Kentucky Derby 2017 Post Positions: Latest Odds, Historical Stats for Each Slot

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMay 5, 2017

LOUISVILLE, KY - MAY 02: Always Dreaming, owned by Brooklyn Boyz Stables and trained by Todd Pletcher, exercises in preparation for the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 02, 2017 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Alex Evers/Eclipse Sportswire/Getty Images)
Eclipse Sportswire/Getty Images

The 2017 Kentucky Derby field is one of the most competitive in recent memory. The lack of a dominant favoritea rare occurrence over the past handful of yearsand a high number of horses with a realistic chance Saturday should make for a memorable Run for the Roses.

Classic Empire is the morning-line top choice following Wednesday's draw of starting positions, but the title of favorite could change hands before post time. Always Dreaming, McCraken and Irish War Cry are all contenders to break from the gate as the favorite in the 143rd running of the storied race.

Let's check out the entire group of horses for the first leg of the 2017 Triple Crown. That's followed by a look at how each post position has fared over the years and a breakdown of two Derby hopefuls who were most directly impacted by their placement for Saturday's showcase.

2017 Kentucky Derby Field

2017 Kentucky Derby: Horses, Jockeys, Trainers and Odds
PostHorseJockeyTrainerML OddsVegas Odds
1Lookin At LeeCorey LanerieSteve Asmussen20-1+2800
2Thunder SnowChristophe SoumillonSaeed bin Suroor20-1+1600
3Fast and AccurateChanning HillMike Maker50-1+6600
4UntrappedRicardo Santana Jr.Steve Asmussen30-1+5000
5Always DreamingJohn VelazquezTodd Pletcher5-1+400
6State of HonorJose LezcanoMark Casse30-1+4000
7GirvinMike SmithJoe Sharp15-1+1600
8HenceFlorent GerouxSteve Asmussen15-1+2200
9IrapMario GutierrezDoug O’Neill20-1+2500
10GunneveraJavier CastellanoAntonio Sano15-1+1200
11Battle of MidwayFlavien PratJerry Hollendorfer30-1+2800
12SonneteerKent J. DesormeauxJ. Keith Desormeaux50-1+3300
13J Boys EchoLuis SaezDale Romans20-1+3300
14Classic EmpireJulien LeparouxMark Casse4-1+425
15McCrakenBrian Hernandez Jr.Ian Wilkes5-1+650
16TapwritJose OrtizTodd Pletcher20-1+2500
17Irish War CryRajiv MaraghGraham Motion6-1+650
18GormleyVictor EspinozaJohn Shirreffs15-1+1600
19Practical JokeJoel RosarioChad Brown20-1+1600
20PatchTyler GaffalioneTodd Pletcher30-1+3300
AERoyal MoGary StevensJohn Shirreffs20-1n/a
AEMaster PlanN/ATodd Pletcher50-1n/a
ML Odds via; Vegas Odds via OddsShark

Historical Wins By Post Position

Kentucky Derby Wins By Starting Position Since 1900
Post# of Victories
Source: OddsShark

Post Draw Takeaways

Biggest Winner: Always Dreaming

Always Dreaming is an example of a horse peaking at the right time. He debuted last summer and, while he displayed some serious potential, he failed to win his first two races. He's looked far more prepared for the Triple Crown schedule so far in 2017.

After breaking his maiden at Gulfstream Park in March, the Todd Pletcher trainee won the Grade 1 Florida Derby last month against a field that included Kentucky Derby foes State Of Honor and Gunnevera. That performance secured his place among the top choices at Churchill Downs.

Drawing the No. 5 post further bolstered his chances. Not only is that the most successful starting spot dating back to 1900 with 13 victories, but the horses starting on each side of him are long shots. So jockey John Velazquez should have no trouble setting the pace he wants for his talented colt.

There were concerns earlier in the week about Always Dreaming perhaps being a little too aggressive during his workouts ahead of the race. Alicia Wincze Hughes of The Blood-Horse noted Pletcher downplayed those issues after witnessing progress Tuesday.

"The horse is moving fantastic. We want to be able to control that energy and I think we've made big strides in doing that overnight," he said. "I would much rather be in this position than to come in with a horse not feeling good or hanging his head."

All told, the race sets up perfectly for Always Dreaming. Velazquez will be able to keep close tabs on the other top contenders, who are all grouped closely on the outside, and can work down toward the rail quickly to cut down the amount of distance his horse needs to travel to get the win.

Biggest Loser: Patch

Patch will be the sentimental favorite Saturday evening. He was forced to get his left eye removed last year after treatment on an ulcer under it didn't fix the problem. That didn't stop him from winning his second career start in February at Gulfstream Park.

He proceeded to finish second to Girvin in the Louisiana Derby last month to qualify for the Kentucky Derby. Like Always Dreaming, he's trained by Pletcher, who told Jared Peck of the Lexington Herald-Leader the lack of experience is more of a concern than his lack of vision.

"It's a huge challenge for any horse to come in with only three races," Pletcher said. "Ideally, we'd love to have another start or two, but he also showed in only his third start and his first time around two turns that he was a strong-closing second in the Louisiana Derby.

"He's by a Belmont winner. He's out of an A.P. Indy mare. We think the (mile-and-a-quarter Derby) distance is ideal for him. If anything, the (mile-and-a-half) Belmont would be even a better distance for him."

Those comments are worth keeping in mind moving forward in the Triple Crown schedule. Assuming Patch doesn't win the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, there's a good chance he'll skip the Preakness Stakes and could return for the Belmont Stakes as a well-rested threat.

In the short term, drawing the No. 20 post is terrible luck. Not only does the position rarely produce a winner, but the last horse to win from there was Big Brown in 2008. He was a colt with a unique blend of size and power that gave him the physical tools necessary to overcome the poor draw.

Patch isn't on the same level as Big Brown. He could have been a nice sleeper choice if he was placed somewhere in the middle of the field. But it's going to take a Herculean effort to win from the extreme outside, and that's a tough ask from a horse with so little experience.


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