2023 Kentucky Derby Horse Numbers: Post Positions and Expert Analysis
Where you start in life can have a major impact on where you finish.
The same can be said for the Kentucky Derby.
The post draw is a critical feature of the Kentucky Derby. It isn’t definitive and doesn’t always trump talent. However, the post draw does have an impact on how horses are expected to run and is factored into the Kentucky Derby morning line odds. The horses in the No. 1 and No. 2 spots can get pushed against the rail and caught in traffic. The horses posted No. 16 and wider will avoid the early race crush but will be forced to run a longer race.
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The field is set the 149th Kentucky Derby, and the post draw Monday determined the starting position for all 20 horses. The race will commence at 6:57 p.m. on Saturday, May 6 at Churchill Downs and can be watched on NBC.
After a run of five favorites in eight years, the 2022 Kentucky Derby saw the second-largest longshot winner in the race’s history. Rich Strike, who entered the race as a late scratch and went off at a whopping 80-to-1, pulled one of the biggest upsets in horse racing history in last year’s race while winning by just three-quarters of a length. The horse’s owner took home over $1.8 million for his troubles.
In case you were wondering, in 1913 a horse named Donerail won the Derby at 91-to-1.
Last year’s results were the second straight Kentucky Derby to end under somewhat bizarre circumstances. In 2021, Medina Spirit won the race, originally. Then one week later a banned substance was found in Medina Spirit’s bloodstream. The horse then died on Dec. 6 following a workout and was eventually disqualified on Feb. 21 of 2022, meaning that race day place horse Mandaloun is in the history books as the “winner” of the 2021 Kentucky Derby.
Rich Strike’s upset wasn’t just notable because of the long odds. The horse also joined Big Brown as the only horse to win the Derby from the No. 20 post. Rich Strike also became just the 13th horse in the 148-year history of the Kentucky Derby to win the race starting No. 15 or wider. Only eight horses have claimed the title starting at No. 17 or wider.
Shockingly, seven of the last 12 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.
This year’s Kentucky Derby field is led by clear-cut favorite Forte. The champion two-year-old has won six of his seven career starts, including the Florida Derby last month. Trained by Todd Pletcher, Forte is at the No. 15 post and is looking for his sixth straight win overall.
Tapit Trice, another Pletcher-trained horse, is Forte’s leading contender. After losing his first start, Tapit Trice has reeled off four straight wins, including a win at the Blue Grass Stakes. The horse will launch from the coveted No. 5 spot on Saturday. The No. 5 slot has produced the most Kentucky Derby winners with 14.
Angel of Empire is also in the running at the top of the talent pool. The Arkansas Derby winner is leaving from post No. 14, right inside Forte. Confidence Game (Post 4) and Practical Move (Post 10) are other Derby prep winners that will be popular picks on Saturday.
The field features plenty of fillers. And also includes a pair of Japanese horses: Derma Sotogake and Continuar. These horses won and showed, respectively, in the United Arab Emirates Derby on March 25.
Hit Show drew the dreaded rail at post No. 1. Even though 12 all-time winners have come from the No. 1 post, the last winner from the rail was Winning Colors in 1988.
The No. 4, No. 7, No. 8 and No. 10 posts have each produced 10 winners all-time.
Here is the full Kentucky Derby field by post position and odds:
Gate 1: Hit Show (30-to-1)
Gate 2: Verifying (15-to-1)
Gate 3: Two Phils (12-to-1)
Gate 4: Confidence Game (20-to-1)
Gate 5: Tapit Trice (5-to-1)
Gate 6: Kingsbarns (12-to-1)
Gate 7: Reincarnate (50-to-1)
Gate 8: Mage (15-to-1)
Gate 9: Skinner (20-to-1)
Gate 10: Practical Move (10-to-1)
Gate 11: Disarm (30-to-1)
Gate 12: Jace’s Road (15-to-1)
Gate 13: Sun Thunder (50-to-1)
Gate 14: Angel of Empire (8-to-1)
Gate 15: Forte (3-to-1)
Gate 16: Raise Cain (15-to-1)
Gate 17: Derma Sotogake (10-to-1)
Gate 18: Rocket Can (15-to-1)
Gate 19: Lord Miles (30-to-1)
Gate 20: Continuar (50-to-1)
Here is the total number of winners produced by each post position since the introduction of the starting gate in 1930:
1 – 8
2 – 7
3 – 5
4 – 5
5 – 10
6 – 2
7 – 7
8 – 9
9 – 4
10 – 9
11 – 2
12 – 3
13 – 5
14 – 2
15 – 6
16 – 4
17 – 0
18 – 2
19 – 1
20 – 2
Robert Ferringo has been one of the most profitable Triple Crown horse racing handicappers in the country. Robert has posted four of seven winning Kentucky Derbys and has picked the winner in 24 of 35 Triple Crown races overall. He brought home over +1,500 in the Preakness and Belmont last year and will have an 8-Unit Head-to-Head Matchup Saturday you don’t want to miss!
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