The Kentucky Derby post selections are set to be drawn on Wednesday in advance of the biggest event in horse racing. Below, we'll break down the schedule details for the Derby, along with a preview of the major storylines heading into the race.
Where: Churchill Downs, Louisville
When: Saturday, May 6
Post Time: 6:34 p.m. ET
TV: NBC (Coverage will run from 2:30 p.m. until 7:20 p.m.)
Stream: NBC Sports Live Extra
With the Derby almost upon us, all eyes will turn to the post draw on Wednesday, with every trainer and jockey hoping for a prime position. The draw is always an influential aspect of the Derby.
For example, just one horse (Ferdinand in 1986) has won from the No. 1 post since 1964, according to the Derby's official website. The No. 2 post hasn't seen a winner since 1978, while the No. 20 post has had just one winner in history (Big Brown in 2008). Post 17 has never seen a winner.
Contrast that to the No. 13 post, which has had five winners since 1990, including Nyquist last year. Generally, trainers and jockeys are gunning for something in the Post 5-10 range, which doesn't come with the risk of getting pinned to the rail inside but also can offer the opportunity for a clean break ahead of the pack further outside.
A talented horse will overcome a less than ideal post position. At this year's Derby, however, a clear favorite has yet to emerge.
Hence is among the sleepers worth paying attention to after an impressive win at the Sunland Derby, even if his trainer, Steve Asmussen, would prefer his horse remained under the radar.
"I'm always leery of that," Asmussen said of his horse's increasing profile, per Jason Frakes of the Courier-Journal. "There are so many bad-luck people out there that we don't want any mooches on us. We don't know if we can carry that kind of thing."
That doesn't mean Asmussen isn't pleased with his horse's form heading into the race.
"I thought he worked really well last week (five furlongs in 1:00.40), and for him to—in my eyes—add to that from a strength and comfort level, it looked like he owned the place," he said on April 24, per Frakes. "I feel very good about where he's at today."
He won't be the only horse to inspire confidence. Always Dreaming is coming off a Florida Derby win. Classic Empire boasts an Arkansas Derby triumph. Girvin conquered the Louisiana Derby. Gunnevera's third-place finish at the Florida Derby wouldn't appear to be great, but considering the horse's rough outside post to start the race, it was a strong showing.
His style as a deep closer is also suited to the Derby, leaving him likely to be among the betting favorites in what appears to be a wide-open field.