The 2018 Kentucky Derby has a post time of 6:50 p.m. Eastern, and there are a total of 14 races taking place today at Churchill Downs. NBC begins their coverage at 2:30 p.m. Eastern. A total of 21 horses are slated to compete in the Kentucky Derby in one of the more competitive fields in recent memory.
The Kentucky Derby post draw is met with a lot of interest as everyone has their own belief on what post gives a horse the best chance to win. According to the Washington Post, no horse has ever won the Kentucky Derby from the No. 17 post.
America’s Best Racing notes most teams prefer to be between posts No. 5-15. Post No. 5 has had the most winners with 10, including last year’s winner Always Dreaming. The 10 spot is next in line with nine victories. The one hole is tied for the second most winners, but has not had a horse win since Ferdinand in 1986. Most teams prefer to not be on the outside or inside posts. Posts No. 18, 19 and 20 all have just one win each.
Justify is this year’s favorite, and is in post No. 7 where history shows mixed results.
“Since the inception of the starting gate at the Derby, 5 favorites have broke from post 7. Two have won – Street Sense in 2007 and Triple Crown winner Gallant Fox in 1930,” ESPN’s Chris Fallica tweeted.
The Washington Post notes the No. 14 post has the longest drought outside of No. 17. Carry Back was the last horse to win from No. 14 in 1961. Mendelssohn, who is one of the favorites, will look to buck the recent trend.
How did Justify end up as the favorite? The horse has consistently put up speed figures better than anyone else in the field. Justify also has the benefit of the horse whisperer known as trainer Bob Baffert on his side, along with experienced jockey Mike Smith. Baffert has four Kentucky Derby victories, with his most recent win coming in 2015 thanks to American Pharoah.
Justify may be the favorite, but he would have to break Apollo’s Curse to win at Churchill Downs. No horse has won the Kentucky Derby without racing as a two-year-old since Apollo did so in 1882. Justify may be the favorite, but even Baffert admits the horse will need a little luck to win the Run for the Roses.
“He’s always been a superior animal,” Baffert told the USA Today. “When they’re that big and beautiful and then they can run and the way he’s bred, all the ingredients are there. Now we just need some racing luck.”
Here’s a look at this years field of horses and jockeys courtesy of the Kentucky Derby. The field is listed by post positions which corresponds with the number each horse is wearing during the race.
Kentucky Derby Horses, Jockeys & Post Positions
|1.||Firenze Fire||Paco Lopez|
|2.||Free Drop Billy||Robby Albarado|
|3.||Promises Fulfilled||Corey Lanerie|
|6.||Good Magic||Jose Ortiz|
|7.||Justify||Mike E. Smith|
|8.||Lone Sailor||James Graham|
|9.||Hofburg||Irad Ortiz, Jr.|
|10.||My Boy Jack||Kent J. Desormeaux|
|11.||Bolt d’Oro||Victor Espinoza|
|15.||Instilled Regard||Drayden Van Dyke|
|16.||Magnum Moon||Luis Saez|
|18.||Vino Rosso||John Velazquez|
|19.||Noble Indy||Florent Geroux|
|20.||Combatant||Ricardo Santana, Jr.|
|21.||Blended Citizen||Kyle Frey|
Source: Heavy Sports