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Homeracing

Kentucky Derby Post Positions Cause Major Top 20 Shifts

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TwinSpires Staff

April 30th, 2015

by Laura Pugh

All during the Road to the Kentucky Derby, my number one has been Carpe Diem. After last night’s post-position draw, that is no longer the case.

We would be kidding ourselves if we said post position didn’t matter in a field of 20 horses. Of course it does, it is why there are many fans and handicappers alike that refuse to weigh in on the Derby discussions before the field is drawn.

As can be seen, my outlook has changed quite a bit based on the post positions, most notably with Carpe Diem. During my top twenty series he has topped every single one of my charts, now he falls to fifth. Why you may ask? Because in a twenty horse clusterbumble –yes, not a word, but it certainly fits the run to the first turn- the horses need to gunned out of the gate, as to avoid the crush of 15 others to their outside. That means that Carpe Diem will have to be used from the very start, or get stuck in traffic. Can he still win? Sure, that is why he’s fifth choice at 8-1, by me….but being in the 2 stall makes it much more difficult.

As of now, my top two are Dortmund and American Pharoah, both being set at 3-1. Yes, they are the same, but the reason they are not “tied” is because American Pharoah will have to deal with a very wide trip, while negotiating 10 furlongs for the first time. It’s not horrible, especially when considering that he will likely have a very clean trip, avoiding all the ruckus that will occur inside of him, but it still is far from a walk in the park. Plus, Dortmund, who drew stall 8, the second leading producer of Kentucky Derby winners.

As can be seen, of the terrific trio, Dortmund drew the very best. He’s in one of the top three winningest stalls and is positioned towards the middle of the field, meaning he won’t have to stand long in the gates, before they open. However, don’t let this fool you into thinking this will be an easy breezy win. It will be anything but.

The first three post positions are occupied by Ocho Ocho Ocho, Carpe Diem, and Materiality. All three are exceptionally fast, with Ocho Ocho Ocho, being confirmed as a need the lead type. That means you will see him gun away from the gate, if he’s lucky enough to get a clean break, with the other two hot on his heels. Dortmund will have to chase them, but will have to look out for Stanford, Firing Line, and American Pharoah. All are to his outside, and will be wanting to move over as soon as possible, to save ground. With this scenario, a clean break is still imperative, if Dortmund is to be successful, as is a patient and tactical ride by jockey Martin Garcia.

With such a hotly contested pace it leaves the door wide open for a mid-pack runner or closer to sneak up and grab a piece of the pie. So don’t be surprise to see Frosted, International Star or El Kabier closing late. Remember Calvin Borel is the king of Churchill Downs, and he just so happens to be riding El Kabier, making that one a very dangerous horse to underestimate.

Like I said in the beginning, post position matters. In this case, the case of the 2015 Kentucky Derby, it could very well be what cost the favorites the win, while awarding the roses to a longshot that no one saw coming. 

Rank

Horse

Odds

1

Dortmund

3-1

2

American Pharoah

3-1

3

Frosted

6-1

4

Firing Line

8-1

5

Carpe Diem

10-1

6

Mubtaahij

12-1

7

El Kabier

14-1

8

International Star

15-1

9

Danzig Moon

15-1

10

Materiality

17-1

11

Itsaknockout

20-1

12

Stanford

21-1

13

Bolo

23-1

14

Tencendur

25-1

15

Far Right

27-1

16

Upstart

30-1

17

Keen Ice

32-1

18

Mr. Z

35-1

19

War Story

40-1

20

Ocho Ocho Ocho

45-1

 

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