Trainer Bob Baffert was late in arriving at the post position draw for the 2018 Kentucky Derby, but if he was worried about where his horses would draw, he needn’t have been.
By the time Baffert arrived, his Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) winner Justify had drawn post seven in the “Run for the Roses,” an ideal position that has cemented the unbeaten colt as the horse to beat and the 3-1 favorite on the morning line.
Justify was one of several top Derby contenders that landed ideal post positions during Monday’s draw, a departure from previous years that have seen drama ranging from champion Lookin at Lucky drawing the rail to the well-regarded Wicked Strong receiving post twenty. Quite to the contrary, the 2018 Derby post draw went smoothly for the majority of the favorites, including the 5-1 second choice Mendelssohn (post fourteen), who is unproven racing in traffic on dirt and who figures to work out a clean trip while drawing in the outer half of the field. Solomini, the second of Baffert’s two runners, also received a reasonably good draw in gate seventeen.
The two-time Kentucky Derby-winning trainer Todd Pletcher entered four horses in the Derby and had somewhat mixed luck at the draw; Wood Memorial (gr. II) winner Vino Rosso and Louisiana Derby (gr. II) winner Noble Indy drew a bit wide in posts eighteen and nineteen, but Arkansas Derby (gr. I) winner and 6-1 third choice Magnum Moon did a bit better with post sixteen and Florida Derby (gr. I) winner Audible drew well in post five.
Good Magic, the champion two-year-old of 2017, landed in between Audible and Justify while drawing post six. Bolt d’Oro, runner-up behind Justify in the Santa Anita Derby and the co-fourth choice on the Derby morning line with Audible, received arguably the best draw of all in gate eleven.
Two of the fastest pace horses in the Derby field are Promises Fulfilled and Flameaway, so the fact that they drew posts three and four—right next to each other and close to the rail—should ensure that the run to the first turn is quick. That could be beneficial to the late-running Combatant, who unfortunately will have to overcome breaking from post twenty.
The complete field for the 2018 Kentucky Derby is as follows:
|1||Firenze Fire||Paco Lopez||Jason Servis||50-1|
|2||Free Drop Billy||Robby Albarado||Dale Romans||30-1|
|3||Promises Fulfilled||Corey Lanerie||Dale Romans||30-1|
|4||Flameaway||Jose Lezcano||Mark Casse||30-1|
|5||Audible||Javier Castellano||Todd Pletcher||8-1|
|6||Good Magic||Jose Ortiz||Chad Brown||12-1|
|7||Justify||Mike Smith||Bob Baffert||3-1|
|8||Lone Sailor||James Graham||Tom Amoss||50-1|
|9||Hofburg||Irad Ortiz, Jr.||Bill Mott||20-1|
|10||My Boy Jack||Kent Desormeaux||Keith Desormeaux||30-1|
|11||Bolt d’Oro||Victor Espinoza||Mick Ruis||8-1|
|12||Enticed||Junior Alvarado||Kiaran McLaughlin||30-1|
|13||Bravazo||Luis Contreras||D. Wayne Lukas||50-1|
|14||Mendelssohn||Ryan Moore||Aidan O’Brien||5-1|
|15||Instilled Regard||Drayden Van Dyke||Jerry Hollendorfer||50-1|
|16||Magnum Moon||Luis Saez||Todd Pletcher||6-1|
|17||Solomini||Flavien Prat||Bob Baffert||30-1|
|18||Vino Rosso||John Velazuez||Todd Pletcher||12-1|
|19||Noble Indy||Florent Geroux||Todd Pletcher||30-1|
|20||Combatant||Ricardo Santana, Jr.||Steve Asmussen||50-1|
|AE||Blended Citizen||Kyle Frey||Doug O’Neill||50-1|