Kentucky Derby: Horsing Around With Post-Position History
By Richard Rosenblatt
Post positions matter.
Or do they?
When it comes to the Kentucky Derby (G1), there’s plenty of history to give bettors an idea of what works and what doesn’t.
What cannot be taken into account, though, is how a large field of 3-year-olds – 18 are entered for Saturday’s 146th Derby – will respond when the starting gates opens and there’s an all-out dash to the first turn.
With that, odds-on favorite Tiz the Law may be the best horse in the field but he’s up against Derby history – starters leaving from the No. 17 post are 0-for-41, the only one of 20 gates that has not produced a Derby winner since a starting gate was first used in 1930.
When informed of this, Tiz the Law’s octogenarian trainer Barclay Tagg said this: “I just put those kind of things out of my mind. There are a lot of horses who didn’t win the Derby so frankly I’m not that worried about it.”
Related: Tiz the Law Could Be The Hero We Need Now
Tuesday’s post-position draw for Saturday’s Derby was quite different, with the top three contenders drawing posts -16-17-18 – Honor A.P. (5-1, 16); Tiz the Law (3-5, 17); and Authentic (8-1, 18).
For the first time, the Derby will have a 20-stall starting gate rather than the 14-stall gate and a six-stall auxiliary gate. Whether it makes a difference remains to be seen.
Now, for some history:
Since 1930, the No. 5 post has produced the most winners (10), and the No. 10 post is next with nine winners. Major Fed, at 50-1, drew the No. 5 post; Thousand Words, at 15-1, drew the No. 10 post.
Related: Kentucky Derby Draw: Tiz the Law 3-5 Favorite in 18-Horse Field; Starts from Unlucky No. 17 Post
Honor A.P., the second choice at 5-1, drew the No. 16 post (four winners since 1930); Authentic drew the No. 18 post (two winners since 1930).
There’s a little nugget to keep in mind: Country House gets credit for winning the 2019 Derby from the No. 18 post (he was elevated to first place when Maximum Security was DQ’d for interference; ‘Max’ left from the No. 7 post.
Here’s the rundown, courtesy of the Kentucky Derby Media Guide:
Over the years while working at The Associated Press, Rich Rosenblatt became a familiar name to legions of the horse racing fans and industry insiders with his award-winning articles on horse racing and his stories from the backstretch.
In addition to being an astute observer of sports, Rosenblatt is the co-author of The All-American Chili Cookbook. His work has been seen in just about every publication in the world, including The New York Times, The Washington Post and Time Magazine.