In the world of hose racing, post positions can flat-out determine which contenders will cross the finish line first.
The best thoroughbreds are capable of winning the biggest races from any slot in the gate, but more often than not, it depends on the makeup of the horse and jockey. Some thrive being closer to the rail, while some are more comfortable making up the ground on the outside.
Even at the 2013 Preakness Stakes, where there a mere nine horses in the field—which significantly shrinks the impact of the post draw—the positions of each horse will be important.
Let's take a look at the official draw and how the favorites fared.
Where: Pimlico Race Course, Baltimore, Md.
When: Saturday, May 18, at 6:20 p.m. ET
Post Time: 6:20 p.m. ET
Purse: $1 million
Television: NBC Sports Network
Post Positions and Odds
Note: Odds courtesy of KY Derby Contenders on Twitter
|1||Orb||Joel Rosario ||Shug McGaughey ||1-1|
|2||Goldencents ||Kevin Krigger ||Doug O’Neill ||8-1|
|3||Titletown Five||Julien Leparoux||D. Wayne Lukas||30-1|
|4||Departing||Brian Hernandez Jr||Albert M. Stall, Jr||6-1|
|5||Mylute||Rosie Napravnik||Tom Amoss||5-1|
|6||Oxbow||Gary Stevens||D. Wayne Lukas||15-1|
|7||Will Take Charge||Mike Smith||D. Wayne Lukas||12-1|
|8||Govenor Charlie||Martin Garcia||Bob Baffert||12-1|
|9||Itsmyluckyday||John Velazquez||Eddie Plesa Jr. ||10-1|
Orb (Post No. 1)
Well, that just happened.
The Kentucky Derby winner will still enter Pimlico as the heavy favorite to win the Second Jewel of the Triple Crown, but this certainly makes things interesting.
While the small field makes this slightly more bearable, being on the rail is an unenviable spot. Recent history backs up that belief (via Daily Racing Form's David Grening):
David Grening @DRFGrening
Tabasco Cat (1994) only Preakness winner from the rail since 1961. #orb5/15/2013, 10:12:08 PM
Moreover, this doesn't exactly fit Orb's style, who came from the outside to win both the Kentucky and Florida Derby (via Trakus Racing):
Orb on the rail, eh? This is a horse that does his best running covering extra ground. Interesting.5/15/2013, 10:11:08 PM
Nevertheless, despite the undesirable inside position, rest assured that Orb is still the clear favorite. He is an extremely talented horse who has continued to look strong after winning his fifth race in a row at Churchill.
This is only a minor speed bump in the road toward a Triple Crown.
Mylute (Post No. 5)
Rosie Napravnik and Mylute have been gaining quite a bit of momentum ever since their fifth-place finish at the Kentucky Derby, and now they are all the way up to the second favorite.
Post No. 5 shouldn't do anything to reverse that.
At the Kentucky Derby, Mylute got bottlenecked at the beginning but ran an Orb-like race and returned toward the front with a blazing finish.
Even though she's in the middle, a small field will allow Napravnik to avoid that kind of start. After that, she'll be able to run the race she wants.
Departing (Post No. 4)
Departing didn't participate in the Kentucky Derby, but as a winner of four of his five career races, he has been garnering lots of attention.
Here's a look at his most recent win at the Grade-3 Illinois Derby, which is slightly shorter than the Preakness:
Much like the first two horses on this list, he clearly is capable of covering a good amount of ground. In this particular race, he started from post No. 14 (out of 15), took a patient approach and made a late break for the win.
At the Louisiana Derby, where he finished third, he started right in the middle at No. 7 (out of 14).
Departing would have rather been placed a little farther outside, but No. 4 shouldn't be a deal-breaker if you were already on the bandwagon.