Lookin At Lucky on Rail; Sidney's Candy in 20
Post 1, while it hasn’t produced a winner since Ferdinand in 1986, has the most wins in the Kentucky Derby, along with post 5, since 1900. For an overview of winning Kentucky Derby post positions, click here.
Lookin At Lucky was made the 3-1 favorite by Churchill Downs’ oddsmaker Mike Battaglia. Sidney's Candy , the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) winner, drew the far outside 20 post and was made the 5-1 second choice.
Big Brown won from post 20 in 2008.
Lookin At Lucky, who will be sent out by three-time Derby-winning trainer Bob Baffert, will be ridden by Garrett Gomez. Owned by Mike Pegram in partnership with Karl Watson and Paul Weitman, Lookin At Lucky was last year’s champion 2-year-old male. This year, he won the Rebel Stakes (gr. II) by a head over Noble’s Promise, and was a troubled third behind Sidney’s Candy in the Santa Anita Derby. Pegram won the 1998 Derby with Real Quiet.
Ironically, Lookin At Lucky drew the outside post 13 in the Grey Goose Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) and finished second, beaten a head by Vale of York.
"This horse, he can’t catch a break," Baffert said. "We named him wrong. 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."
Sidney’s Candy, trained by John Sadler, is a homebred for Jenny Craig and her late husband, Sid. The son of Candy Ride is three for three this year while running on the front end. He has won the seven-furlong San Vicente Stakes (gr. II), the 1 1/16-miles San Felipe Stakes (gr. II), and the nine-furlong Santa Anita Derby.
"Not the best of draws," Sadler said of the draw. "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."
Sadler added that he liked the post position for Line of David. "It’s a good post. I like it for him. We’ll try to take advantage of it."
Trainer Todd Pletcher will send out four horses in the Derby. WinStar Farm’s Super Saver (15-1) drew post 4 and will be ridden by Calvin Borel; Mission Impazible (20-1) will break from post 14 under Rajiv Maragh; Discreetly Mine (30-1) drew post 15 with Javier Castellano named to ride; and the filly Devil May Carewill have John Velazquez up and break from post 11.
“All in all I thought we did really well in the draw,” said Pletcher. Here is his analysis of each::
Super Saver: "Perfect. I was hoping for a spot down by the rail. We’ve got Calvin (Borel) up, so you know where he’s going to want to go."
Devil May Care: "I like her draw. It’s a good spot. The only caution I feel is the fact that she’ll be loading right near the start of it and will have to do some waiting. But other than that, it’s fine." On the filly putting blinkers on: "We’ve been thinking about doing it since her (last start in the) Bonnie Miss (at Gulfstream March 20). When she made the lead that day she started easing up and looking around. We’ve been training her in them (blinkers) since and now it has become a no-brainer. It will just help her focus."
Mission Impazible and Discreetly Mine: "I like both their spots on either side of the break (in the starting gate). (In the 20-horse Derby field, the first 14 horses are loaded in the standard gate, the last six in an auxiliary gate parked outside of it. There is a break of approximately nine feet between the gates.) I went back and looked at some earlier Derbys and saw that General Challenge (Post No. 14 in 1999) got banged pretty good coming out of there, but for the most part that break is a good thing and allows a rider some room. I like the locations for both horses."
“My brother had a dream that the horse was crossing the finish line first wearing number 11,” said Johnny Greathouse, who owns Devil May Care with his family’s Glencrest Farm. “We were looking for number 7 because Venetian Way (bred by Greathouse’s father, J. W. Greathouse) wore 7 (in winning the 1960 Derby).”
“We were glad our name got called (last one drawn),” said Steve Davison of Twin Creeks Racing Stable, owner of Mission Impazible. “Number 14 is reasonable for our running style. We are the last one in the main gate, so there is room to the outside.”
WinStar Farm’s American Lion , winner of the Illinois Derby (gr. II), drew a comfortable spot in post 7. He’ll open at 30-1 and be ridden by David Flores.
