Post positions for Kentucky Derby 131.

Post positions for Kentucky Derby 131.

Skip Dickstein

Bellamy Road the 5-2 Choice in Kentucky Derby

By Ron Mitchell and Pete Spanos--
Middle to outside places were in vogue Wednesday when the connections of 20 starters selected post positions for Saturday's $2-million Kentucky Derby (gr. I), for which Bellamy Road was installed as the 5-2 favorite.

The order in which the post positions could be selected was determined by a draw earlier in the day, and owner Michael Tabor used the first choice to select post position 15 for Toyota Blue Grass (gr. I) winner Bandini.

Trainer Tim Ritchey quickly went to the middle for 9-2 second-choice Afleet Alex, the Arkansas Derby (gr. II) winner who will start from post 12.

"I would have taken 15 if I had first choice," Ritchey said. "I think Todd (Pletcher) did the right thing, but number 12 will give him a lot of room to maneuver. And, I'm from Pittsburgh and that number has been very good with Terry Bradshaw winning four Super Bowls."

Rider Jeremy Rose was pleased. "It should work out well," said Rose. "Other than the first two or the last two positions, it's really all the same."

For his part, Pletcher, who chose first with Bandini, said it was the auxiliary gate's recent history that aided his decision to put the dark bay son of Fusaichi Pegasus  there.

"We wanted to be toward the outside, and five out of the last 10 winners have come from the auxiliary gate. We wanted to stay clear of the inside traffic. Plus, if there's a scratch you go to 14 and you're in the same position."

Pletcher also used the fourth choice to place Eugene and Laura Melnyk's Flower Alley in the seventh spot from the rail.

Representatives of the Derby starters had 60 seconds to make their selections, but the process went quickly with no one deliberating very long. For some, the process was not very scientific.

Trainer Warren Stute selected post nine for B. Wayne Hughes' Greeley's Galaxy because "I heard it (9 post position) was lucky."

Bob Lewis, who with wife Beverly has won the Derby with Silver Charm and Charismatic, chose 19 with the 19th selection for their son of Golden Missile, Going Wild. Dr. Charlie Graham, a lengendary Texas horseman and longtime friend of Going Wild's trainer, D. Wayne Lukas, carried the placard to the podium for the Lewises.

"They were nice enough to leave two holes open for us," Bob Lewis said afterwards. "We're more than pleased. I like the outside anyway, and Going Wild can create a burst of speed to put himself in position."

Coin Silver's majority owner, John Fort, was surprised that the number five was left when his Peachtree Stable outfit put their silks on the board after 14 places had gone before them.

"It was available," laughed Fort with his wife Elizabeth after the draw. "This is an excellent post. For sentimental reasons, Elizabeth and I were looking at 13 because Invisible Ink ran so well from that position to get second in 2001. So she said, 'Maybe we should get 12 to move up a place.' We were looking for the auxiliary gate."

Trainer Bob Baffert, who has saddled three winners--Silver Charm, Real Quiet, and War Emblem--said he was happy to get the rail with the 18th choice for Sort It Out, a son of Out of Place owned by the partnership of Stonerside Stable and Preferred Pals Stable.

"I was hoping number one would be left," said the conditioner. "I definitely didn't want 17. Nobody has ever won from there."

The trainer of last year's Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) winner Wilko knows he needs to buck history as no winner of that contest has ever gone on to win the Derby.

"We're very happy with 14," said Craig Dollase, who conditions the son of Awesome Again  for co-owners Susan Roy and J. Paul Reddam. "He's a talented colt, and we've got plenty of speed on the inside of us."

Trainer Nick Zito, who enters the first Saturday in May with five starters in his care, used the 10th choice to put his morning line favorite Bellamy Road in the 16th starting post.

"He's a great big horse, and we wanted to keep him on the outside," said Zito.

Trainer Bobby Frankel chose post 6 with the fifth pick.

"A lot of people would have drawn outside," said the man who sent out Master David in last year's edition, "but I'm a believer in saving ground; I want to save ground."

The post postions, with jockeys, and morning line odds:

1--Sort It Out (Brice Blanc), 50-1
2-Andromeda's Hero (Rafael Bejarano), 50-1
3--Sun King (Edgar Prado), 15-1
4--Noble Causeway (Gary Stevens), 12-1
5--Coin Silver (Pat Valenzuela), 20-1
6--High Limit (Ramon Dominguez), 12-1
7--Flower Alley (Jorge Chavez), 20-1
8--Greater Good (John McKee), 20-1
9--Greeley's Galaxy (Kent Desormeaux), 15-1
10--Giacomo (Mike Smith), 50-1
11--High Fly (Jerry Bailey), 8-1
12--Afleet Alex (Jeremy Rose), 9-2
13--Spanish Chestnut (Joe Bravo) 50-1
14--Wilko (Corey Nakatani) 20-1
15--Bandini (John Velazquez) 6-1
16--Bellamy Road (Javier Castellano), 5-2
17--Don't Get Mad (Tyler Baze), 30-1
18--Closing Argument (Cornelio Velasquez), 30-1
19--Going Wild (Jose Valdivia Jr.), 50-1
20--Buzzards Bay (Mark Guidry), 20-1