Kentucky Derby Winners by Post Position: A Deep Dive Into The Draw

kentucky derby stalls
kentucky derby stalls

The Kentucky Derby, dubbed “The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports,” one of the world’s most prestigious annual horse races is just days away. In a quest to find a winner, many people look to the post position draw for an edge, but is that edge real? In this article, we reexamine the historical significance of post positions in determining Kentucky Derby winners and explore how these trends have evolved in the 21st century.

  • 🐴 Event: Kentucky Derby
  • 📅 Date & Time: May 6th, 6:57 pm
  • 🌎 Location: Churchill Downs, Kentucky
  • 📺 TV Channel: NBC
  • 🎲 Kentucky Derby Odds: Forte +325 | Tapit Trice +600 | Angel of Empire +800

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All-Time Post Position Records

Since the starting gate’s inception in 1930, post positions have been crucial in shaping the race’s outcome. Here’s a breakdown of the total number of Kentucky Derby winners from each post position:

  • Gate 1: 8 winners
  • Gate 2: 7 winners
  • Gate 3: 5 winners
  • Gate 4: 5 winners
  • Gate 5: 10 winners
  • Gate 6: 2 winners
  • Gate 7: 8 winners
  • Gate 8: 8 winners
  • Gate 9: 4 winners
  • Gate 10: 9 winners
  • Gate 11: 2 winners
  • Gate 12: 3 winners
  • Gate 13: 5 winners
  • Gate 14: 2 winners
  • Gate 15: 6 winners
  • Gate 16: 4 winners
  • Gate 17: 0 winners
  • Gate 18: 2 winners
  • Gate 19: 1 winner
  • Gate 20: 2 winners

Records Split: Post Positions 1-10 and Post Positions 11-20

Dividing the post positions into two groups (1-10 and 11-20) reveals some fascinating trends. Positions 1-10 have produced 66 winners, while positions 11-20 have yielded 27 winners in the history of the Kentucky Derby. The data indicates a distinct advantage for horses starting closer to the rail. However, once we delve into more recent trends, we can see a potential shift in this advantage and the reasons for that.

Post Position Records Since 2000 (1-10 and 11-20)

Examining the winners since 2000, we notice some changes in post position trends:

  • Gates 1-10: 12 winners
  • Gates 11-20: 11 winners

Since the turn of the century, the distribution of winners has become more balanced, with only a slight edge for horses in positions 1-10. And when we further break this down, more patterns begin to emerge. With more runners in the Kentucky Derby in recent years, we are now starting to see that there could be little to no bias in the draw, especially where the outside stalls are concerned.

Records for 1-5, 6-15, and 16-20

Further categorizing the post positions into three groups, we find the following:

  • Gates 1-5: 35 winners (with 10 coming from position 5)
  • Gates 6-15: 49 winners
  • Gates 16-20: 9 winners

The data suggests that the middle positions are slightly more favorable, while the farthest positions have the least likelihood of success. However, looking at the winners since 2000 can provide additional insight into how these trends have evolved.

Post Position Records Since 2000 (1-5, 6-15, and 16-20)

Taking a closer look at the records since 2000, we notice some changes in post position trends:

  • Gates 1-5: 5 winners (4 from position 5)
  • 6-15: 12 winners
  • 16-20: 6 winners

The data shows a much more even distribution of winners since the turn of the century. In fact, six of the nine winners from post positions 16-20 have occurred since 2000, indicating that an outside draw is not disadvantageous. In fact, the outside stalls have had more success than those drawn on the inside.

Post Position Draw and Odds for 2023 Kentucky Derby

Here is the complete post position draw for the 2023 Kentucky Derby:

Post Position Horse Odds Sportsbook
1 Hit Show +3300
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2 Verifying +1400
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3 Two Phil’s +2000
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4 Confidence Game +2500
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5 Tapit Trice +600
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6 Kingsbarns +1200
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7 Reincarnate +3300
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8 Mage +1600
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9 Skinner +2000
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10 Practical Move +1000
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11 Disarm +3300
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12 Jace’s Road +5000
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13 Sun Thunder +5000
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14 Angel Of Empire
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15 Forte +325
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16 Raise Cain +5000
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17 Derma Sotogake
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18 Rocket Can
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19 Lord Miles
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20 Continuar +6600
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*Prices are correct at time of publication, but are subject to fluctuation

Summarizing the Data

The revised analysis of historical Kentucky Derby data shows that there may be a little draw bias, but that may be that getting a very low draw is worse than being drawn high. While historically, positions 1-10 have held a clear advantage, that seems to be because of the number of runners increasing in more recent years.

An outside draw appears to be non-problematic since the turn of the century. However, something else to bear in mind is there hasn’t been a winner from positions 1-3 since 1998. So, it could be that a wider draw is now a little more advantageous than being drawn on the very inside.

This means bad news for Hit Show (+3300), Verifying (+1400), and Two Phils (+2000), who are in stalls 1 through 3, but better news for horses like Derma Sotogake (+1400), who is drawn in the cursed 17 gate.

Factors Contributing to Evolving Trends

Several factors could be contributing to the evolving trends in post position success at the Kentucky Derby. Besides the obvious fact, there are now more runners from outside stalls, changes in training techniques, advancements in track surfaces, and improvements in racing strategy may all play a role in diminishing the importance of post positions.

Additionally, the overall quality and competitiveness of the horses participating in the race could be contributing to the more evenly distributed success across post positions in recent years.

In this year’s Kentucky Derby, top contenders like Forte (+325, post position 15) and Tapit Trice (+600, post position 5) find themselves in historically successful post positions. This could be good news for Todd Pletcher, who trains both.

As anticipation builds for the 2023 Kentucky Derby, the importance of post positions remains questionable. Will the evolving trends in post position success continue, or will a new champion emerge from an unexpected position?

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