2013 Kentucky Derby Post Positions
by Robert Ferringo - 5/3/2013
Wednesday evening’s Kentucky Derby post draw is still sending shockwaves through the odds of this year’s Run for the Roses. With one of the most balanced and open fields in recent memory set for this weekend’s affair, the post position has been one of the main factors in determining who will prevail on one of the biggest stages in sports.
The 139th running of the Kentucky Derby will take place at 6:15 p.m. on Saturday at Churchill Downs. The Run for the Roses is one of the longest-running traditions in sports and kicks off the annual Triple Crown racing season.
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The post positioning may seem like a random factor of little consequence in a horse race. But it is actually an extremely important agent that can impact how the entire field plays out. Because horses have a variety of styles – some break quickly, some are closers, some don’t like to be crowded early, etc. – the placement of the horses out of the gate can reverberate throughout the entire race.
This year’s post position draw marked just the second 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. The change was made last year and continued this season.
Last year’s winner, I’ll Have Another, became the first horse in the history of the race to win from the No. 19 position. The 16-to-1 race day long shot made a daring dash down the stretch to take down favorite Bodemeister on the sloppy track and was not bothered by the added distance of the outside post.
I’ll Have Another became just the fourth horse in the 138-year history of the race to win starting wider than No. 16.
That does not bode well for one of this year’s favorites, Orb (4-to-1). The Florida Derby and Fountain of Youth winning horse is the current favorite despite drawing well outside at No. 16.
Conversely, one of the running stories each year regarding the post drawing is which horse will be saddled with the dreaded No. 1 slot. The last horse to win the Run for the Roses from the No. 1 post was Ferdinand in 1986. This year Black Onyx (50-to-1) will try to buck that trend. If he did, it would be considered one of the biggest upsets in Derby history.
Normandy Invasion (9-to-1) and Goldencents (8-to-1) would have to be considered two of the “winners” of this year’s post draw. Normandy Invasion drew the No. 5 slot while Goldencents will leave from the No. 8 position. With a combined 22 winners from those two stalls, those would have to be considered prime real estate.
Other notable draws for this year’s race include Verrazano (4.5-to-1) at the No. 14 post. The horse had been the early betting favorite prior to Wednesday. Revolutionary (7-to-1) at the No. 3 post and Overanalyze (14-to-1) at No. 9 are two more horses that saw their odds improve significantly after earning their gate.
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 – 1
20 - 2
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Read more articles by Robert Ferringo
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