No Surprises in Derby Entries; Eddington, Rock Hard Ten Out

By Ron Mitchell and
Margaret Ransom

Although only 20 will start, 22 horses were entered Wednesday for Saturday's Kentucky Derby (gr. I) at Churchill Downs.

Under rules that limit the Derby field to 20 starters, two Derby hopefuls – Eddington and Rock Hard Ten – were eliminated by virtue of not having enough purse earnings in graded stakes company to qualify for the 20-horse field.

Despite reports that the filly Ashado would be entered in the Derby and scratched out of Friday's Kentucky Oaks (gr. I), there were no surprises during the entry process. Shortly after the horses were entered, Churchill racing officials conducted a draw to determine the order in which connections of the Derby starters will get to select their preferred post positions. The post position draw will be held from 5-6 p.m. Wednesday.

The Derby starters, with jockeys, and the order in which they will get to draw for post positions are:

1 -- Minister Eric, Pat Day
2 -- Master David, Alex Solis
3 -- Friends Lake, Richard Migliore
4 -- Imperialism, Kent Desormeaux
5 -- St Averil, Tyler Baze
6 -- Action This Day, David Flores
7 -- Wimbledon, Jerry Bailey
8 -- The Cliff's Edge, Shane Sellers
9 -- Pollard's Vision, John Velazquez
10 -- Borrego, Victor Espinoza
11 -- Smarty Jones, Stewart Elliott
12 -- Read the Footnotes, Robby Albarado
13 -- Birdstone, Edgar Prado
14 -- Lion Heart, Mike Smith
15 -- Castledale, Jose Valdivia
16 -- Tapit, Ramon Dominguez
17 -- Pro Prado, John McKee
18 -- Song of the Sword, Norberto Arroyo
19 -- Limehouse, Jose Santos
20 -- Quintons Gold Rush, Corey Nakatani

Trainer Richard Mandella said he was pleased with the order in which he will get to draw post positions for his two Derby starters, Minister Eric (first) and Action This Day (sixth).

"I'm very happy for both horses," Mandella said. "We have lots of options, which is the ideal situation."

"It's not so bad," said co-owner Frank Lyons of the number 15 selection for Castledale. "I know we won't be down on the inside in (post) one and I know we won't be on the outside in 20. It could be worse."

"I'm happy," trainer Kristin Mulhall said of the number four draw position for her Imperialism. "I really don't know which one (post) we'll choose but I definitely want (number) one so he can be one of the last to be loaded."

Patrick Biancone, who trains Lion Heart (number 14 draw), said, "There will be several good spots left so I'm not unhappy."

``We were realistic," Eddington trainer Mark Hennig said from Belmont Park, where the colt will now be pointed to the Preakness (gr. I) on May 15. . This wasn't a momentous occasion today,''

Rock Hard Ten was scratched from last Saturday's Derby Trial (gr. III), hoping a spot would open in the Derby. Now, it's on to the Preakness for trainer Jason Orman.

``It was a gamble and it didn't pay off,'' Orman said. ``It's disappointing, but there's nothing we can do about it now.''

The Associated Press contributed to this story.