The field and post positions for the 2013 Kentucky Derby are set, and it is now time to start dialing in our picks for this storied race.
This Kentucky Derby promises to be wide open. We have a bevy of talented horses capable of trotting into history, but there aren't any that appear as overwhelming favorites.
This makes deciding on a personal favorite for the Greatest Two Minutes in Sports a little difficult, which means that post positions will be vital this year; the slight advantages they offer may be enough to tip the scales in the first leg of the Triple Crown.
Check out the post positions, and then I'll break down the most and least successful of the post positions.
Where: Churchill Downs, Louisville, Ky.
Purse: $2.18 Million
Distance: 10 furlongs
Post Time: 7-7:30 p.m. ET
|1||Black Onyx ||Joe Bravo ||Kelly Breen ||50-1|
|2||Oxbow ||Gary Stevens ||D. Wayne Lukas ||30-1|
|3||Revolutionary||Calvin Borel||Todd Pletcher ||10-1|
|4||Golden Soul||Robby Albarado||Dallas Stewart||50-1|
|5||Normandy Invasion ||Javier Castellano ||Chad Brown ||12-1|
|6||Mylute ||Rosie Napravnik ||Tom Amoss ||15-1|
|7||Giant Finish||Jose L. Espinoza||Anthony W. Dutrow||50-1|
|8||Goldencents||Kevin Krigger||Doug O'Neill||5-1|
|9||Overanalyze||Rafael Bejarano||Todd Pletcher||15-1|
|10||Palace Malice||Mike Smith||Todd Pletcher||20-1|
|11||Lines of Battle||Ryan Moore||Aidan O'Brien||30-1|
|12||Itsmyluckyday||Elvis Trujillo||Eddie Plesa Jr.||15-1|
|13||Falling Sky||Luis Saez||John Terranova II||50-1|
|14||Verrazano ||John R. Velazquez ||Todd Pletcher ||4-1|
|15||Charming Kitten ||Edgar Prado ||Todd Pletcher ||20-1|
|16||Orb||Joel Rosario ||Claude R. McGaughey III ||7-2|
|17||Will Take Charge||Jon Court ||D. Wayne Lukas ||20-1|
|18||Frac Daddy||Victor Lebron||Kenny McPeek ||50-1|
|19||Java's War||Julien Leparoux||Kenny McPeek||15-1|
|20||Vyjack||Garrett Gomez ||Rudy Rodriguez |
*Post positions via the Kentucky Derby's official Twitter account.
Post Position Breakdown
At the Kentucky Derby, it is far better to start close to the rail than away from it. Not one post at No. 11 or higher has fielded more than four Kentucky Derby winners.
Meanwhile, every post from 10 on in has been the home of at least four winners.
So, let's break down the best of the best and the worst of the positions.
Winningest Post Positions
Posts Nos. 1 and 5 lead the way, having fielded 12 winners each. However, the first post position has not produced a winner since 1986 when Ferdinand took the crown, and there are plenty of trainers and jockeys who would just as soon avoid being locked in against the rail.
The fifth spot last had a winner in 2003 with Funny Cide
The fourth post checks in at third with 11 winners, the last of which came in 2010 with Super Saver.
Nos. 8 and 10 are the only other post positions to house double-digit winners with 10 apiece, and both did so relatively recently.
Mine That Bird took the top spot in 2009 from No. 8 and Giacomo pulled off the winning feat in 2005 from No. 10.
Worst Post Positions
Victories become pretty scarce the farther outside we get.
No. 17 is the only post to have never fielded a winner. Meanwhile, Nos. 18 and 19 have done so just once.
However, proving that you can't let post position be the end all be all, I'll Have Another won last year from No. 19.
The 20th and 14th posts have been the starting slots for two winners each. No. 14 hasn't done so since Carry Back in 1961, while Big Brown did so from No. 20 in 2008.
Final Word on Factoring in Post Positions to Your Pick
Counting Animal Kingdom's win in 2011 from the 16th post, three of the past five Kentucky Derby winners have started from No. 16 or beyond.
While this might first suggest we can essentially throw all this information out the window, isn't that the case with everything when it comes to picking the winner of a horse race?
We can pore over all the lineage, speed numbers, track records, post positions and jockeys to make a confident pick, and then watch all that work flutter away as a horse no one saw coming storms in to cross the finish line first.
If you are torn between a few horses in this field, you could do worse than using post-position advantages to help make a close call. However, if you are set on a horse, don't let a bad draw dissuade you from that selection.