The 143th running of the Kentucky Derby commences at 6:24 p.m. on Saturday, May 6 at Churchill Downs. The Run For The Roses marks the open of the Triple Crown racing season and is one of the most highly-anticipated sporting events of the spring.
The post draw took place on Wednesday afternoon without the usual fanfare. Kentucky Derby organizers have, in the past, tried to "liven up" the post draw with gimmicks such as allowing owners to pick their own post or having the draw in primetime. But this year's draw was a quiet affair that took all of five minutes this morning.
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The dreaded No. 1 slot - the rail - was bestowed upon Lookin at Lee (20-to-1). Over the past 20 years no horse has started the race from the rail and finished in the money. This is a clear disadvantage. In fact, seven of the last 20 horses to draw the No. 1 post have actually withdrawn from the race.
Patch (30-to-1) drew the No. 20 slot, guaranteeing the longest trip on Saturday.
Current favorite Classic Empire (4-to-1) drew the No. 14 post.
Tapwrit (20-to-1) was placed in the No. 16 gate. That has been a fortuitous draw in the recent past, producing five winners in the last 20 years (most recently with AnimalKingdom in 2011). Seven of horses have found the money in the last 20 years from the No. 16 position.
Always Dreaming (5-to-1), one of the favorites to win on Saturday, earned a beneficial draw at Post No. 5. This post has produced the most winners in Derby history and has had seven horses - including three second-place finishers - in the past two decades. California Chrome was the last horse to win from the No. 5 post, pulling the feat in 2014.
The No. 8 Post (Hence) and No. 13 Post (J Boys Echo) have also been beneficial gates over the last quarter century. Hence is currently 15-to-1 and J Boys Echo is at 20-to-1.
Last year's Kentucky Derby winner, Nyquist, released from the No. 13 post.
Only nine horses in the 140-year history of the Kentucky Derby that have won the race starting wider than No. 15, and only five horses have claimed the title starting at No. 17 or wider. That does not bode well for No. 17 Irish War Cry (6-to-1) or No. 18 Gormley (15-to-1), two horses expected to compete this weekend.
If there is a scratch prior to post time then alternates Royal Mo (20-to-1) and Master Plan (50-to-1) will fill in the field.
Here is the full Kentucky Derby field by post position:
Gate 1: Looking at Lee (20-to-1)
Gate 2: Thunder Snow (20-to-1)
Gate 3: Fast and Accurate (50-to-1)
Gate 4: Untrapped (30-to-1)
Gate 5: Always Dreaming (5-to-1)
Gate 6: State of Honor (30-to-1)
Gate 7: Girvin (15-to-1)
Gate 8: Hence (15-to-1)
Gate 9: Irap (20-to-1)
Gate 10: Gunnevara (15-to-1)
Gate 11: Battle of Midway (30-to-1)
Gate 12: Sonneteer (50-to-1)
Gate 13: J Boys Echo (20-to-1)
Gate 14: Classic Empire (4-to-1)
Gate 15: McCracken (5-to-1)
Gate 16: Tapwrit (20-to-1)
Gate 17: Irish War Cry (6-to-1)
Gate 18: Gormley (15-to-1)
Gate 19: Practical Joke (20-to-1)
Gate 20: Patch (30-to-1)
Here are is the total number of winners produced by each post position since 1900:
1 - 12
2 - 9
3 - 8
4 - 10
5 - 13
6 - 6
7 - 8
8 - 10
9 - 4
10 - 10
11 - 3
12 - 3
13 - 5
14 - 2
15 - 3
16 - 4
17 - 0
18 - 2
19 - 1
20 - 2
Read more articles by Robert Ferringo
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