2018 Kentucky Derby Post Positions & Stats

2018 Kentucky Derby Post Positions & Stats

Hello my Horse Racing Finatics! It is that time of the year again the Most Watched Horse Race of the year: The Kentucky Derby 144 will be run this Saturday, May at Churchill Downs, we have a full 20 horse field and the post positions were drawn today. With a post time of 6:50 p.m. Eastern, NBC coverage begins at noon on NBCSN and switches to the main channel at 2:30 p.m.

Here is how the race is shaping up with a little information on each horse and how he/she got here:

1) Firenze Fire

Owner: Mr. Amore Stable

Trainer: Jason Servis

Jockey: Paco Lopez

Morning line odds: 50-1

Thanks to the post position draw, this longshot outside became a longshot insider, drawing the dreaded rail. His best races have come when he’s on or near the lead, a position he’s unlikely to get from this post with gunning to the lead, a strategy that would be dubious at best given the questions about whether he can get the distance combined with the fact that that’s usually a losing bet in this race. He won the Grade 1 Champagne at Belmont last fall, beating both Good Magic and Enticed, but an extra quarter-mile and seven months make that repeat a longshot indeed on Saturday.

2) Free Drop Billy

Owner: Albaugh Family Stables LLC

Trainer: Dale Romans

Jockey: Robby Albarado

Morning line odds: 30-1

He hasn’t won a race since last October at Keeneland, and though that was a Grade 1 in which he beat longshots here Bravazo and Lone Sailor, he’s yet to get back to the winner’s circle despite Romans’ playing around with distance and moving around to a number of racetracks. He was interfered with in the Grade 2 Blue Grass last month and placed third after hitting the wire fourth, but he was unlikely to get anywhere close to winner Good Magic and runner-up Flameaway.

3) Promises Fulfilled

Owner: Robert J. Baron

Trainer: Dale Romans

Jockey: Corey Lanerie

The second here for trainer Romans, and he looked promising indeed when he won the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream Park back in March. Trying to repeat that performance in the Grade 1 Florida Derby, he instead finished ninth. This inside post does no favors to this inveterate frontrunner, who risks being squeezed back at the beginning of the charge from the gate.

4) Flameaway

Owner: John C. Oxley

Trainer: Mark Casse

Jockey: José Lezcano

Morning line odds: 30-1

A multiple graded stakes winner with five wins and two seconds from nine starts, this $400,000 yearling purchase is also something of a puzzle. In four races this year, he’s got two wins and two seconds, including a win over rival here Vino Rosso in the Grade 3 Sam F. Davis at Tampa Bay Downs, yet there’s little buzz about him despite his consistency. He’s raced just once at Churchill Downs, finishing sixth, and he’s another that wants to run on the lead, which makes three of the four inside posts possibilities to gun from the gate.

5) Audible

Owner: China Horse Club International, Head of Plains Partners LLC, Starlight Racing, WinStar Farm

Trainer: Todd Pletcher

Jockey: Javier Castellano

Morning line odds: 8-1

This $500,000 two-year-old purchase hasn’t lost since last September, when he finished third in his debut. He’s gotten better as the distances have gotten longer, running two visually impressive races at Gulfstream Park over the winter, winning the Grade 2 Holy Bull and Grade 1 Florida Derby. He can take back or run on the lead, and thanks to whoever named it, his namesake audiobook company will donate a total of $40,000 to the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance, buttressing their PR campaign since it “adopted” him back in March.

6) Good Magic

Owner: E Five Racing Thoroughbreds and Stonestreet Stables LLC

Trainer: Chad Brown

Jockey: José Ortiz

Morning line odds: 12-1

This cleverly named colt out of Glinda the Good cost $1 million as a yearling, and breeder Stonestreet elected to stay in and partner with E Five Racing–a good choice, given the horse’s $1.85 million in earnings. By two-time Horse of the Year Curlin, who’s proven himself a stamina sire, he flahsed back in the Grade 2 Blue Grass Stakes to the promising form that won the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile last fall, leading to champion two-year-old trainers. Chad Brown seems to have won every big race except the Kentucky Derby and would like nothing more than to add this to his already impressive resume. Good Magic is a champion by a champion sire, conditioned by a champion trainer and ridden by a champion jockey.

