Just days remain before the horses trot out onto the legendary Churchill Downs track, and now the posts for the field are officially set.
The announcement was made on Wednesday evening during the Kentucky Derby Draw, and several of the favorites are scattered all over the field at the start.
Here's a look at the full list of post positions for the 2014 Kentucky Derby:
|1||Vicar's In Trouble||30-1|
|7||We Miss Artie||50-1|
|8||General A Rod||15-1|
|12||Dance With Fate||20-1|
|19||Ride On Curlin||15-1|
Bettors may want to look at the history for the starting positions for each horse, as each one has a historical significance in the Triple Crown event. While the posts tend to change the odds for the race somewhat, many of the strongest geldings remained at the top of the crop.
In preparation for the race on Saturday, here is a breakdown of the field along with what to look for during the first leg of the Triple Crown.
Kentucky Derby Race Information
When: Saturday, May 3, 2014
Post Time: 6:24 p.m. ET
Live Stream: NBC Sports LiveExtra
Breakdown for Post Positions
After a memorable race last season in gloomy conditions, Orb pulled off the slight upset over Revolutionary from the 16th post.
Will another horse repeat that success from one of the outside posts? History says yes, as every winner since 2011 has won from the 16th post or lower.
The 16th post has been lucky in two of the last three runnings, as both Orb and Animal Kingdom, the 2011 winner, took the title. In 2012, I'll Have Another won the Run for the Roses out of the 19th post, the first time that has ever been accomplished.
Below is a look at the event winners since 1930, per the Kentucky Derby's official website:
|Post||No. of Winners||Most Recent|
|3||5||1998, Real Quiet|
|4||5||2010, Super Saver|
|5||8||2003, Funny Cide|
|6||2||1993, Sea Hero|
|7||6||2007, Street Sense|
|8||8||2009, Mine That Bird|
|9||4||1972, Riva Ridge|
|11||2||1998, Winning Colors|
|12||3||1971, Canonero II|
|13||3||2004, Smarty Jones|
|14||2||1961, Carry Back|
|15||3||2000, Fusaichi Pegasus|
|18||1||1982, Gato Del Sol|
|19||1||2012, I'll Have Another|
|20||1||2008, Big Brown|
While history shows that eight winners have come from the No. 1 post position, which ranks tied for second-best, the post has become a death sentence in recent years. Vicar's In Trouble will attempt to become the first to win from the post since 1986, as Jeff Duncan of The Times-Picayune notes:
Louisiana-bred Vicar's In Trouble draws the dreaded No. 1 post for the Kentucky Derby. Rosie Napravnik will have to send.— Jeff Duncan (@JeffDuncan_) April 30, 2014
Rosie Napravnik is also attempting to become the first female jockey to win the illustrious horse race. She will have a tough hill to climb out of from post No. 1, but has a chance to make two marks in history.
On the other extreme, Wicked Strong comes in as a favorite, but will have tough sledding out of the No. 20 post. But Tim Layden of Sports Illustrated believes the Boston gelding has a good chance to become the second winner from the post:
Wicked Strong draws the 20. No problem. He closes and Big Brown won from out there.— Tim Layden (@SITimLayden) April 30, 2014
As for odds-on favorite California Chrome, the colt's start from the fifth post means he will be near the middle of the pack in hopes of bursting through the field. Seventy-seven-year-old owner Art Sherman has never won the event, but has the strongest horse in the running.
Sherman spoke about his horse's success and the experience of returning to Churchill Downs, per Ed McNamara of Newsday:
It's been a great experience. A young horse comes to you and you have no idea he'll become the horse he is right now. I've never gotten so much publicity in my life. ... I haven't been on a horse in at least 10 years. But I told (jockey) Victor (Espinoza) that if he keeps winning by that far, I might take my license back out.
With the field finally set and just three days standing between the start of the race, the anticipation will continue to mount as a myriad horses look to take the roses in the legendary race.
Will California Chrome come out on top? Can Vicar's In Trouble make history? All of those questions and more will be answered on Saturday evening as the horses finally take to the track at Churchill Downs.
Follow R. Cory Smith on Twitter.