2021 Kentucky Derby Post Positions by the Numbers

2021 Kentucky Derby Post Positions by the Numbers



The Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve is rightfully known as the most exciting two minutes in sports; once the Churchill Downs starting gate springs open anything can (and often does) happen. For the 20 3-year-old Thoroughbreds competing it is one of the most important moments of their lives, racing luck can make or break their Derby run from the start. However, some of that luck comes into play several days beforehand: the luck of the post-position draw.

Kentucky Derby post positions are randomly assigned the Tuesday before the race, but their influence on the race seems to be far from arbitrary.

The Kentucky Derby has used a starting gate since 1930; and traditionally two of them, actually. One held 14 horses and the other, called the auxiliary gate, was attached to the outside of the main gate to allow for six more horses. That changed last year when Churchill Downs secured a single gate that holds all 20 horses. Interestingly, the race was won by Authentic who drew the post farthest to the outside, post-position 15. Authentic initially drew post 18 but moved in three spots after three horses were scratched, or withdrawn, from the race.

Common sense might suggest that the inside posts are favorable since the running near rail is the shortest way around a racetrack. This could be true in races with fields of 10 horses or fewer, but in the Kentucky Derby there are as many as 20 racehorses leaping from the gate and rushing to secure position before the field heads into the first turn. This means there’s a lot of bumping and jostling as the field compresses to the inside of the racetrack. And that means the horses already on the inside are going to get the worst of it, which could discourage them or negatively affect their positioning.

Horses on the outside are usually subject to less bumping, but if they don’t make it across the track before the first turn they can be left wide. In the Kentucky Derby the turns account more than 40% of the 1 ¼-mile race. Assuming the width needed for a racehorse and rider is four feet, for every path off the rail, a horse runs more than 25 feet farther. A horse six paths off the rail on both turns will run 150 feet farther than a horse on the rail, making their race that much more grueling. It’s important to find a balance between far enough inside to save ground and far enough outside that a horse can easily maneuver to be in the clear when the real running starts: the homestretch.

So what post position is ideal? Conventional wisdom says that somewhere in the middle of the gate, positions 5-15, is best. In recent years, though, there seems to be a trend toward outside posts having more success, due in part to the crowded fields of the last couple of decades. Since 2000, 11 of the 21 Kentucky Derby winners have broken from gate 13 or higher. From the 70 races that used a gate before 2000, just 10 winners broke from gate 13 or higher. Some of the recent winners were favorites (NyquistAmerican Pharoah, Big Brown, etc.) who might have won from an inside gate anyway, but some weren’t.

Confirmation of this trend toward outside posts comes when you look at inside posts’ success (or lack thereof). No horse has won the Kentucky Derby from gate 1 since Ferdinand in 1986. The only horse who has won from post 1, 2, or 3 since then is Real Quiet, the 1998 Derby winner who came up just a nose shy of winning the Triple Crown. Before 1987, 19 of 58 horses that left those gates won, giving the gates a 10.9% win rate. Since 1987, the win rate for posts 1, 2, or 3 is just 1.01% (1-for-99).

Other interesting post-position stats include an 11% win rate for gate 5, which was the post position of both 2017 winner Always Dreaming and 2014 winner California Chrome. Gate 10 has also produced a relative high rate of winners at 10.7%, and horses finishing in the money (top three) at a remarkable 28.6%. The last Derby victor to come from 10 was Giacomo, who was also that last gray horse to win the Derby. This year’s probable favorite Essential Quality is a gray and would be ideally drawn in a spot like post 10.

Notably, no horse has ever won from post-position 17 and the last time gate 17 produced a horse that even finished in the top five was 2005. Last year’s big Kentucky Derby favorite, Tiz the Law, initially drew post 17. His chances, historically speaking, improved when other defections in the race moved inside to post 14. But that spot, and its 3% success rate, didn’t make much of a difference after Authentic (drawn just to the outside of Tiz the Law) got the early jump and settled on a loose and comfortable lead near the rail. Tiz the Law chased from a wider stalking position and finished second.

Get the stats on all the post positions below. Once the Kentucky Derby post position draw takes place this year on Tuesday, April 27, the chart below will be updated to reflect which horses will be running from each of the available posts.

Post

2021 Runner

Most Recent Winner

Starts

Wins

Win  %

In-The-Money Finishes

ITM %

2020 Result

1

Ferdinand (1986)

91

8

8.8%

18

19.8%

Max Player, 5th place

2

Affirmed (1978)

91

7

7.7%

25

27.5%

Enforceable, 7th place

3

Real Quiet (1998)

91

5

5.5%

19

20.9%

Storm the Court, 6th place

4

Super Saver (2010)

91

5

5.5%

15

16.5%

Major Fed, 11th place

5

Always Dreaming (2017)

91

10

11%

22

24.2%

Money Moves, 13th place

6

Sea Hero (1993)

91

2

2.2%

13

14.3%

South Bend, 15th place

7

Justify (2018)

90

7

7.8%

19

21.1%

Mr. Big News, 3rd place

8

Mine that Bird (2009)

90

8

8.9%

18

20%

Necker Island, 9th place

9

Riva Ridge (1972)

87

4

4.6%

17

19.5%

Sole Volante, 11th place

10

Giacomo (2005)

84

9

10.7%

24

28.6%

Attachment Rate, 14th place

11

Winning Colors (1988)

80

2

2.5%

12

15%

Winning Impression, 12th place

12

Canonero II (1971)

76

3

3.9%

9

11.9%

Ny Traffic, 8th place

13

Nyquist (2016)

74

5

6.8%

19

25.7%

Honor A.P., 4th place

14

Carry Back (1961)

66

2

3%

13

19.7%

Tiz the Law, 2nd place

15

Authentic (2020)

59

6

10.2%

9

15.3%

Authentic, 1st place

16

Animal Kingdom (2011)

48

4

8.3%

10

20.8%

No Runner

17

N/A

42

0

0.0%

3

7.1%

No Runner

18

Country House (2019)

33

2

6.1%

6

18.2%

No Runner

19

I’ll Have Another (2012)

28

1

3.6%

2

7.2%

No Runner

20

Big Brown (2008)

17

1

5.9%

2

11.8%

No Runner


8.7.3



Source link

Similar Articles

Comments

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Advertismentspot_img

Instagram

Most Popular