7) Justify

Owner: China Horse Club International, Head of Plains Partners LLC, Starlight Racing, WinStar Farm

Trainer: Bob Baffert

Jockey: Mike Smith

Morning line odds: 3-1

This is the guy that’s supposed to buck the 136-year Apollo trend. You’ll read it a thousand times this week: no horse since 1882 has won the Kentucky Derby without having raced at two. He debuted in January at Santa Anita, winning by 9 1/2 lengths, moved effortlessly up in class, and in his third start won the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby by three lengths. By hot sire Scat Daddy (who died in three years ago and who has four horses in here), he cost half a million dollars and was made the morning line favorite. Hall of Famer Mike Smith–who rides selectively and isn’t called “Big Money Mike” for nothing–is in the saddle, and Justify has a Hall of Fame trainer in Baffert. If he loses, it will be attributed to the curse of Apollo; if he wins, he’ll make history.

8) Lone Sailor

Owner: G M B Racing

Trainer: Tom Amoss

Jockey: James Graham

Morning line odds: 50-1

Those 50-1 odds may well come lower by post time if fans of the New Orleans Saints head to the windows. On March 15, Saints’ owner Tom Benson died; nine days later, this horse, owned by Benson’s G M B Racing, finished a neck short of winning the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds in New Orleans. His connections all hail from Louisiana, and if Lone Sailor can replicate his last performance on Saturday, the good times will be indeed be rolling.

9) Hofburg

Owner: Juddmonte Farms Inc.

Trainer: Bill Mott

Jockey: Irad Ortiz Jr.

Morning line odds: 20-1

In most circumstances, you’d dismiss a horse that’s made just three lifetime starts, two of them in maiden races–but this one deserves a longer look. His third race was the Grade 1 Florida Derby, in which he finished second to Audible, who is considered to have a major shot at the blanket of roses. He’s trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, who doesn’t spot horses just for the heck of it, and neither he nor Juddmonte need to be in Louisville just to say they’ve run in the Derby. Not one I’d ignore.

10) My Boy Jack

Owner: Don’t tell My Wife Stables, Monomoy Stables LLC

Trainer: Keith Desormeaux

Jockey: Kent Desormeaux

Morning line odds: 30-1

He’s run at four different tracks this year, across the country, compiling two wins and two thirds, all in graded stakes races. A modest $20,000 purchase, he’s earned $645,000 running on turf and dirt, venturing far beyond his Southern California base. A deep closer that doesn’t need a perfect post position, he’ll break from the middle of the pack and likely take back under Hall of Fame jockey Kent Desormeaux, who rides for his brother Keith, who said of post #10: “Perfect; right in the middle. We wanted to be there or farther outside. With our style (a late runner) we just didn’t want to be inside and taking a lot of dirt in the face right away.”

11) Bolt d’Oro

Owner: Ruis Racing LLC

Trainer: Mick Ruis

Jockey: Victor Espinoza

Morning line odds: 8-1

The “It” horse until Justify showed up, he won two Grade 1 races last year as a two-year-old but hasn’t hit the wire first in his two starts this year. He was placed first in the Grade 2 San Felipe through disqualification, and his performance was as gutty as one you’ll see; he showed the same tenacity in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby but was no match for Justify, who pulled away to win by three. Hall of Fame jockey Javier Castellano rode him in his last two starts but will ride Audible on Saturday, so in the saddle will be Victor Espinoza, who’s won three Kentucky Derbies and a Triple Crown.

12) Enticed

Owner: Godolphin LLC

Trainer: Kiaran McLaughlin

Jockey: Junior Alvarado

Morning line odds: 30-1

He’s another who’s been all over the place, racing in New York, Kentucky, and Florida, and his first graded stakes win, the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club, came at Churchill Downs last November. He was badly beaten in his first start in 2018, rebounded with a win in the Grade 3 Gotham at Aqueduct Racetrack in New York City, and had to settle for second in the Grade 2 Wood Memorial there–though a lengthy inquiry into possible interference had some of his backers thinking he’d be promoted to first place. .

13) Bravazo

Owner: Calumet Farm

Trainer: D. Wayne Lukas

Jockey: Luis Contreras

Morning line odds: 50-1

At age 82, Lukas is back in the Derby, thanks to a win in the Grade 2 Risen Star at Fair Grounds and a couple of defections that sneaked him into the top 20. Bravazo bombed in the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby, and inn his most recent Churchill appearance, he was 10th in the Kentucky Jockey Club last November. He did break his maiden over this track last fall, and his best races have come when he’s run just off the pace, a position that may be difficult to achieve given his wide post position.

