The 2013 Kentucky Derby picture will get a whole lot clearer on Wednesday, as the post draw is set to be released.
This pre-race event always creates buzz in the days leading up to Saturday's Run for the Roses, as bettors and horse racing fans alike scramble to figure out which post will hold the winning horse.
Historically, horses starting closer to the rail have fared better than those on the outside at Churchill Downs, but as I'll Have Another demonstrated in 2012, becoming the first horse ever to win from post No. 19, it's not the post, but the horse, that determines its fate in the Triple Crown's fist leg.
Still, the numbers don't lie. Here we'll break down the most and least favorable starting slots at the Kentucky Derby historically.
What: Kentucky Derby Post Draw Release
When: Wednesday, May 1
Coverage: 5-6 p.m. ET
Watch: NBC Sports Network
Most Favorable Slots
Post No. 5
Since 1900, 12 horses have come from post No. 5 to win the Kentucky Derby, including three since 1997.
Funny Cide was the last to win from post No. 5 in 2003, while War Emblem won from the same post a year earlier. Silver Charm (1997) and Strike the Gold (1991) are also recent winners from post No. 5.
Overall, horses starting inside the inner five posts have fared better than the rest, accounting for 52 of the past 113 Derby winners dating back to the start of the 20th century.
Post No. 8
Historically, post No. 8 has been strong but even more so as of late.
Mine That Bird was the last horse to win from post No. 8 in 2009, but Barbaro also won from that slot three years earlier in 2006. Since 1900, 10 Derby winners have started from post No. 8, including Go for Gin (1994) and Unbridled (1990).
Taking into account the past 138 races at Churchill Downs and recent success, this is arguably the best post position for a contender to run out of.
Post No. 16
While only four Kentucky Derby winners have ever started from the 16th post, all four of those winners have come since 1995.
Thunder Gulch became the first horse to win from post No. 16 in 1995, and since then other horses like Charismatic (1999), Monarchos (2001) and Animal Kingdom (2011) have all gone on to win from that slot.
Least Favorable Slots
Post No. 17
No horse has ever won the Kentucky Derby from the 17th post, making it by far the least favorable slot of the 20 at Churchill Downs.
If there's a reason not to fear the 17th post this year, it's what I'll Have Another was able to accomplish at Churchill Downs in 2012. The 138th Kentucky Derby winner became the first horse to ever win from the 19th post 12 months ago, proving that there's a first time for everything.
Post No. 18
Gato Del Sol in 1982 was the first and last horse to win from the 18th post, meaning that whichever horse draws post No. 18 in 2013 will have some serious odds to overcome.
There's no reason why this won't be the year a horse joins Gato Del Sol, but at the same time, that doesn't mean post No. 18 isn't an awkward starting slot at the Kentucky Derby. Be wary of this slot this weekend if one of the top contenders draws it.
Post No. 14
While it's not quite as far off the rail as post Nos. 17 and 18, No. 14 has been a tough post to win from historically.
Only two Derby winners have ever run out of the 14th post, and the last to do so was Carry Back all the way back in 1961. Before that, it was Middleground winning from the 14th slot in 1950.
Smarty Jones managed to win from post No. 13 in 2004, and Fusaichi Pegasus from post No. 15 in 2000, but post No. 14, the final post before the six-horse auxiliary gate, has been extremely difficult to win from over the past 50 or so years.
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