Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - The 138th running of the Kentucky Derby features one of the deepest fields in recent memory. No less than 10 of the 20 horses have a realistic chance of winning, but some of those will be overlays while others will be underlays based on past performances and post positions.
Regardless of which colt crosses the wire first, the easiest bet to cash might be the one that correctly chooses the horse to finish last. The pick here is the speedster, Trinniberg, a horse that has never run farther than 7 furlongs. Look for him to back up approaching the far turn, something that could adversely affect the horses right behind him, one of which could be Union Rags.
The son of Dixie Union, who received a bad break by getting an inside post position (four), has already been trapped on the rail behind a wall of horses in two of his last four races. It will be up to Julien Leparoux to maneuver his way into the three or four path down the backstretch to avoid the same scenario in the Derby.
Another horse that will likely have a tougher chance to win based on post position draw is Take Charge Indy. The March foal is not as quick as the other early pacesetters, so breaking from post three means he will have to use some of his speed earlier than usual to not be throttled back heading into the first turn.
No Kentucky Derby winner has ever come from post 19, but that statistical anomaly could change with I'll Have Another breaking from the next-to-last slot. The only bright spot coming out of 19 is that he's quicker than the four horses to his inside, so he might not be as wide as one might expect.
Big Brown won from post 20 in 2008 and Nehro ran second from post 18 last year, so coming out of outside posts is not as much of a death sentence as breaking from an inside position, especially for a horse with tactical speed.
Finally, post 11 did not help Alpha in any way since the colt has had gate issues in the past. Don't forget, horses breaking from posts 1 and 11 load first, which means he'll be standing in the gate, as will Daddy Long Legs from the rail, for a longer period of time than the other horses.
The three colts that benefited most by the draw were Dullahan, Hansen and Gemologist.
Dullahan has made most of his closing moves up the rail before angling out into the stretch, so it appears he'll be able to stay close to the inside from post four for as long as Kent Desormeaux feels is necessary.
Hansen is outside the two early speeds (Bodemeister and Trinniberg) in post 14. Expect Ramon Dominguez to survey how fast those two colts are going as the field passes the stands the first time before he challenges for the lead.
Hansen should put forth an effort similar to his Gotham win as opposed to the breakneck pace he set the Blue Grass Stakes. Nevertheless, his ability to get the 10 furlongs is still a major question mark.
As for Gemologist, the undefeated 3-year-old is the first horse in the auxiliary gate (post 15), which means he'll have some empty space to his inside to gain decent positioning. Furthermore, he also does not have to show more speed than usual since Hansen (post 14) will already be way ahead of him.
How the Race Will be Run
Bodemeister has to break sharply from post six (something he did not do from the outside post in the Arkansas Derby) in order to sit the rail behind Trinniberg and maybe Hansen. Expect a quick early pace with the half coming up in 46 and change.
I'll Have Another, Take Charge Indy and Gemologist will track those three horses while Union Rags, Creative Cause and El Padrino should be in the next flight. Went the Day Well, Alpha and Daddy Nose Best will follow, about eight lengths off the pace, while the other seven horses should be at the back of the pack.
As the field swings around the far turn, Bodemeister and Hansen will engage in a tussle on the lead with I'll Have Another ready to engage on the outside. Creative Cause also will move up, but Union Rags will be stuck behind a wall of horses.
Heading into the stretch, I'll Have Another will find himself in front by a length with Creative Cause ranging up on the outside. Union Rags finally breaks through a narrow opening, but it might be a case of too little too late. Flying in the middle of the track will be Dullahan.
With one furlong out, I'll Have Another puts away Creative Cause and Mario Guttierez then goes to the whip to hold off the oncoming Dullahan. At the wire, it will be I'll Have Another by a short head with Dullahan second and Union Rags third.
Starting off with a mythical bankroll of $100, place $50 to win on I'll Have Another and $26 to win on Dullahan. For the final $24, go with a $2 exacta box of I'll Have Another, Dullahan, Union Rags and Creative Cause.
05/03 13:32:47 ET