The 139th Kentucky Derby post positions draw took place Wednesday at the Secretariat Lounge on the second floor of the Clubhouse in Churchill Downs.
Twenty-one horses were entered for Saturday’s Kentucky Derby, one more than the maximum field of 20. The entry box closed Wednesday morning, with the draw to determine post positions set for later in the afternoon.
The field is limited to the top 20 horses based on points earned in designated prep races. This invoked the also-eligible clause implemented last year, and the horse on that slot is Fear the Kitten.
Since 2010, the Kentucky Derby Post Position Draw reverted back to a traditional “pill pull.” This is where horses’ entry blanks are pulled simultaneously with a numbered pill to determine what stall a horse will break from in the starting gate.
With this procedure, the first horse drawn out was the last to enter the Derby, Giant Finish. He drew post position No. 7.
The likely pace-setter should be Falling Sky. He was the second horse to be drawn out, and he drew post position No. 13. Another of the fast horses and one of the favorites, Goldencents, drew No. 8 five turns later.
This could influence Falling Sky's strategy because Goldencents' natural speed could get him in the lead, at least, when they pass the finish line for the first time.
Todd Pletcher has five horses on the race, but he had only one worry about the post for one of them, undefeated Verrazano. He has shown an affinity to run from the outside, and it was imperative he drew outside of Falling Sky and Goldencents.
With only five spots left, including No. 1 and No. 2, Pletcher showed a sign of relief when Verrazano drew post position 14. This not only places him outside of Falling Sky and Goldencents, but he will have an additional eight to 10 feet between him and Charming Kitten on No. 15.
This is due to him being the last outside on the main gate and No. 15 being the first on the auxiliary gate.
Itsmyluckyday, who has great tactical speed, drew post position No. 12. This post position could work to his advantage as the field gets position into the first turn.
Orb, the likely favorite on Saturday drew, drew No. 16. It's not an ideal position for him, but he can adjust to the pace, and the mount of red-hot Joel Rosario will help him in getting his best placing.
Normandy Invasion drew post position No. 5. He is a mid-pack runner that makes his run in the stretch. His position doesn't affect him, nor does it give him an advantage.
Revolutionary will be ridden by three-time Derby winner Calvin Borel. He drew post position No. 3, and given Borel's preference for the rail, he is just four to six feet from where he wants to ride. Great position for him.
Overanalyze drew the No. 9 post position. He is another mid-pack runner that was not affected by the draw.
Vyjack drew the outside post No. 20. It's not an ideal position for him, but it would affect him only if the positioning inside him with the mid-pack runners doesn't develop to give him space in four to five lanes from the rail. Garrett Gomez is a big-time jockey and should know what to do here.
Even though the No. 1 slot is one of the two slots with the most wins (12), owners, trainers and jockeys like to avoid drawing it. The "lucky" winner of drawing the rail position was Black Onyx.
He is a runner that will also run mid-pack, but on a TV interview his jockey, Joe Bravo expressed he didn't mind where he would place in the gate. He might be thinking twice now that he drew the rail.
Now all handicappers can start making their choices. All the top contenders seem to have drawn well, and it should be a memorable race. Below you can find a full view of the post positions draw results.
Kentucky Derby | Grade 1 | Purse: $2 Million
|1||Black Onyx||K. Breen/J. Bravo||50-1|
|2||Oxbow||D. Wayne Lukas/G. Stevens||30-1|
|3||Revolutionary||T. Pletcher/C. Borel||10-1|
|4||Golden Soul||D. Stewart/R. Albarado ||50-1|
|5||Normandy Invasion||C. Brown/J. Castellano ||12-1|
|6||Mylute||T. Amoss/R. Napravnik ||15-1|
|7||Giant Finish||A. Dutrow/J. Espinoza ||50-1|
|8||Goldencents||D. O'Neill/K. Krigger ||5-1|
|9||Overanalyze||T. Pletcher/R. Bejarano ||15-1|
|10||Palace Malice||T. Pletcher/M. Smith ||20-1|
|11||Lines of Battle||A. O'Brien/R. Moore ||30-1|
|12||Itsmyluckyday||E. Plesa Jr/E. Trujillo ||15-1|
|13||Falling Sky||J. Terranova/L. Saez ||50-1|
T. Pletcher/J. Velazquez
|15||Charming Kitten||T. Pletcher/E. Prado||20-1|
|16||Orb||S. McGaughey/J. Rosario||7-2|
|17||Will Take Charge||D. Wayne Lukas/J. Court ||20-1|
|18||Frac Daddy||K. McPeek/V. Lebron ||50-1|
|19||Java's War||K.McPeek/J.Leparoux ||15-1|
|20||Vyjack||R. Rodriguez/G. Gomez ||15-1|
|AE||Fear The Kitten||M.Maker/TBD||---|
Morning Line odds provided by Mike Battaglia during the TV transmission