2014 Kentucky Derby Post Positions: Handicapping and Analysis
by Robert Ferringo - 5/1/2014
There are generally very few winners in the Kentucky Derby post draw - only losers. However, Derby favorite California Chrome had a stellar day on Wednesday and has tightened his grip on the Horse To Beat title heading into this weekend's big race.
The 140th running of the Kentucky Derby will take place at 6:15 p.m. EST on Saturday at Churchill Downs. The Run for the Roses leads off the Triple Crown racing season and is one of the most prestigious sporting events in the nation.
California Chrome drew the No. 5 position at Wednesday's blind draw and has been installed as a solid 2.5-to-1 favorite. The chestnut colt is ridden by Victor Espinoza and has won four straight races, including the Santa Anita Derby on April 5, by a combined 24 lengths.
While it may seem random to the untrained eye, the post position draw is a crucial aspect to handicapping the Derby. Horses have a variety of styles, and the placement of the horses out of the gate can dictate a jockey's strategy for the race. With 20 horses in another full field, the early positioning can be vital.
The worst position at the gate is the No. 1 post. The last horse to win the Run for the Roses from the rail was Ferdinand in 1986, and last year's No. 1 horse, Black Onyx, scratched rather than go off as a 60-to-1 long shot.
This year's unlucky colt is Vicar's In Trouble, who saw his odds plummet from a soft 10-to-1 in the early betting to 30-to-1 after Wednesday's draw. Vicar's In Trouble is a frontrunner and will try to break quickly and avoid getting pinned to the rail.
In 2012 winner I'll Have Another became the first horse to ever win from the No. 19 position. That left the No. 17 slot is the only post position never to produce a winner. Commanding Curve (50-to-1) would have to pull one of the biggest upsets in Derby history in order to notch No. 17's first victory.
Only four horses have ever won the Kentucky Derby starting wider than the No. 16 post position.
Last year's winner, Orb, broke from the No. 16 slot. Orb became just the eighth horse in the 139-year history of the race to win starting wider than No. 15, and only four horses have ever won from posts 17 through 20.
California Chrome scored a second victory when two of its top contenders, Ride On Curlin (15-to-1) and Wicked Strong (8-to-1) drew the No. 19 and No. 20 posts, respectively.
That means that three of the strongest horses drew the three worst positions.
No. 5 slot and the No. 8 position have combined for 22 winners and are considered prime real estate. While California Chrome sits fifth, General A Rod (15-to-1) drew the No. 8.
Another notable draws include Samraat (5-to-1) at the No. 6 post.
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 - 4
17 - 0
18 - 1
19 - 1
20 - 2
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