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Apr 30, 2010

Post position draw truly significant for Derby

By: By Don Agriss, Horse Racing Editor


Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - The possible outcome of this year's Kentucky Derby, more than any other year, may have already been decided. The post position draw on Wednesday showed that anything can happen when people simply allow things to occur naturally.

For the first time in over a decade the post draw for the Run for the Roses was the usual 'pill pull' instead of the two-tiered system that had been in use. The drama this year was real and newsworthy.

Champion colt Lookin At Lucky, trained by Bob Baffert, received the worst possible post in the race. The 3-1 favorite will break from the inside post, up against the rail in the main gate. No horse has won from the one hole since Ferdinand in 1986.

"This horse, he can't catch a break," noted Baffert. "We named him wrong. Can we change the name? You know what? You can't worry about that. We've made it this far. Nothing surprises me with this horse. He just can't catch a break. He's either inside or outside. If they hadn't changed the draw, I would have finally gotten the first break after all those years.

"It is what it is. You can't worry about that. You've got to break well. If he doesn't break well then you're screwed."

Lookin At Lucky started from the outside post in last year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile when he finished second to Vale of York.

"There no use in crying about it," said co-owner Mike Pegram. "All we've got to do is think positive. Real Quiet was buried down on the rail (post 3) in '98 and he came through. It's all about position and I've got the best jockey. We'll just see what happens.

"I feel very comfortable with Garrett (jockey Garrett Gomez). Garrett has been around there. He knows how to do it and we'll get there. That's the good thing about Lookin At Lucky. Coming in, I wasn't apprehensive because he's talented enough that he'll be able to run his race from anywhere."

Pegram has to think good thoughts. However, there are 19 other horses in the race and the angle of the rail at the start makes the one post almost impossible to overcome.

"When you get lemons you make lemonade, right," Pegram added. "It's better to have a good trip than a good post position. It's ironic that he drew the total outside in the Breeders' Cup and then he comes and draws the rail in the Derby. With a little bit of luck in the Breeders' Cup he still would have overcome that because we didn't get the trip there. If we get a good trip, there is no reason why this horse should not run his race. We'll find out if he's good enough to win."

Meanwhile, 5-1 second choice Sidney's Candy will start from post 20 on the extreme outside. This should not prove to be as much of a problem since the colt is a speed horse.

"Not the best of draws," said trainer John Sadler. "What can I say? At least you're outside and can see what's going on. It just shows you how tough it is (to win any race, and especially this race). But what are you going to do? That's how it works. You've just got to deal with what you've got and do the best you can with it."

Big Brown in 2008 won the race from the far outside post.

Sidney's Candy is one of several speed horses in the race. Everything points toward a horse that can come from off the pace to win the Derby.

Trainer D. Wayne Lukas has a great opportunity to claim his fifth Kentucky Derby win with Dublin. The chestnut colt drew post 17 for the 1 1/4-mile race.

"Your draw is always in relation to where everybody else draws," Lukas commented. "Where the other horses are is more important probably than where you drew. That dictates your strategy. Certain horses that have certain styles are compromised by various positions. This one complements us. We're very happy there. And I've been lucky out there, too."

Three of Lukas' Derby winners broke from the auxiliary gate, Winning Colors, post 11; Thunder Gulch, 16; Grindstone, 15 and Charismatic, 16.

Dublin will be ridden for the third time by veteran jockey Terry Thompson. In the Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park the pair were second to Conveyance, beaten by less than a length. Dublin came from eighth to nearly catch the eventual winner.

The next month Dublin was ridden by Corey Nakatani in Oaklawn's Rebel. They were third to Lookin At Lucky after making a four wide move. In the Arkansas Derby Thompson was back aboard the colt and missed by a half-length to finish third behind longshot Line of David.

Dublin, 12-1 in the program, is one of those horses that is always in the money. The outside post should not prove to be a problem as Thompson will make sure his mount stays out of trouble. Look for Dublin to make a solid move around the turn for home and prove to be the best on the first Saturday in May.

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