Kentucky Derby Post Positions and Morning Line Favorites

Today’s Kentucky Derby post position draw saw early favorites Classic Empire and Always Dreaming draw middle and inside spots respectively, and betting lines now have Classic Empire, number 14, the slight favorite at 4-1 over number five Always Dreaming at 5-1. They’re followed by number 15 McCracken and at the unlucky number 17 slot, Irish War Cry. Through the first 142 runnings of the Kentucky Derby, no number 17 horse has ever found hie or her way into the winner’s circle. Trainers Todd Pletcher and Steve Asmussen each have three horses in the field, Pletcher with Always Dreaming plus Tapwrit and Patch

There were two changes to the field finalized before the draw, both involving Pletcher horses. Malagacy will bypass Saturday’s race, but will be training for a run in the

Preakness, according to trainer Pletcher, and also withdrawing was Pletcher’s Battalion Runner. That move was made in response to the horse’s poor workout last Friday, a :48-2/5 four-furlong disappointment.

The two spots were filed, as anticipated, by Lookin At Lee, one of the Asmussen trained horses (along with Untrapped and Hence) and by Sonneteer. Sonneteer, winless in ten starts, drew a solid 12 position, but Lookin At Lee, off his third place finish in the Arkansas Derby, drew the dreaded number one post position.

That leaves Royal Mo the horse on the bubble at number 21, waiting to see which horse, if any, drops out by Friday morning. Should two horses not be up to the task, Master Plan would be next in line.

No horse has won the Kentucky Derby from the number one post since Ferdinand in 1986, and no horse has even finished in the top three since 1988. Also of interest is the fact that while horses in the primary gate, with post position numbers one through 14, have won ten times, going ten-for-238 or 4.2% since 2000, success has been virtually double that for hoses running from the outside auxiliary gate, spots 15 through 20, winning seven times out of 84, which is 8.3%. Don’t tell trainer Mark Casse or his horse, number 14 and favorite Classic Empire, but that 14 spot has in 142 races seen only two winners, the last coming in 1961. My sentimental favorite, Santa Anita Derby winner Gormley, drew gate 18, which last saw a winner in 2015, as American Pharoah began his run to the Triple Crown. And guess what else the two horses have in common? In three days American Pharoah’s jockey Victor Espinoza will be up on Gormley for the 143rd Derby.

The Field for the 143rd Kentucky Derby

1 – Lookin At Lee 20-1
2 – Thunder Snow 20-1
3 – ​Fast and Accurate 50-1
4 – Untrapped 30-1
5 – Always Dreaming 5-1
6 – State Of Honor 30-1
7 – Girvin 15-1
8 – Hence 15-1
9 – Irap 20-1
10 – Gunnevera 15-1
11 – Battle of Midway 30-1
12 – Sonneteer 50-1
13 – J Boys Echo 20-1
14 – Classic Empire 4-1
15 – McCraken 5-1
16 – Tapwrit 20-1
17 – Irish War Cry 6-1
18 – Gormley 15-1
19 – Practical Joke 20-1
20 – Patch 30-1

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