2022 Kentucky Derby Horse Numbers: Post Positions and Expert Analysis
Men, dust off your seersucker. Ladies, grab favorite wide-brimmed hat. It’s Kentucky Derby time!
The post draw for The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports was held on Monday, and now the field for the 148th Kentucky Derby is set. The race will commence at 6:57 p.m. on Saturday, May 7 at Churchill Downs and can be watched on NBC.
Despite the lack of historical success from this post, favorites have been the play at Churchill Downs over the past eight years. Five of the past eight winners have gone off between 2-to-1 and 4-to-1, including 2018 race day favorite Justify (2.5-to-1), and 2020 winner Authentic was the third-favored horse at just 5.5-to-1.
Last year was one of the most bizarre Kentucky Derby’s in recent memory. Bob Baffert horse Medina Spirit crossed the finish line first and, for betting purposes “won” the Derby. However, one week after the race, Medina Spirit was found to have a banned substance in his bloodstream. The horse actually died on Dec. 6 following a workout and was eventually disqualified on Feb. 21 of this year, meaning that race day place horse Mandaloun is in the history books as the “winner” of the 2021 Kentucky Derby.
Medina Spirit was one of the rare mid-odds horses to come through in Kentucky. The horse opened at 15-to-1 and went off at 12-to-1, making it one of only three horses in the past decade to win the Derby at double-digit odds.
This year’s Kentucky Derby features a deep field with no true favorite. Zandon is the current favorite at 3-to-1. But the odds on the Blue Grass Stakes winner were a surprise, and Zandon isn’t considered a dominant horse by any means. Zandon preferential post draw, No. 10, is definitely a factor in its high odds.
Steve Asmussen’s colt Epicenter was expected to be the Derby favorite following consecutive stakes wins, including in March at the Louisiana Derby. Epicenter is the second betting favorite at 7-2 after drawing a tough inside post, No. 3.
The other two most highly regarded horses in this year’s field, Messier (8-to-1) and Taiba (12-to-1) drew No. 6 and No. 12, respectively.
Only one horse posted outside Taiba currently has odds better than 20-to-1. White Abarrio (10-to-1) is the lone contender from the outside at No. 15.
Just 12 horses in the 148-year history of the Kentucky Derby have won the race starting wider than No. 15. Only seven horses have claimed the title starting at No. 17 or wider, with the last being Authentic (Post 18) in 2020.
However, six of the last 11 winners have started from post No. 16 or wider. (That includes 2019 winner-by-disqualification.) It has become much more common for horse to start wide, avoid the crush at the rail, and manage to win on the stretch despite an overall longer race form the outside.
Smile Happy will launch from the coveted No. 5 spot on Saturday. Historically, the No. 5 slot has produced the most Kentucky Derby winners with 14.
Mo Donegal drew the dreaded rail and post No. 1. Even though 12 total winners have come from the rail, the last winner from the No. 1 position was Winning Colors in 1988.
The No. 4, No. 7, No. 8 and No. 10 posts have each produced 10 winners. Summer Is Tomorrow (30-to-1), Crown Pride (20-to-1), Charge It (20-to-1) and Pioneer of Medina (30-to-1) drew those slots, respectively.
Here is the full Kentucky Derby field by post position and odds:
Gate 1: Mo Donegal (10-to-1)
Gate 2: Happy Jack (30-to-1)
Gate 3: Epicenter (7-to-2)
Gate 4: Summer Is Tomorrow (30-to-1)
Gate 5: Smile Happy (20-to-1)
Gate 6: Messier (8-to-1)
Gate 7: Crown Pride (20-to-1)
Gate 8: Charge It (20-to-1)
Gate 9: Tiz the Bomb (30-to-1)
Gate 10: Zandon (3-to-1)
Gate 11: Pioneer of Medina (30-to-1)
Gate 12: Taiba (12-to-1)
Gate 13: Simplification (20-to-1)
Gate 14: Barber Road (30-to-1)
Gate 15: White Abarrio (10-to-1)
Gate 16: Cyberknife (20-to-1)
Gate 17: Classic Causeway (30-to-1)
Gate 18: Tawny Port (30-to -1)
Gate 19: Zozos (20-to-1)
Gate 20: Ethereal Road (30-to-1)
Here is the total number of winners produced by each post position since 1900:
1 – 12
2 – 9
3 – 8
4 – 10
5 – 14
6 – 6
7 – 10
8 – 10
9 – 4
10 – 10
11 – 3
12 – 3
13 – 5
14 – 2
15 – 3
16 – 5
17 – 0
18 – 3
19 – 1
20 – 3
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