Mucciolo: Kentucky Derby 147 post position draw analysis
The field is set for the 147th running of the $3 million Kentucky Derby (G1) at Churchill Downs on Saturday. And is the case every year, there are multiple talking points centered on where the contenders have been drawn in the 20-horse field. Here are my three major takeaways from Tuesday’s post position draw.
Essential Quality draws perfectly
Unbeaten champion #14 Essential Quality (2-1) couldn’t have asked for a much better slot for conditioner Brad Cox. The champion son of Tapit is a good gate horse with excellent versatility, and he should be able to navigate a sensible trip under Luis Saez. The trio of horses drawn directly inside of the colt are late-running types, which leads me to believe that he will be well placed in the second or third to the top of the stretch.
Known Agenda got the dreaded rail
I had the rapidly improving #1 Known Agenda (6-1) as my top selection for the Derby….until he was assigned the innermost post slot. The Todd Pletcher trainee did travel inside while covered up before tipping outside in the stretch in his fine Florida Derby (G1) score, but it’s a different task with 19 sophomores drawn to his outside. One thing in his favor, however, is the presence of Irad Ortiz Jr. If any pilot can overcome duress and traffic in a race, Irad is at the top of the list in my opinion.
And on a smaller note, #20 Bourbonic (30-1) drawing widest of all seriously hinders his chance to pull off another whopping upset. The best scenario for the one-run closer would be to save ground every step of the way, but that seems impossible now. I think that Pletcher would love it if the two colts could swap starting positions.
Medina Spirit aims to give jockey/trainer combo a repeat of 2020
Bob Baffert and John Velazquez teamed up to post a wire-to-wire tally with Authentic in 2020, and they will have a chance to do the same with #8 Medina Spirit (15-1) this time around. The hard-trying Protonico colt was assigned a post inside of the other pace in the race, and I have to imagine that he will be asked to take the early advantage in the Kentucky Derby. Florida-bred is as consistent as they come, and if he is left alone up top, then he has a chance to give his conditioner a record seventh trophy in the Run for the Roses.