2019 Kentucky Derby post position draw winners and losers

May 01, 2019 10:34am
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As always, some made out much better than others when it came time for the Kentucky Derby 2019 post position draw.

Everyone, of course, wants to steer clear of the inside stall, which hasn’t produced a winner since Ferdinand in 1986, while post 17 has never housed a Kentucky Derby hero. However, as we saw last year with Justify’s historic run, Derby rules are made to be broken, so take more than superstition into account.

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With that in mind, let’s determine the winners and losers — plus some of those in-betweeners whose chances don’t seem to have changed — given the post draw.

1. War of Will: A speed horse in the innermost post of a 20-horse field is never a good thing, especially with the post being pointed directly at the start of the inside rail. From this position, War of Will, who typically does show swift gate speed, will likely be forced to set the pace if he does make it out of that pocket unscathed.
Loser.

2. Tax: The son of Arch likes to be closer to the pace but isn’t always the fastest from the gate. He’s at risk of getting pinched by War of Will, who undoubtably will be looking to move out, and Maximum Security, who will be looking to cross over.
Loser.

3. By My Standards: This horse won’t be right on the pace, but that doesn’t mean this spot favors his style, especially with two horses that use speed right to his inside. He could end up on the rail and saving ground, but it would also mean taking plenty of dirt.
Loser.

4. Gray Magician: He likes to be forwardly placed but has never shown the speed necessary to get out in front of horses like War of Will or Tax. Given the speed to his inside and outside, I see him getting squeezed and shuffled back. Then again, connections were going to take back anyway.
In-betweener.

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5. Improbable: He doesn’t have the best gate speed and typically prefers to run as a stalker to mid-pack. However, the horses directly to his inside and outside both also lack consistent gate speed. He is also far enough removed from Tax and War of Will to not be affected by their attempts to move out a couple of paths. He might have to deal with Maximum Security trying to cross over, but he’s no stranger to dealing with early race congestion, and this post has produced a lot of nice runners. Winner.

6. Vekoma: His post position brings similar pros and cons to that of Improbable. The only real difference is that Vekoma shows more natural speed and has a fast horse right to his outside. Javier Castellano will have to use up his mount early or risk losing before the first turn.
Loser.

7. Maximum Security: His connections couldn’t have asked for a better draw as he’s right in the middle of the gate, and those to either side lack consistent gate speed. This will leave him free to maneuver without much of an issue after the break, allowing him to secure good early position.
Winner.

8. Tacitus: Plus Que Parfait, directly to his outside doesn’t typically have much early speed, while Maximum Security will likely send, leaving space to his inside. This makes an ideal starting point for Tacitus to find a mid-pack spot without getting hung too wide.
Winner.

9. Plus Que Parfait: He was able to overcome a traffic-filled trip in the UAE Derby, but this is a bigger ask. He’ll face something similar, just against classier opposition.
In-betweener.

10. Cutting Humor: He likes to race in a stalking position and is at risk given a number of horses to his inside — some who tend to get away faster — inside. Plus there’s speed two stalls to his outside, with Omaha Beach likely to cross right over Cutting Humor.
Loser.

11. Haikal: A stone cold closer flanked by two horses that want to be closer to the front shouldn’t mind getting squeezed back a bit. He should be able to take back and settle without much incident.
Winner.

12. Omaha Beach: The favorite landed the race’s best draw given he’s outside of Maximum Security, and those directly to his inside won’t be in a huge hurry. Mike Smith can keep an eye on speed and judge how much to use his horse in the early going.
Winner.

13. Code of Honor: His trip will likely resemble that of Haikal — only with no real speed directly to his outside, he doesn’t have to worry about getting pinched.
Winner.

14. Win Win Win: Normally this post and the 15 are known for troubled beginnings, given it’s where the main gate ends and auxiliary begins. The main concern here is who’s just outside of Win Win Win.
Loser.

15. Master Fencer: Japan’s invader is positioned only a few yards from the famed “Wall of Sound” that will erupt as the field is sent on their way. Will we see an issue at the start for the Derby’s international runner for a third straight year?
Loser.

16. Game Winner: A horse known for his wide trips looks set for another one. On the bright side, he probably won’t encounter trouble, and Game Winner won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Churchill Downs when wide. He’s rehearsed for this type of trip all season.
In-betweener.

17. Roadster: If he breaks like he did two works back, he could wind up with a good, albeit wide trip. You’ll hear about how this stall has never produced a winner, but how many breaking from it have had Roadster-like talent?
Winner.

18.
Long Range Toddy: There is too much speed to his inside for him to get the stalking trip he’s accustomed to, so he’ll either have to take back or risk getting stuck wide. His biggest win in the Rebel Stakes did come when Long Range Toddy saved grounds, then switched out. Jockey Jon Court will have to work to avoid the opposite happening here. Loser.

19. Spinoff: He’s quick from the gate, but he’s too far out to get to where he wants to be into the first turn. Instead, Spinoff is positioned for a wide trip unless he alters his running style completely. The only positive for this inexperienced colt is that he shouldn’t take too much dirt.
Loser.

20.
Country House: It isn’t the worst draw by any means, but he hasn’t been able to overcome the early deficit his gate issues leave him with before this spot. That said, being outside should affect Country House less than any number of other Derby contenders. In-betweener.

 

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Meet Laura Pugh

Laura Pugh got her first taste of Thoroughbred racing when she watched War Emblem take the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes in 2002. At that point, she fell in love with the sport, reading every piece of news and information she could get her fingertips on.

Laura has a long history with horses in general, taking her first ride on her fifth birthday, with her first official riding lesson when she was eight years old. Both years she attended college, she joined her school’s equestrian team, first at Virginia Intermont College and then again at Delaware State University. Unfortunately, after back and shoulder injuries, she had to hang up her saddle. 

In 2010, Laura began writing for Horse Racing Nation and has also contributed to Lady and the Track, TwinSpires and USRacing. She currently works at a local newspaper as a community reporter.

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