There is no exact science to properly predict the outcome of the Kentucky Derby, although through the years, it has become more obvious that post position mostly rules all.
Now that the draw is in the books—it wasn't an NFL draft by any means, but it was entertaining to see owners freak out over the results—we can take a better gander at how each horse will fare given the circumstances.
Here's a mock final standings of the epic two minutes, followed by some further analysis of some of the fine print.
2014 Kentucky Derby Picks
|1||California Chrome||Victor Espinoza|
|4||Vicar's In Trouble||Rosie Napravnik|
|5||Uncle Sigh||Irad Ortiz Jr.|
|6||Wicked Strong||Rajiv Maragh|
|8||We Miss Artie||Javier Castellano|
|9||General A Rod||Joel Rosario|
|10||Intense Holiday||John Velazquez|
|11||Wildcat Red||Luis Saez|
|12||Dance With Fate||Corey Nakatani|
|14||Medal Count||Robby Albarado|
|15||Tapiture||Ricardo Santana Jr.|
|16||Commanding Curve||Shaun Bridgmohan|
|17||Candy Boy||Gary Stevens|
|18||Vinceremos||Joe Rococo Jr.|
|19||Ride On Curlin||Calvin Borel|
|20||Harry's Holiday||Corey Lanerie|
Note: Pablo Del Monte replaces Hoppertunity if possible.
Danza Shocks Again
Danza knows a thing or two about shocking the world of horse racing when just about everyone has counted him out.
Take the Arkansas Derby recently for example. The odds were way against Danza going into that showdown, and as Childs Walker of The Baltimore Sun details, things turned out great, which has his owner more than pleased for the event at Churchill Downs:
Danza, one of Todd Pletcher's four entries, is the fourth choice at 10-1. That represents a massive upgrade from the Arkansas Derby, where Danza shocked the racing world by beating a stacked field as a 41-1 underdog.
Pletcher was satisfied with the No. 4 post drawn by Danza. "It was good," he said. "He drew an inside spot at the Arkansas Derby, and I was happy enough with this. … He has some experience from inside, so I don't think it's a big disadvantage."
Danza apparently lives for the underdog role and sits pretty at the No. 4 slot. A strong finish while scaring the eventual winner is a sure thing at this point.
General a Rod Performs Better Than Expected
General a Rod didn't get a lot of love in the odds department before drawing the No. 8 post position, and really, he still isn't getting enough love.
Let's take a historical stance first. His jockey won it all last year atop Orb. That No. 8 spot? It was only back in 2009 it produced its most recent winner, Mine That Bird.
Not only did the duo manage a third-place finish at the Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park in March, Mike Welsch of Daily Racing Form details just one of the numerous successful recent practices for the duo at Churchill Downs:
General a Rod breezes easy 1/2 mile over a track upgraded to "fast" in :49.50 with blinkers on and Joel Rosario up, out in 1:04.16— Mike Welsch (@DRFWelsch) April 29, 2014
It's a mixture of history and momentum for General a Rod that is hard to ignore come Saturday.
Vicar’s in Trouble Overcomes the Post
It's all gloom and doom surrounding Vicar’s in Trouble after the draw decided the horse would race out of the dreaded No. 1 spot.
Just ask Matt Hegarty of DRF and Pat Forde of Yahoo Sports:
Yes, indeed, Vicar's In Trouble. #KyDery— Marcus Hersh (@DRFHersh) April 30, 2014
NBCSports draw show, before commercial cut, replays R. Napravnik reacting to 1-hole for her mount, Vicar's In Trouble. Not exactly enthused.— Matt Hegarty (@DRFHegarty) April 30, 2014
Vicar's In Trouble draws the No. 1 post. Curtains.— Pat Forde (@YahooForde) April 30, 2014
The No. 1 spot is tough and hasn't featured a winner since 1986 but does tout eight overall. Vicar’s in Trouble is the type of horse that can overcome that history if he is quick off the line and keeps a similar burst throughout the race.
Good news—Vicar’s in Trouble can do just that. A smaller horse in stature, he was close behind California Chrome in the standings for good reason, as his outstanding burst kept him in most competitions and allowed him to take home first place at the Louisiana Derby.
That burst will allow Vicar’s in Trouble to beat out the pack and get much closer than most would have imagined to stealing the entire race.