The 140th Kentucky Derby post positions are set. Now that the jockeys and their horses have their spot on the track locked into place, the odds become even clearer. Some horses with great odds benefited from their post, while others took a tumble in the table hoping for some equine equality.
NBC Sports Network posted the morning line odds along with each horse's post positions for the annual Run for the Roses.
Brian Zipse of HorseracingNation.com was perplexed by the draw.
It was a weird draw ... Speed inside - Closers outside.— Brian Zipse (@Zipseatthetrack) April 30, 2014
Everything seems to be lining up perfectly for the most talked about horse in the race, California Chrome.
He still leads the pack when it comes to odds (5-2) and drew post position No. 5, which has produced 12 Derby winners in the past.
California Chrome's jockey, Victor Espinoza, won the Kentucky Derby atop War Emblem from that very same post in 2002. Art Sherman, California Chrome's trainer, was very pleased with the posting position for his horse. Via the Associated Press:
"I think it's a perfect spot," trainer Art Sherman said. "I think we break clean, he'll get out of a lot of trouble. He's got a little gas leaving there."
There was mixed reaction to Wicked Strong, at 8-1 odds, drawing the No. 20 post position on the far outside of the track.
Tim Layden of Sports Illustrated relays this quote from trainer Jimmy Jerkens.
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 David Grening of Daily Racing Form says Jerkens got some positive news from a former jockey of Wicked Strong.
Jimmy Jerkens said Edgar Prado, who rode Wicked Strong once, texted him "perfect" when he drew post 20— David Grening (@DRFGrening) April 30, 2014
Three-time Derby champion Calvin Borel will sit atop Ride on Curlin this time around, and that tandem drew the No. 19 post position. Borel's three victories have all come from posting positions within the first eight, with his most recent victory coming atop Super Saver at No. 4 in 2010. Borel's 15-1 odds atop Ride on Curlin aren't bad, and he could be good for exotic wagers.
One of the luckless horses on Wednesday was Commanding Curve. Already a long shot to win before the post positions were drawn, he is now saddled with 50-1 odds. Commanding Curve will be racing from the accursed No. 17 post, which has never produced a Derby winner.
Harry's Holiday is at the No. 2 spot and the only other horse with 50-1 odds. First-time Derby jockey Corey Lanerie will ride Harry's Holiday and just seems happy to be in the competition despite the odds against him and his horse. Via Steve Jones of The Courier-Journal:
Which horse will win the Kentucky Derby?
"I was just like, 'Finally. I finally get to ride in the Derby,'" he said. "... It's every jockey's dream. Since I was a little kid, I would watch the Derby and hope, 'One day, I hope to ride in the Kentucky Derby.' … Hard work and determination can get you there."
The posting position for California Chrome ensures the horse as a favorite. Chrome is a quick starter and should be able to hold pace if he gets out to an early lead.
Wicked Strong has great odds and the No. 20 post may not be too much for this horse to overcome, as he has shown the potential to finish strong in the past. However, the 10 grueling furlongs (1 1/4 miles) of the Derby may prove to be too much in the end.