Post position plays a vital role in how trainers prepare, how jockeys ride and how bettors wager every year at the Kentucky Derby.
Although it's the horse that ultimately determines its own fate—as I'll Have Another proved in 2012, becoming the first horse to ever win the Run for the Roses from post No. 19—history shows us that some starting posts are more favorable than others.
Below, we'll get you set for Wednesday's post draw, power ranking all 20 starting slots and breaking down the most favorable ones heading into the 2013 Kentucky Derby this weekend at Churchill Downs.
What: Kentucky Derby Post Draw Release
When: Wednesday, May 1
Coverage: 5-6 p.m. ET
Watch: NBC Sports Network
Kentucky Derby Post Position Power Rankings
|Ranking||PP||Winners (since 1900)||Winners (since 2000)|
|4||No. 4||11 ||1|
|5||No. 10||10 ||1|
Post No. 8
Since the beginning of the 20th century, post No. 8 has produced the third-most Derby winners, along with post No. 10. However, compared to the other two posts that have produced two winners each since 2000 (Nos. 5 and 16), post No. 8 has been linked to the most recent champions at Churchill Downs.
Mine That Bird was the last Kentucky Derby winner to run from post No. 8, and three years earlier, it was Barbaro winning the 132nd Run for the Roses from post No. 8.
The combination of starting towards the inside and being walked into the post much closer to the start of the event certainly makes this a favorable slot for any horse.
Remember, they load the horses in two at a time, starting with post Nos. 1 and 11 and working their way down. That said, No. 8 is one of the last horses to be loaded, perhaps making it less anxious and therefore more likely to have a strong start.
Post No. 5
Along with post No. 1, post No. 5 has produced the most Kentucky Derby winners since 1900. But unlike post No. 1, the fifth post has seen some recent champions run out of it, including Funny Cide (2003) and War Emblem (2002).
If you consider Silver Charm (1997) and Strike the Gold (1991), then four horses have won the Derby from post No. 5 in the last 21 years.
In 2010, Super Saver won the Derby from post No. 4, adding to the belief that starting close to rail makes a world of difference, so long as it isn't on the rail, assuming the horse fares better down the stretch.
Post No. 16
Like post Nos. 8 and 5, post No. 16 has produced two Kentucky Derby winners since the beginning of the 21st century: Animal Kingdom (2011) and Monarchos (2001).
Despite being an outside post, this slot has proven favorable over the past two decades. Three horses have won from post No. 16 since 1999, and four have won from it dating back to 1995's Thunder Gulch, who became the first horse to ever win the Derby from post No. 16 that year.
While post position should never be the reason you bet or predict a horse to win the Kentucky Derby, it's certainly a key factor to consider each year.
After all, history tells us that some starting slots are much more advantageous than others.
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