“It sure worked out for us, so we’ll see,” said trainer Eoin Harty. “He still has to move forward. Lookin At Lucky and Sidney’s Candy are the ones to beat. Perfect scenario, he will sit right off Conveyance, who will probably set some pretty brisk fractions. I don’t think he will be way off of him though.”
Donegal Racing’s Paddy O'Prado also drew well, in post 10.
“It’s a perfect spot for me,” said trainer Dale Romans. “I couldn’t have picked a better post. It sure seems like he’s peaking at the right time. We’re excited.”
"The post position is perfect,” said Jerry Crawford of Donegal Racing. “It's the luck of the Irish and Sidney's Candy and Lookin At Lucky didn't get it."
Ken Ramsey is the breeder and owner of Dean's Kitten, the Lane’s End Stakes (gr. II) winner. Dean’s Kitten drew post 8 and will be ridden by Robby Albarado. The son of Kitten’s Joy was ridden by Cornelio Velazquez in his three 2010 starts.
“We picked up Robby Albarado,” Ramsey said. “We thought we had someone else lined up but they jumped ship at the last minute. I guess 50-1 odds scared them off. But we got a prime-time jockey. I expect Robby to do a good job.
“We’re going to do our best to win. I wouldn’t go out on a limb and say we’re going to win, but I will go out a limb and say he will not finish last. I’ll go on ahead and say we’ll finish in the top half."
Dean's Kitten is trained by Mike Maker, who also conditions Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) winner Stately Victor . Stately Victor drew post 6 for the Derby.
"It’s not terrible," Maker said of Stately Victor's gate position. "It wouldn’t have been my first choice. The main reason I wanted to be outside was just to try to stay out of trouble. Let him get in a rhythm and then get to freewheelin'.
"I think Dean’s Kitten drew great," the trainer added. "I didn’t think post position would be as much of an issue for him. He’s not a great big horse, and he has a better chance of overcoming any problems he may encounter from there."
“He always had speed from the gate,” said Nick Sallusto, part owner of Homeboykris. Homeboykris (50-1) will break from post 19. “There is no speed on the inside of him so he can get into a good position. Big Brown won from the number 20 post position.”
"We’re going to have to deal with it," trainer Rick Dutrow said of Homeboykris' draw.
The reactions of other trainers with starters in this year's Kentucky Derby:
Awesome Act(post position 16): Co-owner Tom Ludt said, "I’m happy. He’s a closer and not inside, so we should be able to sit out and ride comfortably. Obviously, we didn’t want the ‘1’ and we didn’t get that, so it shouldn’t have any impact on us. It should give us a chance to break and get comfortable. I didn’t want to be out there on the lead, so I’m happy about it."
Backtalk(post position 18): Trainer Tom Amoss said, "I’d like to answer that after they’ve gone a quarter-of-a-mile. You don’t know. Any post can be trouble in a 20-horse field. The outside does alleviate the traffic but at the same time it could cause you to be wide. I’d like to see it be a clean race where everyone has a fair chance to win, if I had my way."
Dublin (post position 17): Trainer D. Wayne Lukas said, "Great. I like it. Your draw is always in relation to where everybody else draws. Where the other horses are is more important probably that 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."
Make Music for Me (post position 9): Trainer Alexis Barba said, "It’s perfect. I think I’ve asked for ‘10’ and I got ‘9’ so how much closer can you get? It’s a good balanced post."
Noble's Promise (post position 3): Trainer Ken McPeek said, "I wanted to be inside the 12 post, nothing too far out, and I wanted to be inside both Dublin and Jackson Bend because both of those have a history of getting out. So it worked out very well for us. The fact that the two horses drawn inside of us are both closers is even better. It’s a real good set-up for us. I’m thrilled."
Twenty-two 3-year-olds were entered. Excluded from the Run for the Roses were Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Pleasant Prince and Wertheimer and Frere’s Setsuko. Setsuko had already been entered in the April 30 American Turf Stakes (gr. IIT).
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