Pletcher duo draw tough posts for 2015 Kentucky Derby

Profile Picture: Vance Hanson

April 29th, 2015

Wednesday’s post- position draw for the 141st Kentucky Derby could not have been a happy few minutes for trainer Todd Pletcher. America’s leading money-winning conditioner for the past several years, he has just one Kentucky Derby win to his credit, and witnessed his two best colts for Saturday’s renewal draw dreaded inside posts.

Carpe Diem, the Blue Grass winner who many considered the third choice in the wagering, will break from post 2, while undefeated Florida Derby winner Materiality, who did not race as a two-year-old, will be next door in post 3.

Materiality might have the early speed to overcome the liabilities generally associated with his stall position, but Carpe Diem’s post is really bad luck. A horse who likes to race within reasonable striking range, Carpe Diem could easily get shuffled back passing the stands as well as face all sorts of traffic. The only time he was farther back than fourth at the first call was in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, which he lost by more than six lengths in a second-place finish to Texas Red.

Likely favorite American Pharoah drew post 18 – not overly ideal, but nothing to get worked up about either. Winners from the auxiliary starting gate have become more common over the years, and it’s hard to imagine the post proving to be a major hindrance.

Stablemate Dortmund, the likely second choice in the wagering, drew beautifully in post 8. Jockey Martin Garcia will certainly have the option, provided he breaks well, of either letting the massive colt show his natural early speed or sit right off the early pace.

Of the horses stranded in the outside posts, the one who was the most unlucky was Upstart. Unfortunate to draw outside in four starts dating back to the Breeders’ Cup, the New York-bred drew post 19 for the Derby. He’ll have to motor to avoid a wide trip around the first turn. On the plus side, he should find a surface glibber than what he encountered in his two latest preps at Gulfstream Park.

Ocho Ocho Ocho might need to be renamed Uno Uno Uno after drawing the unpopular post position 1, while the deep-closing Far Right should not have problems running his race from post 20.

(Materiality photo: Adam Coglianese Photography)