If Verrazano is to win the 2013 Kentucky Derby, it will be doing something that hasn't been done since 1961: winning from the 14th position. Carry Back was the last to do so.
Despite that poor record, Todd Pletcher is very happy with the circumstance (h/t Lexington Herald-Leader):
Alicia Wincze Hughes @BH_AHughes
Pletcher on No. 14 for Verrazano "Drawing right outside of Falling Sky and Goldencents down in (8), it couldn't have worked out much better"2013-5-1 22:23:52
Verrazano is an extremely fast horse. He'll be looking to get out to a fast start and be amongst the leaders as early as possible. Although, as the Wood Memorial demonstrated, he can lurk back in the pack and make a late push.
Of course, Verrazano is not the only top contender for the Derby who's happy with their position. Here are the post positions for each horse in the race, followed by the favorites who will benefit the most.
|4||Golden Soul||Robby Albarado|
|5||Normandy Invasion||Javier Castellano|
|7||Giant Finish||Jose Espinoza|
|10||Palace Malice||Mike Smith|
|11||Lines of Battle||Ryan Moore|
|13||Falling Sky||Luis Saez|
|15||Charming Kitten||Edgar Prado|
|17||Will Take Charge||Jon Court|
|18||Frac Daddy||Victor Lebron|
|19||Java's War||Julien Leparoux|
Note: For a more complete analysis and history of the post positions, check out Carlos Torres' in-depth breakdown.
More horses have won from No. 5 than any other position. A total of 12 have done it, but it's been a decade since Funny Side won the Derby from No. 5 in 2003. Normandy Invasion will look to break that duck.
He's a very good closer. The horse has a lot of speed and will be able to hold up for the 1.25 miles. Normandy Invasion will want to stay up near the lead and make a late move.
The tricky part will be not getting pushed too far on the rail. Javier Castellano needs to make sure he's got the space on the track to make the moves necessary to complete the horse's late kick.
Despite being a very good horse, much of the talk about Goldencents has surround owner Rick Pitino, head coach of the national champion Louisville Cardinals, and jockey Kevin Krigger, who's trying to become the first African-American jockey to win the Derby since 1902. It's a bit unfair to the horse, considering how talented it is.
Goldencents likes to get off to a fast start and hold up near the leaders, if he isn't the leader already. Starting in the eighth position will be nice. Ten horses have won from there.
Getting near the middle of the pack is the best of both worlds. You're not too close to the rail, nor are you too far away that you've got to make up ground early in the race.
Krigger might prefer to start a little further outside, but he can position Goldencents near the lead early and hope to stay there.
Getting put in the auxiliary gate is a huge advantage for Orb. Four horses have won from the 16th position, with Animal Kingdom in 2001 the last one to do so. Starting out so far from the gate allows horses to get in a nice position right from the beginning. They'll have a little further to travel, but that total is outweighed by having the luxury of positioning.
Orb can get on the outside going into the first turn without much trouble. Then Joel Rosario can start to plot his plan of attack. He can keep up with the pace and plot a late push in order to win the race.
The horse is strong enough all by himself. He doesn't need a good post position in order to win. But it certainly doesn't hurt.