Nyquist's trainer, Doug O'Neill, said he'd like to be on the outside of all the speed horses in the Kentucky Derbygates. He didn't get his wish. The 3-1 race favorite will break from the 13th stall when the 142nd Run for the Roses begins on Saturday afternoon at Churchill Downs in Louisville. That's because Danzing Candy drew the most outside stall, No. 20, while another fast starter, Outwork, is just two gates down at No. 15.
However, O'Neill was happy with the draw. "The post draw didn't matter to us a ton, but we're happy being more toward the outside for sure," O'Neill told NBC.
The post position draw is all the more important in a field as big as what Churchill Downs hosts each year. While the Preakness and Belmont Stakes feature smaller numbers, the mile-and-a-quarter Kentucky Derby fills all 14 spots in its main gate as well as the six spots in its auxiliary gate. That means a bad draw -- more recently that means along the rail -- can make the race a difficult one. No winner since 1999 has come out of the three inside posts. Most connections -- the humans involved with the horses -- hope to land between the fifth and 15th posts.
Although in theory any of the entrants could win the Kentucky Derby, a trio of 3-year-olds have emerged above the rest during the prep races: Nyquist, Mohaymen and Exaggerator. Mohaymen will break from the 14th stall and Exaggerator the 11th. Exaggerator has the second-best morning line odds at 8-1 with Mohaymen tied for third-best at 10-1.
A month ago Nyquist all but assured himself of being the race favorite by winning the mile-and-an-eighth Florida Derby. That increased his record to a perfect 7-for-7. Mohaymen, who entered undefeated at the time, had a tough run, breaking slow, drifting outside, making a push and then fading to fourth down the stretch.
Exaggerator earned his accolades by winning the mile-and-an-eighth Santa Anita Derby. Fellow Kentucky Derby entrant Danzing Candy had a strong start and appeared as if he'd run away with the race unchallenged, only to be run down from 20 lengths back and then left in the mud by Exaggerator, who won by 6 1/4 lengths.
As for the ideal starting positions, Mohaymen trainer Kiaran McLaughlin told the Louisville Courier-Journal earlier in the week he hoped for the eighth or 10th spot. (American Pharoah won from the eighth position last year.) Eight went to Lani, a Japanese horse, and 10th to Whitmore.
Trojan Nation, Suddenbreakingnews and Creator drew the three positions closest to the rail. Starting in the third stall, which hasn't hosted a winner since 1998, Creator still has the third-best morning line odds at 10-1, along with Mohaymen and Gun Runner (starting at No. 5).
The "winner" of unlucky No. 17-- with no wins in the history of the Kentucky Derby -- went to Bob Baffert's colt, Mor Spirit.
142nd Kentucky Derby field
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