There's an old—and very true—axiom that suggests the more you learn, the less you know. Never does that notion seem more true then during the Kentucky Derby draw.
Sure, we finally get to see which horses will start where, speculate on whether the position benefits their racing style or hurts them and try to discern the type of run they'll get. Will the horses near them ruin their game plan? Will they get trapped on the rail? Buried in the pack?
It's all a guessing game, of course, but it just so happens to be one of the most enjoyable, tantalizing and addictive guessing games in sports. Here, we'll join the fray, as we take a look at the positions and odds and try to look into the crystal ball to determine how the draw will affect some of the race's most intriguing horses.
|1||Vicar's In Trouble||Kenneth L. and Sarah K. Ramsey||Mike Maker||Rosie Napravnik||20-1|
|2||Harry's Holiday||Skychai Racing LLC, Sand Dollar Stable, LLC, Terry Raymond & Jana Wagner||Mike Maker||Corey Lanerie||50-1|
|3||Uncle Sigh||Wounded Warrior Stables & Anthony C. Robertson||Gary Contessa||Irad Ortiz Jr.||30-1|
|4||Danza||Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners||Todd Pletcher||Joe Bravo||10-1|
|5||California Chrome||Steve and Carolyn Coburn & Perry and Denise Martin||Art Sherman||Victor Espinoza||5-2|
|6||Samraat||My Meadowview Farm||Rick Violette Jr.||Jose Ortiz||15-1|
|7||We Miss Artie||Kenneth L. and Sarah K. Ramsey||Todd Pletcher||Javier Castellano||50-1|
|8||General A Rod||Starlight Racing & Skychai Racing, LLC||Mike Maker||Joel Rosario||15-1|
|9||Vinceremos||WinStar Farm LLC and Twin Creeks Racing||Todd Pletcher||Joe Rococo Jr.||30-1|
|10||Wildcat Red||Honors Stable Corp.||Jose Garoffalo||Luis Saez||15-1|
|11||Hoppertunity||Karl Watson, Mike Pegram & Paul Weitman||Bob Baffert||Mike Smith||6-1|
|12||Dance With Fate||S. Alesia, Bran Jam Stable & Ciaglia Racing, LLC||Peter Eurton||Corey Nakatani||20-1|
|13||Chitu||Tanma Corporation||Bob Baffert||Martin Garcia||20-1|
|14||Medal Count||Spendthrift Farm||Dale Romans||Robby Albarado||20-1|
|15||Tapiture||Winchell Thoroughbreds||Steve Asmussen||Ricardo Santana Jr.||15-1|
|16||Intense Holiday||Starlight Racing||Todd Pletcher||John Velazquez||12-1|
|17||Commanding Curve||West Point Thoroughbreds||Dallas Stewart||Shaun Bridgmohan||50-1|
|18||Candy Boy||C R K Stable LLC||John Sadler||Gary Stevens||20-1|
|19||Ride On Curlin||Daniel J. Dougherty||William G. Gowan||Calvin Borel||15-1|
|20||Wicked Strong||Centennial Farms||James A. Jerkens||Rajiv Maragh||8-1|
Morning Line Odds are cited
California Chrome is obviously the horse to beat, having won four straight races, including dominant performances at the Grade 2 San Felipe and the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby. In total, he's won six of his 10 races, and he hasn't lost since last November.
The fear will be that he might get squeezed between strong starters Danza and Samraat. But California Chrome is no start off the slouch himself, and he simply needs to break quickly to avoid trouble. If he lags a bit off the start, however, one of the strongest horses in recent years and everyone's Triple Crown hopeful might be in for a disappointing run.
And as Ray Paulick of the Paulick Report notes, the No. 5 post has been the source of several recent champions:
Silver Charm, War Emblem, Funny Cide recent #KyDerby winners from Post No. 5, drawn by favorite California Chrome— Ray Paulick (@raypaulick) April 30, 2014
Adds Tim Layden of Sports Illustrated:
California chrome draws the 5. Not great, not disastrous. Gonna have to go a little.— Tim Layden (@SITimLayden) April 30, 2014
Remember, California Chrome won the Santa Anita Derby from the No. 5 post. Unless he's sluggish to start, he'll be fine. Those 5-2 odds, on the other hand, are going to discourage some folks from siding with him come race day.
In terms of horses whose post position should match up with their racing style, Danza, Hoppertunity, Intense Holiday and Candy Boy all received very solid draws. Candy Boy in particular looks very promising at 20-1 odds, as the horse will be able to avoid the early crowd coming in from the outside and has the closing speed to really capitalize on the No. 18 post.
The horses inside of him, however, won't be so pleased with where they started. Knowing Calvin Borel, he could somehow have Ride On Curlin close to the rail surprisingly quickly, but the horse feels like more of a long shot than its 15-1 odds would suggest after his post position was announced.
While Wicked Strong was one of the top contenders coming into the race and probably still is, starting at the No. 20 post is far from ideal, though there seem to be opposing viewpoints on that matter.
Wicked Strong's trainer isn't overly optimistic about the draw, per Layden:
Wicked Strong trainer Jimmy Jerkens on drawing the 20 post: "I'm trying to convince myself that it's not a bad post position."— Tim Layden (@SITimLayden) April 30, 2014
But then there's this, from David Grening of the Daily Racing Form:
Jimmy Jerkens said Edgar Prado, who rode Wicked Strong once, texted him "perfect" when he drew post 20— David Grening (@DRFGrening) April 30, 2014
Good luck figuring out who is more correct.
There are several horses at 20-1 who are intriguing plays, including those on the Nos. 12-14 posts: Dance With Fate, Chitu and Medal Count. Chitu in particular is really intriguing, as he's one of the few speed demons on the outside posts and could end up getting a really sweet trip out of the gate.
As always, the Derby draw brought with it a lot of intrigue. Let the speculating begin!