LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- The post position draw for Kentucky Derby 141 was held this afternoon in the Aristides Room at Churchill Downs determining the gates for the 20 starters for the Run for the Roses. The race will be televised nationally on NBC (Ch. 2) on Saturday afternoon during a three-hour telecast starting at 4 p.m. Post time for the Derby is 6:34 p.m.
- Morning line favorite American Pharoah (5-2) drew the No. 18 position late in the draw, trainer Bob Baffert breathing a huge sigh of relief with both less desirable posts 1 and 2 still available when his post was drawn. Owner Ahmed Zayat was almost exuberant after the draw. “I love it. Anything but between one and three. The outside, the more, the merrier,” said Zayat.
- Trainer D. Wayne Lukas, seeking his fifth Derby title, drew the No. 17 post for Z, another Zayat entrant. The Coach was thrilled with the outside post. “Just being out there, not being in the gate very long, being able to just pop in there and leave. That’s a good spot, great spot,” said Lukas.
- Super-trainer Todd Pletcher's four horses drew as follows: Carpe Diem (No. 2), Materiality (No. 3), Stanford (No. 11) and Itsaknockout (No. 13). He was none too pleased for the inside draws of his top two horses. Carpe Diem, the 8-1 third choice, will have his work cut out for him from the two-hole. “Sometimes you get a good post and a bad trip, or vice versa. It’ll all work out,” said Pletcher. “My confidence has not changed whatsoever,” said Pletcher. They’re both forwardly placed horses looking to be in the first or second tier, I don’t any of that has changed,” said Pletcher.
- Dortmund drew the 8 hole for Baffert and was made the second choice on the morning line at 3-1. Baffert also had to sweat out his draw which came in the final four pills drawn. “He’s a horse that gets going. He’s quick. He’ll be right there in the mix,” said Baffert.
- Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin was pleased with his draw of No. 15 for Frosted (15-1), the first post in the outside auxiliary gate that houses horses 15 through 20. “We’re very happy we’re the first one in the auxiliary gate so we have a little room at the break. There is plenty of speed outside of us and inside of us. The one hole is just the one that you feared, you know. Other than that, we are fine and like the post,” said McLaughlin.
- One post that has never produced a Derby champion is 17, and post 14 hasn't had a winner since 1961. The post that has been in the money the most since 1970 is No. 10, which has hit the board 34 percent of the time. Firing Line drew post 10 this year and will have Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens in the irons for trainer Simon Callaghan. “I’m very happy with the draw. I believe we’re last to load, which is an advantage. And with the No. 10, you’ve got options,” said Callaghan.
- One of three New York-breds in the field, Tencendur (30-1), drew No. 4 for trainer George Weaver. I would have preferred to be farther outside. The horses around us have some gas and it’ll be up to Manny to negotiate a good spot before that first turn comes up and after that, the race is on,” said Weaver. His horse had a good work over the track over the weekend and Weaver is knows that anything can happen in the Derby. “We feel like we are entering the race in as good as shape as can be. It’s up to the jockey and some racing luck and just being good enough,” said Weaver.
- There were two also-eligible entries that will only draw into the race upon a scratch before 9 a.m. Friday morning, when live wagering for the Oaks-Derby double and advance Kentucky Derby wagering opens up. Both Frammento and Tale of Verve are on the outside looking in at this point.
Here's a look at the posts, morning line odds as set by Mike Battaglia for the field:
|Post Position||Horse||Morning Line||Trainer||Jockey|
|1||Ocho Ocho Ocho||50-1||Cassidy||Trujillo|
|2||Carpe Diem||8-1||Pletcher||JR Velazquez|
|7||El Kabeir||30-1||Terranova II||Borel|
|18||American Pharoah||5-2||Baffert||V Espinoza|
|19||Upstart||15-1||Violette Jr.||Ortiz J|
|20||Far Right||30-1||Moquett||ME Smith|
|22 AE||Tale of Verve||50-1||Stewart||Hernandez|
If you missed it last Friday, be sure to check out my Degrees of Separation blog. In addition, last Saturday’s Party Crashers column can be found here and our Derby spreadsheet with facts, figures and the latest information has been updated through today's draw.
Gene Kershner, a Buffalo-based turf writer, is a member of the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters Association and tweets @EquiSpace.