For a moment, it looked as though the unthinkable may happen: Essential Quality possibly drawing the dreaded #1 post position in Saturday’s 147th running of the Kentucky Derby. Instead, at the last second, Todd Pletcher’s Known Agenda was saddled with that dubious honor, likely hindering his chances at Derby glory in a substantial way. Conversely, Essential Quality’s camp was able to take a deep breath, as the 2-1 morning line favorite will break from post position 14 on Saturday, a spot which, in theory, should pose no issue. Below are horses who one could consider “winners” and “losers” of Tuesday’s Derby post draw.
- There is nothing particularly special about post #14 in Saturday’s Derby, but when visualizing how the race may be run, the #14 slot likely allows jockey Luis Saez immediate options. If the pace of the race does not materialize and ends up being on the slower side, Saez can be more aggressive aboard the undefeated Two-Year-Old Champion and put him into the race early. If the pace is on the swifter side, he can just as easily allow things to unfold in front of him while tucking in just behind the speed horses.
ROCK YOUR WORLD
- The “x-factor” in Saturday’s race, Rock Your World burst onto the scene with a scintillating frontrunning victory in the Santa Anita Derby in early April. Many have theorized that he is a need-the-lead type of horse, but his two turf tries prior to the dominating victory in the Santa Anita Derby would suggest otherwise. Jockey Joel Rosario truly can control how this year’s Kentucky Derby plays out, as this horse can easily clear to the front and dictate terms or sit just off a target and bide his time before making his move for the lead.
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- For all intents and purposes, the only post that nobody really wants in the Kentucky Derby is post #1. While it may sound counterintuitive that the inside is a negative, consider this: 19 other horses all want to save as much ground as possible entering the first of two turns, meaning the only direction they are likely to go is toward their inside – coming down on whoever is already on the rail, likely leading to a troubled trip. The caveat would be if the horse drawn in post #1 was either a confirmed frontrunner (which Known Agenda is not) who would be hustled to make the lead, or a deep closer (which Known Agenda is not) who could just as easily take back and trail the field comfortably. Known Agenda is a horse who was likely to find himself midpack during Saturday’s race, and he still may find himself in that position; how he winds up in that position, however, is an entirely different story.
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