The field is set. The post positions have been assigned. The morning odds are in. The mint juleps are already on your mind.
It's Kentucky Derby time, people.
But not every trainer, jockey and owner is as excited as you are, as a few horses received less-than-ideal post positions. While none of the major contenders received a crippling starting spot, the following three horses would have been served better starting elsewhere and will have to battle to win this race.
Let's break them down.
This is a really tough draw for Vyjack, as the horse will start on the No. 20 post all the way on the outside. That's certainly not what trainer Rudy Rodriguez or jockey Garrett Gomez would have hoped for, I'm sure.
Vyjack is at his best when he can sit just outside of the leading pack and pull away in the end. Starting from out wide, that's going to be a much more difficult strategy, and Vyjack will instead need to stalk from further behind.
In his third-place finish at the Wood Memorial, he didn't have the kick at the end of the race to overcome Verrazano. With plenty of talented horses in this field, it won't be easy for Vyjack to avoid the early crowd starting out wide, meaning he'll need to expend a lot of energy to start quickly and could be out of steam for the final push.
The No. 19 pole might not be too detrimental for Java's War—the horse doesn't mind running off the pace and, hey, that's where I'll Have Another started last year—but it's not an ideal starting position.
Java's War has struggled at times to get a clean start and has gotten lost in the pack. Out wide, that may be less of a concern. But it could also mean that Java's War is forced wide into the turns, taking the steam out of any late attempts to catch up to the leaders with a strong, final kick.
Java's War is the type of horse that can weather the No. 19 post, but it's still not an ideal starting position. If Java's War falls too far behind and has to stay wide early, it may never get back into the race.
On one hand, landing the No. 8 pole should be considered a positive. On the other hand, Goldencents is inside of the two other quick starters in this race, Falling Sky and Verrazano. This means the horse will have to get off to a very early start to avoid an early pack.
That's not an ideal position for the horse, even if the No. 8 pole is a traditionally solid starting position. Goldencents is going to have to work really hard early to stay with the pace-setters and fight off the converging group from outside.
It's not as bad as starting on the No. 1 or 2 post, obviously, but jockey Kevin Krigger and trainer Doug O'Neill surely didn't want to end up inside of Falling Sky and Verrazano.
2013 Kentucky Derby | Churchill Downs, Louisville, Ky. | Purse: $2.18 Million | Grade I | Distance: 10 furlongs | Post Time: 7-7:30 p.m. ET
*Post positions via the Kentucky Derby's official Twitter account.
|Post||Horse||Jockey||Trainer||Morning Line Odds|
|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|
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|
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 ||15-1|