Rapid reaction to 148th Kentucky Derby post draw

By Jeremy Plonk  () 


A total of 22 runners entered the 148th Run for the Roses at the post-position draw held this afternoon at Churchill Downs with a capacity field of 20 starters. Race favorites, Louisiana Derby winner Epicenter and Blue Grass victor Zandon, will begin from posts 3 and 10, respectively.

The impact of the post-position draw has been slightly lessened with the advent of the 20-horse starting gate in 2019. The new gate creates more breathing room from the inside and outside rails among the crowded lineup. Still, no Derby winner won from the rail since Ferdinand in 1986 and from post 2 since Real Quiet in 1998. Posts 17-20 account for only 4 victories (one of those via disqualification) since a starting gate was first used in 1930.

Expected pacemakers in this year’s Derby are Tampa Bay Derby winner Classic Causeway (post 17) and United Arab Emirates Derby runner-up Summer is Tomorrow (post 4). Both are inside-and-outside at near extremes, and the pace could ratchet up a notch as they hustle for position.

Californians Taiba and Messier drew posts 12 and 6 and should be forwardly placed in the early hunt. Japan’s representative, Crown Pride, begins from post 7. He had a gate training incident where he took a left-hand turn and dumped his rider, so perhaps caution be to Messier.

Trainers Brad Cox (Cyberknife-16, Zozos-19, Tawny Port-18) and Todd Pletcher (Mo Donegal-1, Charge It-8 and Pioneer of Medina-11) make up 30% of the field with a half-dozen entrants. Cox won last year’s Derby when Mandaloun was promoted to victory following the medication disqualification of Medina Spirit. Pletcher is a two-time Kentucky Derby-winning trainer (2010 Super Saver, 2017 Always Dreaming). Mo Donegal will have to overcome a rail that hasn’t won on the first Saturday in May in 36 years.

Post time for the Kentucky Derby will be 6:57 p.m. ET as Race 12 of 14 on a card that begins at 10:30 a.m. ET. Advance wagering on the Kentucky Derby begins Friday at 1/ST BET and Xpressbet.

Kentucky Derby 148 Field and Morning Line Odds from Mike Battaglia

1. Mo Donegal // Irad Ortiz Jr. // Todd Pletcher // 10-1

2. Happy Jack // Rafael Bejarano // Doug O’Neill // 30-1

3. Epicenter // Joel Rosario // Steve Asmussen // 7-2

4. Summer Is Tomorrow // Mickael Barzalona // Bhupat Seemar // 30-1

5. Smile Happy // Corey Lanerie // Kenny McPeek // 20-1

6. Messier // John Velazquez // Tim Yakteen // 8-1

7. Crown Pride // Christophe Lemiere // Koichi Shintani // 20-1

8. Charge It // Luis Saez // Todd Pletcher // 20-1

9. Tiz the Bomb // Brian Hernandez Jr. // Kenny McPeek // 30-1

10. Zandon // Flavien Prat // Chad Brown // 3-1

11. Pioneer of Medina // Joe Bravo // Todd Pletcher // 30-1

12. Taiba // Mike Smith // Tim Yakteen // 12-1

13. Simplification // Jose Ortiz // Antonio Sano // 20-1

14. Barber Road // Reylu Gutierrez // John Ortiz // 30-1

15. White Abarrio // Tyler Gaffalione // Saffie Joseph Jr. // 10-1

16. Cyberknife // Florent Geroux // Brad Cox // 20-1

17. Classic Causeway // Julien Leparoux // Brian Lynch // 30-1

18. Tawny Port // Ricardo Santana Jr. // Brad Cox // 30-1

19. Zozos // Manny Franco // Brad Cox // 20-1

20. Ethereal Road // Luis Contreras // D. Wayne Lukas // 30-1

21. Rich Strike // Sonny Leon // Eric Reed // 30-1

22. Rattle N Roll // James Graham // Kenny McPeek // 30-1


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