Kentucky Derby 2017 Post Positions: Draw Start Time, Horses Lineup and More

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMay 1, 2017

LOUISVILLE, KY - MAY 07: Horses in the Kentucky Derby head down the stretch into the first turn at Churchill Downs on May 7, 2016 in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

Before the horses head for the gate at Churchill Downs ahead of Saturday's 2017 Kentucky Derby, the post positions will need to be revealed.

According to the race's official site, the draw is set for Wednesday morning at 11 a.m. ET, and fans can watch a live stream through the Kentucky Derby's official Facebook and Twitter pages.

Here's a look at the 20 horses in position to compete Saturday:

2017 Kentucky Derby Lineup
1GirvinMike E. SmithJoe Sharp
2Classic EmpireJulien R. LeparouxMark E. Casse
3GormleyN/AJohn A. Shirreffs
4IrapMario GutierrezDoug F. O'Neill
5Irish War CryRajiv MaraghH. Graham Motion
6Thunder SnowChristophe SoumillonSaeed bin Suroor
7Always DreamingJohn R. VelazquezTodd A. Pletcher
8GunneveraJavier CastellanoAntonio Sano
9Practical JokeJoel RosarioChad C. Brown
10J Boys EchoRobby AlbaradoDale L. Romans
11State of HonorJose LezcanoMark E. Casse
12TapwritJose L. OrtizTodd A. Pletcher
13HenceN/ASteven M. Asmussen
14Fast and AccurateN/AMichael J. Maker
15McCrackenBrian Joseph Hernandez Jr.Ian R. Wilkes
16Battle of MidwayFlavien PratJerry Hollendorfer
17PatchN/ATodd A. Pletcher
18UntrappedN/ASteven M. Asmussen
19Lookin at LeeN/ASteven M. Asmussen
20SonneteerJ. Keith DesormeauxKent J. Desormeaux

A post position doesn't necessarily make or break a horse's odds of winning the Derby, but it can have a significant impact. 

Christina Moore of America's Best Racing noted last year only three horses since 1987 have won the Derby from post Nos. 1, 2 and 3, and the trend continued at the 2016 edition, with Nyquist winning from the 13th position.

On the positive end of the spectrum, a post between 15 and 20 has been extremely fruitful of late, boasting eight winners in the last 18 years.

Jockey Julien Leparoux and trainer Mark E. Casse will hope Derby favorite Classic Empire receives a stroke of good luck Wednesday. According to OddsShark, the colt has 4-1 odds of coming out on top at the Run for the Roses.

Classic Empire has already come out on top in two marquee events, winning the Breeders' Cup Juvenile in November and taking the Arkansas Derby on April 15.

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Winning the Arkansas Derby helped allay some of the concerns raised around Classic Empire after he came in third at the Holy Bull in February.

"He was an entirely different horse from when he ran bad down at Gulfstream," Casse said of the colt, per the Daily Racing Form's Mary Rampellini. "Julien said he walked right into the gate. He was good. And he said down the backside—at Gulfstream he was never into the race—that he was pulling him. He was wanting to do something. He was hoping he would find somewhere to go."

Casse's confidence in Classic Empire would be tested, though, should he get drawn in on the rail. In a 20-horse race, getting outside from one of the first three positions is extremely difficult, even for the most gifted of horses.

In 2015, Carpe Diem looked to be one of the strongest in the field, winning the Blue Grass Stakes and Tampa Bay Derby before heading for Churchill Downs. After getting drawn into the second post, he finished the Kentucky Derby in 10th.

Vicar's In Trouble had a similar result in 2014. While not the top favorite at the time, the horse made a name for himself in his Louisiana Derby victory. He wound up 19th at the 2014 Kentucky Derby after starting the race in the first post.

No horse can win the 2017 Kentucky Derby Wednesday, but a few may end up losing it.