


California Chrome is now listed at -125 on the money line. A style of odds more familiar to sports gamblers, than to racing bettors, at -125, you would need to wager $125 in order to come out $100 ahead. Any amount can be wagered, though, so a $12.50 ticket would pay off $22.50. In other words, Chrome has dropped from 8-1, half a month ago, to approximately 4-5 now. 

Meanwhile, Wise Dan, who was the 4-1 favorite pre-Derby favorite, as the reigning two-time Horse of the Year, saw his odds shoot up after going through emergency colic surgery last week. Now recuperating from the ordeal, the back-to-back winner of the Breeders’ Cup Mile is currently listed at 12-1. Tasty odds if you believe the seven-year-old gelding can come back as good as ever once he returns to training at Keeneland.


The new second choice, and a clear one at that, is Palace Malice. Now 4-1 in Nevada, the son of Curlin is scheduled to join California Chrome on the Belmont Stakes card, when he headlines the $1.25 million Met Mile. The new leader of the older male division is now 3-for-3 in 2014, and is coming off an overpowering win in the Westchester against a small and overmatched field. 

Over the years, the Older Dirt Male division has been the most likely place to find a Horse of the Year, although they have been shut out for five consecutive years. Despite that slump, many of the horses closest to California Chrome in odds come from this group, including the reigning two-time champ come from this division, including older stalwarts Game On Dude, Mucho Macho Man, and Will Take Charge all now listed at 10-1. 

If you tend to side with the fairer sex, you can find pretty attractive odds on the superstar sophomore filly, Untapable. Undefeated this season, and a romping winner of the prestigious Kentucky Oaks in her latest, she currently stands at 14-1 on the William Hill list. It's been few and far between for three-year-old fillies to be named Horse of the Year, but Rachel Alexandra did the deed just five years ago.


Looking to join Zenyatta and Havre de Grace as recent older females to win the honor, are a trio of highly successful four-year old fillies. Beholder at 20-1, Close Hatches (25-1), and Princess of Sylmar (30-1) each offer solid odds to those who believe we could have our fourth female HOTY in six years. Happily for racefans, all three are currently on target for a showdown in the Grade 1 Ogden Phipps, also on Belmont Stakes Day, June 7.

Of course, this race could be all but over in a matter of another 2 1/2 weeks, as one of the surest ways to win the Horse of the Year is to win the Triple Crown. If California Chrome can achieve what hasn’t been done in 36 years, the Horse of the Year Award, even at 4-5, should be money in the bank.




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Older Comments about California Chrome: Running away with the Horse of the Year?...

A trivia question: what was the only Triple Crown winner that did not get Horse of the Year? Answer: Omaha. Discovery was recognized as the uofficial HOY (there were no formal awards in 1935).
If he doesn't win the Belmont, he'd probably need to win the BC Classic, or a couple of G1's against older to secure HOTY.
I have a problem with gambling on the whims of < 300 people. Last year, for instance.
Exterminator, Michelle is kind of a health nut, she might not mind an apple on her desk.
Poor Dan, I was hoping for a three-time HOY.
I'd love to see Chrome leave a "gift" on Obama's desk, though it might go unnoticed among all the other crap that goes through there.
Should I remind everyone and I mean EVERYONE that President Obama will host the Seahawks tomorrow in the White House for the being the greatest team in football. President Obama, if California Chrome wins the Triple Crown - how about the horse and his connections be invited to the White House?
especially since Dan is hurt now, it will be nearly impossible for him to sneak in another HOY, Triple Crown or no Triple Crown.
I attended the last game played in the Kingdome by Seattle, before they demolished it.
The whinners are done. They had their wndow of opportunity and choked it away. Situation is so bad, Harbaugh was looking fo an out. Think the Whiner players are done with his sorry act also. But you nailed it,never worry about teams that can't pose a legit threat.
was in that crowd in the old Kingdome the very first time the Hawks beat the Denver Broncos with Jimmy Zorn to either Raible or Steve Largent had the winning TD
'9ers must have slipped your mind... Oh, I forgot, you 'had' their # haha.
Going into next year , definately the best Division.Led by the Seahawks and up and comers AZ Cardinals and your transplanted Rams. 1 Monster team and 2 up and comers. NFC only has powerhouse in Big Blue Jints.
It's in the archives. NFC West Coast baby.
From a true blue Giants fan. The Seahawks ala Chrome were so much the best,it really isn't funny. The gap between them and the 2nd team/horse is substantial.
Roses4U - don't really think the Seahawks, just like California Chrome, is an aberration. I, like some here fail to do, recognize excellence.
Just a side note- I know one of the players drafted by the Seahawks this year :D
railbird33, GZ was HOY and Older Male for 2004; Smarty Jones was the Champion 3y/o Colt. :)
How many Graded wins do the Seahawks have this year? Oh that's right they haven't raced yet and are just now going into training knowing they had one of the worst drafts. Last year IMO was an aberration but you go hit 'em hard and that 9/2. Good luck!
He'l need the Belmont-for sure. Smarty came into this race of six wins, and missed the TC by a neck. Ghostzapper didn't start his win streak until July and beat Smarty for 3YO- HOY.

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Meet Brian Zipse 

Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Taken to the races at a very young age, he has been lucky enough to see all the greats in person from Secretariat, Forego, and Ruffian through Rachel Alexandra, Zenyatta, and American Pharoah. Before coming to the Nation, Brian displayed his love for the sport through the development of his horse racing website, which quickly became one of the most popular blogs in the game. 

The Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, Brian authored a daily column as Zipse at the Track, or ZATT for short, and added his editorial flare to the overall content of the website. Now a Senior Writer for HRN, Brian continues to contribute his thoughts on racing, as well as co-hosting the popular racing show, HorseCenter. A big supporter of thoroughbred aftercare, he serves as the President of The Exceller Fund.

Brian's work has also been published on several leading industry sites. He has consulted for leading contest site Derby Wars, is both a Hall of Fame and NTRA poll voter, and is a Vox Populi committee member. 

A horse owner and graduate of DePaul University, Brian lives just outside of Louisville with his wife Candice and daughter Kendra.


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