Kentucky Derby Field 2013: Contenders That Will Have to Overcome Poor Draw

Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistMay 2, 2013

LOUISVILLE, KY - APRIL 27: Java's War, riden by Marvin Abrego and Frac Daddy, riden by Victor Lebron, work out together during the morning excercise session in preparation for the 139th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on April 27, 2013 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

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.


Java's War

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
2  Oxbow
Gary Stevens
D. Wayne Lukas
3 Revolutionary  Calvin Borel  Todd Pletcher
4 Golden Soul Robby Albarado  Dallas Stewart  50-1
5 Normandy Invasion
Javier Castellano
Chad Brown
6 Mylute
Rosie Napravnik
Tom Amoss
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
15 Charming Kitten
Edgar Prado
Todd Pletcher
16 Orb Joel Rosario
Claude R. McGaughey III
17 Will Take Charge Jon Court
D. Wayne Lukas
18 Frac Daddy Victor Lebron  Kenny McPeek
19 Java's War  Julien Leparoux  Kenny McPeek  15-1
20 Vyjack Garrett Gomez
Rudy Rodriguez