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HRN Original Blog:
The Kentucky Derby Post

Top Kentucky Derby Gate Positions


There’s nothing like the Kentucky Derby position draw. Because it has become a 20 horse field it is one of the most unique factors that can make you think twice about a horse you would otherwise be ready to bet. So what are the stats? Without further ado your: Kentucky Derby Gate Position Chart  


*Gate positions since stats were used in 1930


 *Due to the Hoppertunity scratch (Gate Position 11) and Pablo Del Monte not entering, all horses 1-10 will be bumped out one spot and gate position 1 will remain open. 


Now for some thoughts that jump out at me, and how it compares to this year’s field. First, don't let the post positions sway you too far. Winners come from everywhere so don't be too shy to ignore the stats. 


It’s never been done


One would have thought back in 2008 that No. 17 would have its day before No. 20 but after Big Brown did it, PP 17 stands alone. I wouldn’t bet on Commanding Curve becoming the first in 2014.


It’s Been a While


No. 14 is in a drought that dates all the way back to Carry Back in 1961. By all accounts, Medal Count may be a formidable contender that returns gate number 14 to the winners circle. No. 12, Canonero II in ’71, and No. 9, Riva Ridge in ’72, are also looking to get back in the action.


On a Roll


No. 16 has hit twice in the last 3 years. On top of that the winner has broke from this position 5 times since 1995. Orb (2013), Animal Kingdom (2011), Monarchos (2001), Charismatic (1999), Thunder Gulch (1995). Will Johhny V lead another Kentucky Derby starter to victory from this spot in 2014? Intense Holiday may be worth betting.


Life on the Outside


Also dating back to Thunder Gulch in 1995, a total of 11 winners have emerged from at or outside of No. 10. That says a lot about the dynamics of a 20 horse field and how getting comfortable and in position to strike is anywhere but inside.


Pinned In


When you look at the one hole you can’t just look back and think that Ferdinand in 1986 was relatively recent. Yes, it was a large field of 16 horses but what’s even more important is that you have to go all the way back to 1963, Chateaugay, to find the next horse that won from No. 1. Since Affirmed in 1978, position No. 2, only 4 winners have started from No. 1 thru 4. (Ferdinand, Real Quiet - No. 3, Alysheba - No. 3, Super Saver - No. 4). From the first four positions in 2014 I'd say Danza has the best shot. 


Calvin Wins From Inside No. 9


His three Kentucky Derby victories were all from more traditional post positions; Super Saver No. 4, Street Sense No. 7 and Mine That Bird No. 8. This year is anything like those as Ride On Curlin is breaking from the secondary gate, No. 19.


No. 10


It was very popular in the 80's (Sunday Silence, Spend a Buck, Sunny's Halo and Genuine Risk). So, it is now the best post position of all time with 9 wins. But, I don't see Wildcat Red extending that lead this year.  


Happy Birthday


On Monday Wicked Strong officially turned 3. On Thursday Medal Count did too. And it's Tapiture's birthday today. Does it matter when you turn three? Not really, but there are stats for that.


*Dating Back to 1976 






2014 Kentucky Derby Starters Foal Date


















Finally, just some more stats. Does it matter where you are bred? Again, not really, it's just that Kentucky dominates the census so most likely it's going to be the Blue Grass state. 


*Dating Back to 1976 







Winners not bred in KY: Smarty Jones, PA; Funny Cide NY; Silver Charm FL; Sea Hero, VA; Lil E. Tee, PA; Unbridled, FL; Sunny's Halo, ON; Pleasant Colony, VA; Affirmed FL. 


2014 Kentucky Derby Starters not bred in KY: California Chrome, CA; Vicar's in Trouble, VA; Wildcat Red, FL; Samraat, NY; Dance With Fate, FL; We Miss Artie, ON.


