The world will be watching on Saturday, as Churchill Downs plays host to yet another edition of the Kentucky Derby.
The 10-furlong race, dubbed frequently as "the most exciting two minutes in sport," attracts horse racing fanatics and casual fans from across the globe. And, as has been the case in many recent races, there appears to be a wide-open field.
With that in mind, the post-position draw can be important in determining the eventual winner of the race. Here's a look at the field ahead of posts being confirmed and all the information you need on where to catch a key part of the buildup to the Run for the Roses.
Draw Date: Tuesday, May 1
Time: 11 a.m. (ET)/4 p.m. (BST)
Jockeys and Trainers to Learn Post Fate
So much can happen during the course of a Kentucky Derby that any of the 20 horses involved could end up with a decent chance of victory. But there will be jockeys and trainers desperate to avoid certain slots on the start line.
The most feared draw is post No. 1. The last time any horse won from this position was in 1986, as Ferdinand managed to battle his way through from the inside and take victory. Lookin At Lee did well to come home in second spot from the rail 12 months ago.
Typically, being close to the inside can be problematic for the competing horses—the last winner from spot No. 2 was Affirmed in 1978—as they have to deal with the pressure of many others darting to their left and getting into a strong position into the first corner.
As a result, so much good form and preparation can be undone by the draw, and it's why many punters will hold off placing their bets until Tuesday's lots are picked.
Justify has been among the favourites in the betting as the race edges closer, having impressed to win the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby in April. He finished three lengths clear of the well-fancied Bolt d'Oro:
Speaking after that victory, jockey Mike Smith believes Justify has scary potential and tipped him for big things in 2018.
"What you're seeing right now is really just raw talent," he said, per Jason Frakes of the Louisville Courier Journal. "He's got so much room to grow and to even get better. If he moves forward off this race, which he should, then it’s even kind of scary to talk about."
The showing from the favourite at Santa Anita even attracted praise from middleweight boxing king Gennady Golovkin:
Jostling with Justify for the spot at the top of the market has been Mendelssohn, a horse that's attracted a lot of backing since his incredible win in the UAE Derby with the experienced Ryan Moore on board.
As we can see, courtesy of At The Races, Mendelssohn stormed to an 18-and-a-half-length win that day, and trainer Aidan O'Brien believes he's peaking at the right time:
O'Brien is yet to have a winner in five attempts in Kentucky, but Mendelssohn is arguably his best hope yet. Given the win in Meydan was his first race on a dirt track, there's scope for him to produce something special under the twin spires.
Still, the race has the potential to go a number of different ways, and should the draw go badly for Mendelssohn, Justify or one of the other favourites for victory, their odds will drift on Tuesday.