Post position key heading into Derby

ROB LONGLEY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:42 PM ET

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Trainer Bob Baffert might start wondering if his horseshoes are in the right places.

The silver-haired Californian is favoured to win his fourth Kentucky Derby this Saturday but with an asterisk.

When it comes to his talented three-year-old colt Lookin At Lucky, there’s not much good luck at all.

The champion two-year-old colt — the 3-1 choice in the morning line at the famed Churchill Downs — drew the doomed one-hole at Wednesday’s post position draw.

It’s a huge obstacle for the star-crossed youngster who will need to prove he’s the class of the field to triumph in the 1 1/4-mile opening jewel of the Triple Crown.

“He just can’t catch a break,” Baffert said after the draw. “We named him wrong. Can we change the name (to Unlucky)?

“Plan A is to break well, Plan B is we’re screwed.”

In his previous race, Lookin At Lucky’s misfortune was restricted to the track.

Favoured in the Santa Anita Derby, his final prep for the Run for the Roses, Lookin At Lucky was making his move on the final turn when he got badly bumped and squeezed in traffic, almost coming to a stop.

He recovered nicely that day to finish third with a big rally at the end, a major reason he is favoured to shine under the historic Twin Spires.

The previous time a horse won the Derby breaking from the rail, however, was Ferdinand in 1986.

No horse has even hit the trifecta from the inside post since Risen Star took the show spot two years later.

Even though it is the shortest way around the track, the rail in the Derby is a death sentence because of the big 20-horse field and the usual mad-rush for the lead into the first turn. Often horses in the inside get buried by a wall of horses.

If there is any consolation, it is that the other top contender drew an equally cumbersome starting slot for the 1 1/4-mile race that demands a clean trip and doses of good luck over the two minutes and change it takes to run.

Sidney’s Candy, the horse that benefitted from Lookin At Lucky’s misfortune and won the Santa Anita Derby, is the 5-1 second choice and will start from the outside Post 20.

Big Brown overcame that handicap in 2008 but unlike either Lookin At Lucky or Sidney’s Candy, he was a standout in the field.

Churchill oddsmaker Mike Battaglia doesn’t believe bettors will pay undue attention to the post positions.

“Lookin At Lucky’s got to be the favourite,” Battaglia said.

“Good post? No. Kiss of death? No. The top two (choices) were pretty easy to pick. It gets pretty tricky after that.”

As expected, the Derby drew a full field of 20.

Earlier in the week, the horse that would have been favoured, Eskendereya, had to be withdrawn from the race because of injury.

Post time for Sunday’s storied event is 6:20 p.m.


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