Two days. That's all that remains until the 2014 Kentucky Derby gets underway.
On Saturday evening, 20 horses will gallop out at Churchill Downs with hopes of claiming the first leg of the Triple Crown and the Run for the Roses.
Bettors may want to look at the history of 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 look at the full post positions along with a breakdown of the field.
|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|
Kentucky Derby Race Information
When: Saturday, May 3, 2014
Post Time: 6:24 p.m. ET
Live Stream: NBC Sports Live Extra
Triple Crown Breakdown
Much like qualifying positions in NASCAR and IndyCar races, the posts given to each horse can have a huge bearing on where the gelding places in the running.
As for the dreaded No. 1 post, Vicar's In Trouble and jockey Rosie Napravnik got the unfortunate draw out of the lowest block. Despite the fact that no horse has won from the first post since 1986, trainer Mike Maker still has confidence in his horse, per Darren Rogers of KentuckyDerby.com:
I know we didn't have much choice, but I don't have to walk too far to saddle the horses, and maybe our riders will be friendly and give each other enough space. Hopefully, we get a good break out of Vicar like we usually do, and we get a good position pretty early.
As for Napravnik, the female jockey looking to become the first ever to win the Derby was none too pleased with the draw, as TVG points out:
On the other extreme, Wicked Strong comes in as a favorite but will have tough sledding out of the No. 20 post. Just one horse has taken the Run for the Roses out of the 20th spot, which was Big Brown back in 2008.
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
While Wicked Strong took a dip in the morning line, California Chrome remained steady in the odds at the very top of the list. Jockey Victor Espinoza, who is riding California Chrome, navigated War Emblem to the 2002 Kentucky Derby from post No. 5—the same starting position he'll assume Saturday night.
The Kentucky Derby's Twitter account announced the odds for California Chrome when they became official:
Just to the right of Art Sherman's prize horse will be Samraat, another notable horse in the running. Samraat came into the Wood Memorial undefeated but dropped its first ever race to Wicked Strong.
Samraat trainer Rick Violette spoke about the position and his confidence in the gelding, via Rogers:
I think it is a terrific spot. I think you just have to try to break clean and go straight and size things up past the wire for the first time. The speed is inside of us and we have tactical speed. I don't think there's a downside to it.
The field has finally rounded into shape and every horse, trainer and jockey knows exactly where he or she stands heading into the monumental race.
Whether you fancy the favorite in California Chrome, the underdogs in Wicked Strong and Samraat or even the most unlikely of candidates in Vicar's In Trouble, this running will be an intriguing one right from the start.
Follow R. Cory Smith on Twitter.