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Kentucky Derby 2015: Latest Vegas Odds, Predictions Before Post-Position Draw

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistApril 29, 2015

Apr 28, 2015; Louisville, KY, USA;  Exercise rider Dylan Davis works out Kentucky Derby hopeful War Story at Churchill Downs. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports
Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

If a member of one of the deepest fields in recent memory is to break free of the pack at the 2015 Kentucky Derby and begin a Triple Crown pursuit, it will need a generous offering from the post-position draw Wednesday.

A year removed from California Chrome's epic attempt at a Triple Crown, high-profile trainers Bob Baffert and Todd Pletcher trot noteworthy favorites to Wednesday's event in the hopes of a favorable result. 

Like unpredictable weather, the post position proves a critical factor in any horse's success. The right draw equates to contending status; the wrong all but ruins everything.

Below, let's take a look at how to catch the post-position draw and preview the surrounding factors.

2015 Kentucky Derby Post-Draw Schedule

Date: 
Wednesday, April 29

Time (ET): 5:30-6 p.m.

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TV: NBC Sports Network

Live Stream: NBC Sports Live Extra

2015 Kentucky Derby Lineup and Odds 

HorseOddsTrainer
American Pharoah9-4Bob Baffert
Dortmund9-2Bob Baffert
Carpe Diem7-1Todd Pletcher
Materiality12-1Todd Pletcher
Mubtaahij12-1Mike de Kock
Frosted16-1Kiaran McLaughlin
Firing Line18-1Simon Callaghan
Upstart20-1Rick Violette Jr.
International Star20-1Mike Maker
El Kabeir33-1John Terranova II
Far Right33-1Ron Moquett
Itsaknockout33-1Todd Pletcher
Bolo40-1Carla Gaines
Danzig Moon40-1Mark Casse
Keen Ice50-1Dale Romans
Mr. Z40-1D. Wayne Lukas
Ocho Ocho Ocho40-1Jim Cassidy
War Story50-1Tom Amoss
Stanford66-1Todd Pletcher
Tencendur66-1George Weaver
FrammentoN/ANick Zito
Bold ConquestN/ASteve Asmussen
MetabossN/AJeff Bonde
FirespikeN/AMike Maker
Toasting MasterN/ADale Romans
Source: Odds Shark

All Kentucky Derby odds courtesy of Odds Shark. 

Draw Preview and Predictions

PlaceHorse
WinAmerican Pharoah
PlaceDortmund
ShowCarpe Diem
Author's predictions.

The post draw makes or breaks a lot, even for the best of horses. 

This would explain why Baffert wishes a deep field would help alter the rules a tad to decrease the randomness of the event. The Courier-Journal's Jonathan Lintner captures his thoughts on the matter, via USA Today: "With 20 horses, I wish we just had it back to where you pick your own. The one hole, I don't even talk about it because you know how it can be. To me, I think the post is going to be very important—and the break."

Baffert has every right to feel dissatisfied with the situation. His two contenders, American Pharoah and Dortmund, are quick out of the gates and lean on the fast start to break away—a poor position in which they get swarmed in a pack puts a serious damper on their chances.

Not helping matters is the fact this year's race is as deep as it has been in years, a thought shared by trainer D. Wayne Lukas, per Kentucky Derby on Twitter:

Kentucky Derby @KentuckyDerby

"This is as good a field we've ever had." -D. Wayne Lukas #KyDerby http://t.co/NKNllNIpD0

Despite the depth, all involved want to avoid No. 1 for its obvious disadvantage, and it couldn't hurt to steer clear of No. 17, either, even though it might be fun to make history as the first to win from the post.

Richard Rosenblatt of The Associated Press offers the history surrounding the post:

richard rosenblatt @rosenblattap

Derby Facts&Figures: With fields of 20 or less, only post position that has yet to produce @KentuckyDerby winner is No. 17 (0 for 36).

This year, it might be best for the top horses in the field to land an outside post so they don't run the risk of getting pinned on the inside, eliminating the chance of a late push down the stretch.

Still, it's hard not to feel both of Baffert's horses will perform well no matter the post position. As Yahoo Sports' Pat Forde notes, the legendary trainer offers the best one-two punch of perhaps any since 1948:

Even in a career crammed with glory – three Kentucky Derby victories, five Preakness triumphs, one Belmont and 10 Breeders' Cup wins – the 62-year-old Californian has never brought a hand this powerful to Churchill Downs. It's debatable whether anyone has. Longtime Derby oddsmaker Mike Battaglia said the American Pharoah-Dortmund combo may be the best any trainer has had since Ben A. Jones had Citation and Coaltown run 1-2 here … in 1948.

It's a staggering thought but also one impossible to ignore.

Dortmund is a winner in six races, even overcoming early stumbles to outgun the competition. It helps that the three-year-old colt features a sire by the name of Big Brown. To cap it all off, in Dortmund's three wins this year, he ran from the first, third and fifth post positions, per KentuckyDerby.com.

LOUISVILLE, KY - APRIL 29:  A horse is washed in the barn area during the morning training for the kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on April 29, 2015 in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Those who have seen American Pharoah understand the horse blows away the field no matter the post, weather, track condition or more.

Perhaps more interesting is the fate of Pletcher's Carpe Diem, a winner of two straight and jockeyed by John Velazquez, winner of the 2011 Kentucky Derby.

Despite past showings, this year's Kentucky Derby is bigger than most races this season, meaning the contenders will be in unfamiliar territory. Post position is quite the big deal and will change the outlook in a big way, but for now, the top three seem quite obvious.

Stats and information via KentuckyDerby.com unless otherwise specified.

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