Kentucky Derby 2021 Post Positions: Complete Listing for Every Horse

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistApril 27, 2021

FILE - Jockey Luis Saez rides Essential Quality to win the Breeders' Cup Juvenile horse race at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Ky., in this Friday, Nov. 6, 2020, file photo. Essential Quality is expected to be the first gray horse favored to win the Kentucky Derby in 25 years. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy, File)
Michael Conroy/Associated Press

Essential Quality, the early favorite for the 2021 Kentucky Derby, drew the No. 14 post position for the first leg of the Triple Crown during Tuesday's draw.  

The Kentucky Derby has returned to its usual date on the first Saturday in May after being delayed until September last year because of the coronavirus pandemic. Fans are also set for a return to Churchill Downs, though at a reduced capacity, for the 147th Run for the Roses.

Here's a look at the complete field following the draw:

1. Known Agenda (Irad Ortiz Jr., Todd Pletcher)

2. Like the King (Drayden Van Dyke, Wesley Ward)

3. Brooklyn Strong (Umberto Rispoli, Daniel Velazquez)

4. Keepmeinmind (David Cohen, Robertino Diodoro)

5. Sainthood (Corey Lanerie, Todd Pletcher)

6. O Besos (Marcelino Pedroza, Greg Foley)

7. Mandaloun (Florent Geroux, Brad Cox)

8. Medina Spirit (John Velazquez, Bob Baffert)

9. Hot Rod Charlie (Flavien Prat, Doug O'Neill)

10. Midnight Bourbon (Mike Smith, Steve Asmussen)

11. Dynamic One (Jose Ortiz, Todd Pletcher)

12. Helium (Julien Leparoux, Mark Casse)

13. Hidden Stash (Rafael Bejarano, Victoria Oliver)

14. Essential Quality (Luis Saez, Brad Cox)

15. Rock Your World (Joel Rosario, John Sadler)

16. King Fury (Brian Hernandez Jr., Kenny McPeek)

17. Highly Motivated (Javier Castellano, Chad Brown)

18. Super Stock (Ricardo Santana Jr., Steve Asmussen)

19. Soup and Sandwich (Tyler Gaffalione, Mark Casse)

20. Bourbonic (Kendrick Carmouche, Todd Pletcher)


The post draw is an overlooked but important part of Derby week. Every trainer goes into the event with two main objectives: avoid the rail and avoid the extreme outside.

Although there have been 15 Kentucky Derby winners from the Nos. 1-2 posts (via The Athletic), none of those have occurred since 1986 as the field has grown and made life difficult on the inside starters as the entire field breaks from the gate with the intention of getting to the rail for a shorter trip.

As for the outside, only four winners have come from the Nos. 17-20 posts, including none from the No. 17 spot—the only gate without a champion in the race's storied history.

The only winners to emerge from No. 19 (I'll Have Another in 2012) and No. 20 (Big Brown in 2008) were high-end horses who also went on to win the Preakness Stakes.

While Churchill Downs introduced a new 20-horse gate last year—it was previously a 16-horse gate with a separate attachment for the last four horses—it's too soon to tell whether it'll have a significant impact in terms of reducing the disadvantage.

Last year's winner, Authentic, came from the No. 15 gate. He drew No. 18 but three horses were scratched before race day. When that happens, the outside horses move in one spot each time.

The most successful post position in Derby history is No. 5, which has produced 10 winners, most recently Always Dreaming in 2017.