Kentucky Derby Handicapping: The Post Position Draw
by Robert Ferringo - 4/29/2010
Well, it wasn’t exactly the NBA lottery draw, but the Kentucky Derby post position draw took place on Wednesday evening and the field for the Most Exciting Two Minutes In Sports is now set.
To the untrained eye the post positioning may seem like a random factor of little consequence. After all, it’s a race, right? The fastest horse should win regardless of where they start, right? Well, that’s not exactly the case as historical trends and the styles and game plans of the horses all conspire to produce a unique race year in and year out.
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The big story in this year’s draw was the seemingly shoddy luck of the current favorites, Lookin At Lucky (3-to-1) and Sidney’s Candy (4-to-1). Those two drew the opposite extremes with their Derby post positions. Lookin At Lucky is set to begin in the No. 1 post while Sidney’s Candy will open on the far outside at No. 20.
The last horse to win the Run For The Roses from the No. 1 post was Ferdinand in 1986. Big Brown won from the No. 20 post in 2008 but was only the second horse to ever manage that feat. Also, there have only been three winners in the 135-year history of the Kentucky Derby that have won the race starting wider than No. 16.
This year’s post position draw marked the first time since 1998 that the Derby reverted to its original format of having a blind draw. In previous years, the draw was a two-step draft in which the horse’s name was picked randomly and then the trainer would choose one of the available positions. This year the horses were simply drafted into their post spot.
Had we been using the old format, I’m guessing that at least one of the favorites would have upgraded their position.
If you are looking for two horses that actually benefited from the draw I think that Line of David (No. 5) and American Lion (No. 7) have a nice spot. Both are speed horses whose only shot is to be quick to the rail and capitalize on a fast early pace. Had these horses been forced to come from the outside their speed likely would be negated.
No. 13 Jackson Bend and No. 17 Dublin also have decent post positions. Both have had issues navigating traffic in the past, but setting up a bit further outside could help their cause. That said, Dublin is in one of just two positions (No. 19 being the other) that has never produced a Derby winner.
Traditionally posts No. 1 and No. 5 have produced the most Derby winners. (But, as stated, post No. 1 hasn’t given us a champ in nearly a quarter century.) Each of those posts has given us 12 winners. After that, the historical “best” post positions are No. 4, No. 8 and No. 10 (10 winners apiece). After that is No. 2 with nine winners.
Ice Box (No. 2), Super Saver (No. 4), Dean’s Kittens (No. 8) and Paddy O’Prado (No. 10) are set in those four high-rating positions. However, at 8-to-1 Ice Box is the only horse with odds at less than 10-to-1.
Below are the post positions and the number of wins since 1900:
1 – 12
2 – 9
3 – 8
4 – 10
5 – 12
6 – 6
7 – 8
8 – 10
9 – 4
10 – 10
11 – 3
12 – 3
13 – 4
14 – 2
15 – 3
16 – 3
17 – 0
18 – 1
19 – 0
20 - 2
Robert Ferringo will be releasing his Kentucky Derby picks this Saturday for only $20. For more information call us toll free at 1-866-238-6696.
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