The 141st Kentucky Derby looms ever closer, and Wednesday will see the draw take place for the post positions for the first leg of the Triple Crown.
The field for 2015's race at Churchill Downs is impressive, with Bob Baffert-trained duo American Pharoah and Dortmund just two out of a string of impressive runners but arguably the highest-rated pair.
Post positions have historical importance at the Derby, with various starting gates producing many past winners and others enduring lengthy barren spells.
Wednesday's draw is a key event ahead of the running on Saturday. Read on for all the details.
Date: Wednesday, April 29
Time: 5:30 p.m. ET
TV Info: NBC Sports Network
Live Stream: NBC Sports Live Extra
American Pharoah Leads the Way
Arkansas Derby winner American Pharoah is being heavily tipped to triumph in 2015's Run for the Roses—and with good reason.
Last year's winning jockey on California Chrome, Victor Espinoza, could be on for back-to-back wins, with Pharoah expected to top the betting on the day.
However, the likes of Dortmund, Mubtaahij, Carpe Diem and International Star could all be in with a shout of victory as well.
Here are the latest odds for Saturday's race:
|Kentucky Derby 2015: Horses, Odds|
|Ocho Ocho Ocho||40-1|
American Pharoah has four straight victories since September and looks in great shape. He dominated the field at Oaklawn Park, winning by eight lengths.
The undefeated Dortmund is also looking impressive ahead of the Derby, and racing analyst Joe Kristufek tipped relative unknown Mubtaahij while talking to Bleacher Report's Adam Lefkoe:
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However, a bad draw on Wednesday could jeopardise even the most hotly tipped of horses given the history of the Derby.
As KentuckyDerby.com reports, since the introduction of a starting gate in 1930, post No. 5 and post No. 10 have produced the most Derby winners, with nine from each.
Indeed, No. 10 looks to be the best (or luckiest) gate, with horses coming out of that hole finishing in the money over 30 per cent of the time.
On the other hand, No. 17 is a disaster area for any horse with aspirations of triumphing at Churchill Downs, with said gate having never produced a Derby winner.
A bad gate can scupper a favourite's chances, while a decent draw can be exactly what is needed for a potential outsider.
Thus, the arbitrary draw becomes a key moment in the buildup to Saturday's running.
Wednesday could be make or break for the horses and jockeys—and trainers and owners. But with such a strong field, it is already challenging to pick a winner.
While American Pharoah heads the betting at the moment, there is no guarantee the colt will run a good race come Saturday. The anticipation is rightly intense, with the 141st Kentucky Derby set to be one of the best yet.