Plenty of longshots will be in a great position to make a major impact at the 2013 Kentucky Derby.
Featured columnist Carlos Torres did a great job breaking down what impact post positions can have on a race. The Associated Press also made a very nice interactive graph noting which post positions have been the most successful.
Starting in the right position can allow you to get out to a nice start and open up the track in order to make a late move. Conversely, getting stuck too far outside or too far inside doesn't help things, because you're either stuck on the rail and can't get out, or you've got move much more in order to shorten the track up.
Every horse has to run the same distance, so the talent of the jockey and physical skills of the horse mean that the haves will separate themselves from the have-nots for the most part over the 1.25-mile race.
Here are some underdogs whose post position could be a difference-maker in Saturday's race.
|11||Lines of Battle||30-1|
|17||Will Take Charge||20-1|
Post positions and odds are courtesy of Steve Andress of WDRB in Louisville.
Golden Soul won't be too happy staring at 50-1 odds. At those odds, he's one of the biggest long shots in the race. What Golden Soul will be happy about is his starting position.
Eleven horses have won the Kentucky Derby from No. 4—the second-highest total ever. The last came in 2010 with Super Saver. Trainer Dallas Stewart won't like being sandwiched in between Revolutionary and Normandy Invasion, but it will keep Golden Soul keep pace.
Golden Soul isn't the kind of horse who'll blow you away with his speed. He'll continue getting up the track at a solid pace. He doesn't get out to a great start and doesn't have a stellar finishing kick.
Starting in an advantageous position is a huge benefit, since it will allow Golden Soul to have about as good a start as possible.
In what is a nice bit of coincidence, the 10th position has seen exactly 10 winners. The last one was Giacomo in 2005. Getting in the middle of the post means a horse won't be crowded on the rail, but it won't have to make a move inside. It's about the best of both worlds.
Todd Pletcher and Garrett Gomez should be very happy with this position. Palace Malice is at his best when running slightly off the pace. He has very good stamina and can save himself very well for the end of the race.
Not getting too far inside, Palace Malice is in a nice position to make that pivotal final kick. He shouldn't have to deal with a lot of horses all bunched up in a small area that would prevented him from making a move.
With a name like Giant Finish, you're not setting yourself up as a major contender. Otherwise it wouldn't take a giant finish to win. Starting in No. 8 would at least allow Giant Finish to get a nice start. Eight horses have won from the position.
It's good news considering how little prep time Giant Finish will have compared to his competitors. He was just added to the Derby field on Tuesday (h/t Claire Novak of Bloodhorse via ESPN.com). And Giant Finish just arrived at Churchill Downs on Thursday morning (h/t The Blood-Horse):
You don't want to suddenly throw your horse unprepared into a race like the Kentucky Derby.
Although Giant Finish is at a bit of a disadvantage, he shouldn't have a problem keeping up in the race. He's got very good stamina. With the eighth position, Giant Finish can make the most of that stamina and get out on the lead.