14) Mendelssohn

Owner: Michael Tabor, Mrs. John Magnier, Derrick Smith

Trainer: Aidan O’Brien

Jockey: Ryan Moore

Morning line odds: 5-1

A serious buzz horse thanks to his eye-popping win in the UAE Derby in March in Dubai, in which he cruised by 18 lengths. Aidan O’Brien not uncommonly sends his European turf horses over here to run in the big U.S. dirt races; not uncommonly, they don’t do well. The Dubai race was on dirt, though, Mendelssohn’s first start on that surface, and jockey Ryan Moore is shipping over here to ride, too, bypassing the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket, the first of the British classic races. Mendelssohn was bred in the United States and is by the aforementioned Scat Daddy; his owners paid $3 million for him at a Kentucky yearling sale, and he’s a half-brother to champion Beholder and multiple graded stakes winner Into Mischief.

15) Instilled Regard

Owner: Oxo Equine LLC

Trainer: Jerry Hollendorfer

Jockey: Drayden Van Dyke

Morning line odds: 50-1

This pricey two-year-old purchase–$1.05 million–has so far failed to live up to that lofty price tag, winning just twice in seven starts. Fortunately for his Derby-aspirational connections, one of those wins was in the Grade 3 Lecomte in New Orleans, giving him enough Derby points to make it into the field. He’s been ridden by Hall of Famers Mike Smith and Javier Castellano, but they’ve got other commitments on Saturday, so Van Dyke gets the call.

16) Magnum Moon

Owner: Lawana L. and Robert E. Low

Trainer: Todd Pletcher

Jockey: Luis Saez

Morning line odds: 6-1

He heads to Louisville undefeated in four lifetime starts, and he’s another who will test the curse of Apollo, having run his first race in January. His four wins have come by a combined 14 lengths over three racetracks, and with $1.17 million in the bank, he’s more than earned back his $380,000 purchase price. Post #16 is hardly ideal for a horse that won his last race on the lead, but he’s shown that he can back, too, and no one except Saez has ridden him in a race. Three of Pletcher’s four entries will break from the auxiliary gate, but the trainer was sanguine, saying, “Both Magnum Moon (#16) and Noble Indy (#19) have tactical speed, so in a best case scenario they’ll be able to get good spots despite the post. This is very much a rider’s race and I’ve got four of the best riders around.”

17) Solomini

Owner: Zayat Stables LLC

Trainer: Bob Baffert

Jockey: Flavien Prat

Morning line odds: 30-1

Baffert’s Derby horse until Justify showed up, he’s owned by Zayat Stables, who with Baffert campaigned American Pharoah to a Triple Crown three years ago. He nearly got a Grade 1 last December in the Cash Call Futurity at Los Alamitos, but he was placed third after interfering with the runners who finished behind him. That means that strictly speaking, he’s got only a maiden win to his credit, though he’s been running in nothing but graded stakes races, finishing second in three of them. He’s by Curlin, which suggests the 10 furlongs won’t be a problem.

18) Vino Rosso

Owner: Repole Stable and St. Elias Stable

Trainer: Todd Pletcher

Jockey: John Velazquez

Morning line odds: 12-1

Impressive winner of the Grade 2 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct, he nonetheless had to sweat out an inquiry and objection before the result was let stand. He announced himself as a serious Derby contender with that race after faltering in two stakes races at Tampa Bay Downs over the winter. He’s another by Curlin, and out of a Street Cry mare, so he should only get better as the distances get longer. He can run near the pace or off it, the latter being the more prudent option, giving his post position. His jockey is in the Hall of Fame and has two Derby wins on his resume; he’s in good hands.

19) Noble Indy

Owner: WinStar Farm LLC and Repole Stable

Trainer: Todd Pletcher

Jockey: Florent Geroux

Morning line odds: 30-1

He breaks from right next door to his stablemate, who is also owned by Mike Repole in partnership. He’s won three of four lifetime, and he was Repole’s first 2018 Derby horse, earned with a win in the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby. He prefers to run on the lead, which is a tall order from post #19; accomplished rider Florent Geroux, leading jockey at the recent Keeneland meet, is in the irons for the first time.

20) Combatant

Owner: Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC and Willis Horton Racing LLC

Trainer: Steve Asmussen

Jockey: Ricardo Santana Jr.

Morning line odds: 50-1

A perennial Derby contender, Asmussen was on the outside looking in until last week, when a couple of horses dropped out, making room for Combatant to slide into the top 20. He’s finished in the top three in five of his seven lifetime races…but made it to the winner’s circle only once. He’s finished behind several of his rivals here on more than one occasion, and while owner Willis Horton was philosophical about the post, only one horse has ever won the Kentucky Derby from post #20, and that was Big Brown ten years ago. Combatant, it would seem, is no Big Brown.

There you have it everyone! The first leg of the Triple Crown! We all know that anything can happen on Derby day and often does. I 

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