Since theKentucky Derby changed to 20 entries, the winningest post position has been number 5 with 10 winners. The number 17 has yet to produce a Derby winner, and in fact the outside three posts have only combined for four winners.
When discussing the Derby, there is always talk about the importance of drawing a good post position. Although the term “good” could be attributed to particular racing styles and is entirely subjective, the one thing we can all agree on is the desire to avoid the book end post positions.
Drawing the 1 hole is very tricky and can often result in runners being shuffled back early, or boxed in on the rail with no racing room when it comes time to make their bids. The outside post could turn out to be especially detrimental for runners lacking early speed, as the first turn comes up very quickly and you may be forced into racing a very wide trip.
Here are three runners who seem to be affected by this year’s post position draw.
#2 Tax (20/1 morning line)
Affirmed was the last horse to win out of this tricky post position, but it may not be that bad of a draw for Tax who certainly hopes to be involved in the pace scenario early. He has flaunted some nice early speed, so drawing inside might actually prove to be an advantage. He has never been farther back than third in any race at any point thus far, and with a good jump out of the gate, that trend may continue when it matters most in the Run for the Roses.
#5 Improbable (6/1 morning line)
Luckily for this colt, he draws the winningest post position in Derby history. This is the ideal post position for a runner that has put forth their best efforts in stalking trips. With a lot of speed entered inside, he can take advantage of the prime post to settle in nicely just off the speed. As a runner who has been bet down to the post time favorite in four of his five career starts thus far, look for him to garner a lot of attention at the betting windows for good reason.
#17 Roadster (6/1 morning line)
Last year we saw the “Curse of Apollo” broken by Justify winning the Triple Crown having not raced as a two-year-old. He was the first horse to do so dating back to 1882. With a trend like that bucked in 2018, who is to say another longstanding superstition cannot be broken and the 17 hole will finally produce a Derby winner?
Taking the specific number 17 out of the conversation, this runner did not benefit from an outside draw, and might be the victim of a very wide trip early on due to his lack of early speed. Drawing an outside post along with losing the services of Mike Smith to another Derby hopeful certainly does not do him any favors, and unfortunately at a short price there there is no value to take a shot.