Kentucky Derby 2015: Post Positions, Latest Vegas Odds and Picks After Post Draw

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistApril 29, 2015

LOUISVILLE, KY - APRIL 29:  American Pharoah goes over the track during morning training for the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on April 29, 2015 in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

The Kentucky Derby post position draw is a war of attrition.

It is more about avoiding a loss or devastating blow than actually gaining much momentum with a favorable post. Sure, there are spots in the middle that are statistically better than outside positions, but trainers and jockeys are really just concerned with avoiding the rails than anything else.       

That dreaded No. 1 post went to Ocho Ocho Ocho, who was already one of the long shots before Lady Luck dealt a bad hand. The last horse to win from the No. 1 post was Ferdinand, and that happened all the way back in 1986. Given recent history, backing Ocho Ocho Ocho probably isn’t the big-money play for bettors.

Here is a look at the post positions and odds for every horse in the race following the draw:

2015 Kentucky Derby Post Positions
PostHorseJockeyTrainerMorning-Line Odds
1Ocho Ocho OchoElvis TrujilloJim Cassidy50-1
2Carpe DiemJohn VelazquezTodd Pletcher8-1
3MaterialityJavier CastellanoTodd Pletcher12-1
4TencendurManny FrancoGeorge Weaver30-1
5Danzig MoonJulien LeparouxMark Casse30-1
6MubtaahijChristophe SoumillonMike de Kock20-1
7El KabeirCalvin BorelJohn Terranova II30-1
8DortmundMartin GarciaBob Baffert3-1
9BoloRafael BejaranoCarla Gaines30-1
10Firing LineGary StevensSimon Callaghan12-1
11StanfordFlorent GerouxTodd Pletcher30-1
12International StarMiguel MenaMike Maker20-1
13ItsaknockoutLuis SaezTodd Pletcher30-1
14Keen IceKent DesormeauxDale Romans50-1
15FrostedJoel RosarioKiaran McLaughlin15-1
16War StoryJoe TalamoTom Amoss50-1
17Mr. ZRamon VazquezD. Wayne Lukas50-1
18American PharoahVictor EspinozaBob Baffert5-2
19UpstartJose OrtizRick Violette Jr.15-1
20Far RightMike SmithRon Moquett30-1
NBC Sports

One person who was likely thrilled his horses avoided the dreaded No. 1 post was trainer Bob Baffert.

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He brings American Pharoah and Dortmund to Churchill Downs, which are the two horses with the best odds heading into the Derby. Baffert has three Kentucky Derby victories on his illustrious resume, and it is not difficult to envision a fourth this year with these dominant horses.

Baffert understands how important it was to avoid that No. 1 post because of recent experience. He had the pre-race favorite in 2010 in the form of Lookin At Lucky, but the horse drew the inside rail and finished in sixth place. Naturally, Lookin At Lucky went on to win the Preakness two weeks later with a more favorable starting spot.

Baffert avoided that fate Wednesday and isn’t going to complain about Dortmund’s No. 8 post.

LOUISVILLE, KY - APRIL 29:  Dortmund gets a bath following morning training for the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on April 29, 2015 in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

The muscular horse will start from an ideal position near the middle, which will allow him to navigate his way to either the outside or inside, depending on how the race unfolds. The undefeated Dortmund doesn’t have to fear falling behind on the outside or getting pinned against the rails from the start with the No. 8 position.

As for the favored American Pharoah, he drew the No. 18 post. That may not seem like the best draw at first glance, but plenty in the horse’s camp were thrilled, per Toni Konz of WDRB News and Scott Utterback of The Courier-Journal:

Toni Konz Tatman @tkonz

#AmericanPharoah owner @jazz3162 says he "loves" drawing the 18, "I don't like it, I love it!" #KYderby @ZayatStables http://t.co/2yeJLP5VvP

Scott Utterback @Utterback13

Ahmed Zayat and Bob Baffert seem pretty pleased with the 18th spot for American Pharoah. #kyderby2015 http://t.co/3OJwDObKv3

American Pharoah has won his last four races by more than 22 lengths and is known for quick bursts out of the gate to establish tempo. By the time of the stretch run, most of his races are already well in hand. From the outside at No. 18, there will be less traffic to navigate in the early going on the way to building that lead.

Baffert discussed his mindset leading up to Saturday with such dominant horses, per Pat Forde of Yahoo Sports: "Right now, we just have to contain ourselves, the excitement [of] coming in here with two good horses. It's going to be a long week. Hopefully, it will go quickly."

Outside of the two most notable horses, Mr. Z drew the cursed No. 17 post. While he is a long shot regardless, it is worth pointing out that no horse has ever won the Kentucky Derby from that starting position.

Eight horses have won from the feared No. 1 spot.

Historically, the best positions are the No. 5 and No. 10 posts. Both starting spots have produced nine winners each, which is the most in the history of the Derby. Danzig drew the No. 5 post, and Firing Line drew the No. 10 post.

Interestingly, neither was mentioned among the top-notch favorites leading up to Wednesday’s post position draw, but the results immediately bolstered their chances. The No. 5 post is far enough from the rails to avoid any serious issues early but close enough to the inside to cut off some challengers, while the No. 10 spot avoids the troubles that come with the outside and inside simply by being in the middle of the pack.

LOUISVILLE, KY - APRIL 29:  Dortmund goes over the track during morning training for the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on April 29, 2015 in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

While the starting positions are certainly notable, the fact that American Pharoah and Dortmund avoided the less-than-ideal posts is what really mattered Wednesday. Their dominance will be on full display during the Derby, especially since the outside factor of starting position is no longer as much of a concern.

Prediction: American Pharoah wins with Dortmund holding off the rest of the field for second place. Carpe Diem will make a late push despite starting on the inside from the No. 2 post to claim third place.

Information regarding the records of various post positions is courtesy of KentuckyDerby.com.

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