Kentucky Derby 2018 Contenders: Favorites, Lineup Odds After Post Positions Draw

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistMay 1, 2018

LOUISVILLE, KY - MAY 01: Justify, trained by Bob Baffert, gets a bath after exercising in preparation for the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 1, 2018 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Scott Serio/Eclipse Sportswire/Getty Images)
Eclipse Sportswire/Getty Images

Justify is the 3-1 morning-line favorite to win the 2018 Kentucky Derby on Saturday, having drawn Gate 7 for the 144th Run for the Roses on Tuesday.

The colt's nearest competitor is Mendelssohn, who will start from Gate 14 at 5-1, while 6-1 Magnum Moon has drawn Gate 16.

Audible and Bolt d'Oro are both 8-1, and they will start from Gates 5 and 11, respectively.

Here are the post positions and the odds for the lineup in light of the draw, courtesy of sports journalist Eric Crawford:

Eric Crawford @ericcrawford

Justify, Mendelssohn, Magnum Moon and Audible are the four favorites for the #KyDerby, and all drew decent posts. Full post positions and odds . . . https://t.co/9C4tEzl2C5


Justify Remains the Favorite

Post positions can often have a profound effect on the result of the Derby, and plenty of top contenders have seen their hopes evaporate during the draw in the past.

That has not been the case this year, though, as Churchill Downs' track announcer Travis Stone noted:

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Travis Stone @TravisStone

Speed draws inside. Closers mostly outside. No major contenders ruined by their post. A lot of power in posts 5, 6 and 7 (Audible, Good Magic and Justify). Promises Fulfilled to the lead... game on!

Justify will run from Gate 7, which has produced six winners and 17 in-the-money finishes in the past.

Per sports journalist Rick Bozich, trainer Bob Baffert appeared happy with the draw:

rickbozich @rickbozich

Bob Baffert late for #KentuckyDerby144 draw. Asked what spot Justify got. @Katie_George05 told him 7 post. Baffert smiled.

Baffert's other entry into the race, Solomini, has the unenviable task of racing from Gate 17, which is the only post not to produce a winner in the race's history.

Mendelssohn's Gate 14 has only produced two winners, the most recent of which was in 1963, though since the turn of the millennium there have been nine victories from horses starting from the 13th position or higher.

That perhaps also bodes well for Magnum Moon in Gate 16, from which four horses have won including Animal Kingdom in 2011.

Bolt d'Oro and Audible will be pleased with their draws, too. Sports journalist Bryce Miller commented on the former:

Bryce Miller @Bryce_A_Miller

For Bolt d’Oro, No. 11 post more like No. 10. My Boy Jack not a speed horse. https://t.co/aUrnCEdfnr

Battle of Midway came third from Gate 11 last year, but if Bold d'Oro is able to get the jump on My Boy Jack he would effectively start from 10, which is among the most successful posts with nine wins and 24 in-the-money finishes.

As for Audible, Always Dreaming became the record 10th winner from Gate 5 last year. Audible shares a trainer with Always Dreaming in Todd Pletcher, and has won his last four races following a third-placed finish on his debut.

With each of the top contenders receiving fairly favorable posts, it's set to be an electric showdown on Saturday.

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