Big Brown drew No. 16 at the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) post position selection order Wednesday morning, meaning that the probable Derby favorite may have to break from the auxiliary gate when the field of 20 lines up for action May 3 at Churchill Downs.
The post position selection order determines the sequence in which owners will select the gate that their horses will break from when the official Post Position Draw is held later today at Fourth Street Live! in Louisville. The draw will be televised live on ESPN from 5-6 p.m. EDT.
IEAH Stables and Paul Pompa Jr.’s Big Brown broke from post 12 when he won the March 29 Florida Derby (gr. I). The son of Boundary is a perfect 3-for-3 entering Thoroughbred racing’s biggest day.
“We probably would have liked something a little closer (to the inside), but we’re still confident,” said Richard Schiavo of IEAH. “We’ll probably be on the outside, but he has the tactical speed to get in the position he needs. We’re confident that Kent (Desormeaux) will still be able to put him in the right position.”
Also notable was that Eight Belles drew No. 6, guaranteeing that trainer Larry Jones will enter the filly in the Derby, not in the May 2 Kentucky Oaks (gr. I). Jones said the only way he would have opted for the Oaks is if Eight Belles was stuck in the auxiliary gate.
“Six was fine. We’ll find something in there that will fit us from there,” Jones said. “That pretty well cinched it for us. We’ll be out of the Oaks and in the Derby. We’re very happy.”
Interestingly, two of the early speed horses drew will select last. Recapturetheglory, who won the Illinois Derby (gr. II) in gate-to-wire fashion while breaking from post 1, drew No. 19, while Arkansas Derby (gr. II) winner Gayego drew No. 20. Both horses are expected to be near the lead in the early going.
Team Valor and Vision Racing will get to select first, as Visionaire drew No. 1. Trainer Michael Matz said the first pick is not all that important for them
“It’s not that big a deal for Visionaire. He’ll be coming from off the pace anyway,” Matz said.
There were four horses entered for the Kentucky Derby that were officially excluded because of insufficient graded stakes earnings. They are Halo Najib, Tomcito, El Gato Malo and Kentucky Bear.
The official post position selection order:
2. Big Truck
3. Colonel John
4. Z Fortune
6. Eight Belles
7. Anak Nakal
8. Court Vision
9. Z Humor
11. Smooth Air
13. Bob Black Jack
14. Denis of Cork
15. Cowboy Cal
16. Big Brown
17. Tale of Ekati
18. Cool Coal Man