All that's left to do is to run the race.
With the Kentucky's Derby's post positions set on Wednesday and the morning-line odds released, we now have a few days to analyze every last aspect of the horses, the track, the potential runs and strategies the jockeys will take and the ideal mint julep recipe.
In other words, Derby week has truly begun. Let's take a look at the draw and break down some of the intriguing aspects of this year's post positions.
|Kentucky Derby Field|
|1||Vicars 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's connections likely would have liked to see the horse draw a little more to the inside, but the race favorite still has a solid starting position (remember, Chrome started at the No. 5 post in the Santa Anita Derby).
The one concern for Chrome will be that both Samraat and Danza can really get out and run early, so the possibility of getting squeezed and trapped inside of the pack is a concern. But if California Chrome gets out to a strong start, it shouldn't really be an issue.
Pat Forde of Yahoo! Sports isn't terribly concerned for Chrome:
One of the horses to really benefit from the draw was Danza, who will come in at 10-1 odds after landing the No. 4 post. Danza has great early speed and will have the opportunity to clear the field from the inside. As Forde notes, there's some historical significance to the position as well:
Danza is going to be a popular pick with bettors, one would imagine, given a strong starting place and his victory at the Arkansas Derby.
The other horse in the California Chrome sandwich, Samraat, probably didn't get quite the draw that would have most benefited the horse. As Tim Layden of Sports Illustrated pointed out, however, his owner was looking on the bright side:
Hoppertunity comes into the race with the second-best odds (6-1) and has an excellent starting position on the No. 11 post. Intense Holiday is also going to become a very popular horse on the No. 16 post.
One horse that could see its odds become more favorable closer to the race, however, is Wicked Strong. Despite morning line odds of 8-1, the horse drew the No. 20 post, meaning he'll have a long run to settle into the main group in this race.
Wicked Strong has an excellent final kick, but he's not a deep closer. He needs to be able to remain four or five lengths off the leaders to really make his move late, so he's going to have to break off the start perhaps a little faster than jockey Rajiv Maragh would prefer.
Don't be surprised if his odds are more favorable by the morning of the race as folks steer clear.
While that's the general round-up of the current favorites, which dark horse is worth monitoring?
Candy Boy is intriguing. He'll start on the No. 18 post and is the sort of deep stalker that doesn't need to rush to join the pack closer to the rail. The fact that he won't get bogged down early in the pack but can rather run his race is appealing.
And so is the fact that Gary Stevens will be riding him, a three-time winner of the Kentucky Derby.
1. California Chrome
2. Intense Holiday