By Gene Kershner
LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- The draw for the 140th Run for the Roses was completed this afternoon in the Secretariat Lounge on the second floor at historic Churchill Downs and morning line favorite California Chrome (5-2) drew the No. 5 post for 77-year-old trainer Art Sherman.
The Buffalo News' Derby coverage starts tonight and will continue through Oaks-Derby weekend, with online coverage here at the Sports, Ink blog and print coverage on Saturday and Sunday. We'll start a live blog when the stakes action kicks off on Derby day right here at the Sports, Ink.
The biggest story coming out of the draw was the position for the overwhelming favorite California Chrome who will start from the same position as the 2002 Derby winner War Emblem, the last horse to take them wire-to-wire. Sherman was fond of his horse's draws. "I like it fine. Victor (jockey Victor Espinoza) says he likes it. I'm happy and I feel no pressure," said Sherman.
Wicked Strong was going to be handicapper Mike Battaglia's second choice, but wound up in the outside post No. 20 and was dropped down to the third choice at 8-1. The only horse to win from post 20 was Big Brown in 2008. Trainer Jimmy Jerkens had mixed feelings about the outside post. "It might be that speed is quick and they get to rolling in a clump and he can draft in behind them and it'll work out. The one positive is that he's not in the gate very long. I'm trying to convince myself tht it's not a bad post, but i don't know if I can.
He swapped places in the morning line with the Bob Baffert-trained Hoppertunity (6-1) who has been training beautifully under the Twin Spires. "The only disadvantage is that he is going to have to wait in the gate for a long time, but I'd rather wait in the 11-hole than in the one-hole. I think he's the second choice because he's gotten the closest to California Chrome this year," said the three-time Derby winning trainer.
Vicar's in Trouble (30-1) drew the dreaded rail position, but was likely to go to the front regardless of his post position. Now he'll have no choice. He'll have jockey Rosie Napravnik in the irons trying to become the first female jockey to win the Derby.
There were 21 horses entered in the Derby, with one also-eligible, Pablo Del Monte. He will have to wait to see if there is a scratch of any of the 20 horses by 9 a.m. on Friday when advance wagering on the Derby opens up.
To see statistical analysis on each of the 20 horses and information on the post positions over the pas 44 years, I've completed my annual Derby spreadsheet and my preliminary thoughts were in Friday's Degrees of Separation post. Check back here tomorrow for analysis on Friday's Kentucky Oaks.
There is a lot of speed inside California Chrome, so it will be interesting over the next few days trying to unravel the pace scenario puzzle that is a the key to selecting the Derby winner.
Here's a look at the field and morning line odds for Kentucky Derby 140....
|Post Position||Horse||Morning Line||Trainer||Jockey|
|1||Vicar's in Trouble||30-1||Maker||Napravnik|
|3||Uncle Sigh||30-1||Contessa||I Ortiz, Jr.|
|6||Samraat||15-1||Violette, Jr.||J Ortiz|
|7||We Miss Artie||50-1||Pletcher||Castellano|
|8||General a Rod||15-1||Maker||Rosario|
|10||Wildcat Red||15-1||Garrofalo||L Saez|
|12||Dance With Fate||20-1||Eurton||Nakatani|
|16||Intense Holiday||12-1||Pletcher||JR Velazquez|
|19||Ride On Curlin||15-1||Gowan||Borel|
|21 AE||Pablo del Monte||50-1||Ward||Sanchez|