The Kentucky Derby has been dominated by long shots in recent years, highlighted by I'll Have Another's improbable win at Churchill Downs a year ago.
Unfortunately, not every long-shot pick is as smart as it is bold. An unfavorable post draw can spell doom for a horse who prefers to run outside or get to the front early. With only four favorites heading into Saturday's 139th Run for the Roses, there are plenty of long shots to choose from this year.
Here we'll highlight a trio of underdogs to avoid this weekend.
2013 Kentucky Derby | Churchill Downs, Louisville, Ky. | Purse: $2.18 Million | Grade I | Distance: 10 furlongs | Post Time: 7-7:30 p.m. ET
||D. Wayne Lukas
|3||Revolutionary||Calvin Borel||Todd Pletcher
|4||Golden Soul||Robby Albarado||Dallas Stewart||50-1|
|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|
||John R. Velazquez
||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|
Black Onyx, 50-1, Post No. 1
Don't confuse post No. 1's status as the winningest post in Kentucky Derby history with the winningest in recent history.
It's been nearly 30 years since a horse won the Derby from the rail in post No. 1, which bodes terribly for long shot Black Onyx in 2013. Just ask Yahoo! Sports' Pat Forde.
Oxbow draws the 2. Long shot gets longer. Black Onyx buried in the 1 hole. See ya.— Pat Forde (@YahooForde) May 1, 2013
Black Onyx, ridden by jockey Joe Bravo, has never started a race from the rail. And with Calvin Borel and Revolutionary running from post No. 3, don't be surprised if the 50-1 long shot gets sent to the back of the pack early on.
While a bad draw is never solely to blame for a horse's performance at the Kentucky Derby, it can certainly have a big-time influence on how well or poorly the horse gets out of the gate and ultimately navigates the 1 1/4-mile dirt track.
Lines of Battle, 30-1, Post No. 11
Lines of Battle, a 30-1 dark horse running out of post No. 11, should struggle on Saturday—and for similar reasons as Black Onyx.
At the Kentucky Derby, the horses are loaded into the posts two at a time, starting with post Nos. 1 and 11 and working their way down. That said, both Black Onyx and Lines of Battle will spend more time in the post prior to the gun, which could potentially lead to an anxious start.
Perhaps that's why post Nos. 1, 2, 11 and 12 haven't produced a Kentucky Derby winner since the late 1980s.
Winning Colors was the last horse to win the Derby from post No. 11 back in 1988, and only three horses have come from that post to win the Derby since the start of the 20th century.
Also keep in mind that the Aidan O'Brien-trained Lines of Battle has raced just once this year, winning the Grade II U.A.E. Derby last March.
Frac Daddy, 50-1, Post No. 18
Another 50-1 long shot at Churchill Downs is Frac Daddy, one of two Derby horses trained by Ken McPeek.
Which long shot has the best shot to defy the odds?
Running out of the 18th post on Saturday, this colt looks to have a microscopic chance of conquering the first leg of the Triple Crown this spring. Only one horse in history has ever won from post No. 18, and that was Gato Del Sol way back in 1982.
While post Nos. 15 and 16 have produced a combined six winners over the last 20 Kentucky Derby races, posts Nos. 17 and 18 have combined to produce just one winner in the history of the event.
Mine That Bird, the last horse with 50-1 odds that won the Derby in 2009, started much closer to the rail inside post No. 8. Frac Daddy had a strong showing at the Grade II Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park last month, but a poor draw and improved competition should make him a non-factor this weekend.
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