Thursday, April 30, 2009

THE KY DERBY BY THE NUMBERS: SMALL ONES, BIG ONES, UNLUCKY ONES

There is always a fair amount of hullabaloo about the post position draw for the Kentucky Derby. Conventional wisdom says you want to avoid the first two far inside post positions as well as the “auxiliary” gate which holds horses 13 through 20.

As one may have come to expect in our ever-changing-at-break-neck-speeds world, conventional wisdom isn’t always all it cracked up to be and this case it’s not much different.
For example, last year Big Brown won the race convincingly from the 2oth post position – as far outside as one can get.

While trainers tend to choose the middle of the racetrack if they are lucky enough to draw early, Funny Cide and War Emblem have recently won from as far inside as the 5-hole.

Conventional-middle-of-the-first-gate wisdom has recently produced Giacomo (10), the ill-fated Barbaro (8) and Street Sense (7).

Those that are superstitious and backing I Want Revenge may have winced when the colt drew the 13th post position, but they should take comfort in the fact that thirteen (13) is still considered in the middle, and Smarty Jones won from that very spot just five Derbies ago.

From 1999 through 2001, Derby winners did their best to debunk the “far outside” worry when Fusaichi Pegasus won from the 15 post position in 2000, and both Charismatic and Monarchos won from the 16-hole in 1990 and 2001 respectively.

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