Now, let me finish by telling you that I am not a mathematician, not even close. So, I don't overanalyze these trends, stats or charts. My firm belief is that anyone can win from anywhere at anytime but it also doesn't mean that this information isn't worth considering. Enjoy.   



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Older Comments about Top Kentucky Derby Gate Positions...

While Orb did still break from the 16 hole in the gate because they left the rail open, trip is right because his PP changed to 15. No such thing as a phantom PP even if a gate is left open inside of horses.
@nvrlose37, if you search the HRN 2013 Kentucky Derby Chart, you will see the post position and order of finish.
Thanks for the clarification. My Mistake.
Normally they move the horses away from the rail when a scratch happens, are you sure Orb was PP15? Also ArchArchArch ran in 2011 but lost a shoe I believe during the race
Interesting. Wasn't Arch Arch Arch scratched from the 1 hole the year prior?
Correction: In 2013 derby, ORB broke from post#15 (not post#16, which is his saddle number) because the number 1 horse, Black Onyx was scratched before the race.
  • kentuckyderbypost · Good observation. But, if you watch the replay you will see that they left gate #1 open. Therefore, everyone's original draw / position remained the same. · 577 days ago
Thank you again. It was something that had been bothering me for a while, thanks for your detailed response.
Exterminator. As to your question about coupled betting interests, I went back and looked at my racing programs for the KD. I have all programs from 1921 on. Interestingly, I don't see 1 and 1a listed in the very early Derbies even when they are have the same owner. I looked atDerbies I knew had the same owners and while coupled in the wagering have completely different numbers in the program. I see that in the 1948 program Citation is listed as 1 and Coaltown is listed as 1A, but on the side they list Citation breaking from PP 1 and Coaltown breaking from PP2. Also these were not dumb questions at all.
Thanks, Buckpasser!
Exterminator. From what I can see from pictures in the Derby media guides, it is their actual PP not the saddlecloth. For instance Needles wore saddlecloth 3 in the pictures in the winners circle, but according to the Derby media guide he broke from PP 1.
Do those PP stats show the horse's position in the starting gate or the number on their saddle cloth? What about entries, is horse 1A counted as post 1 or as the place he started from? Sorry if these questions sound stupid, I've never really looked much into the PP statistics.
Small typo, Animal Kingdom is actually 2011. On that note, I'm so excited for the Derby. The way CC is running he has such a huge chance, but I also love how much a fighter Wildcat Red is. We'll see!
Sam228. Morvich was the first. Swaps was a CA bred too. The last Ca bred to win the Derby was a Decidedly.
Roses4U. I agree whose around you is very important. I can't remember who the trainer was who said this, but " unless you have a crystal ball, every post position is good."
All these stats...did a Cal bred horse ever win the Derby? Or is CC looking to be the first?
Well I like to dabble in math and if the trainer of Wicked Strong wanted the ten hole and got the twenty that's twice as good. Really more important than your "number" is your surroundings. Who is breaking to your left and right 1.2. even 3 gates over.
If you are going to utilize post positions as some kind of barometer in the KD, you really need to start your statistics from 1941 on and not before. The electronic starting gate or the Clay-Pruett gate was invented in 1939 and first used at either Del Mar or at Exhibition Park in that year.( though commentators give Exhibition Park the nod). The first TC event which utilized the electronic starting gate was the Preakness in 1940. Churchill Downs did not use one until 1941. Prior to that you had tape barriers, starting stalls, walk up starts etc. if anyone is interested Sports Illustrated has a great article about this invention, that we take for granted today, but revolutionized the sport.
Fun information, thanks!

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Meet Bryan Brinkmeyer – Chicago, IL


Growing up across the river from the Bluegrass State I was able to spend a lot of summer days at Ellis Park, Henderson, KY. 


Likewise, the first Saturday in May was always a celebrated family event. In 2000, I made my inaugural Kentucky Derby appearance and since, I have made it an annual tradition because there’s no other city, or weekend, in the racing world like Louisville, KY on Derby Day. 


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