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Bob Baffert, Gary Stevens, and Prince Ahmed Salman of the Thoroughbred Corp. discuss strategy before selecting post 17 for Point Given.

Derby Winner Poll - vote for who you think will win

Kentucky Derby Post Positions

Dateline: 05/02/01

The big day is almost here! Post positions were drawn this afternoon for the 127th Kentucky Derby and 17 horses were entered. This year is the first year with the new rule of no entries for races with a purse of $1 million or more so there will be no entries or mutuel field. All horses are separate betting interests.

Like last year, they drew for selection order then each made their choice and hung the silks in the gate number they wanted. The draw seemed a bit less random than it should have been since the horses were called in reverse alphabetical order, as if they hadn't been shuffled enough but none of the trainers seemed worried about it afterwards at the press conference. Nick Zito had the first choice of post positions and he selected #9 for A P Valentine, who was mistakenly called A P Indy by Dave Johnson. Songandaprayer chose last and his owner Bobby Hurley let his daughter hang the silks in the #1 hole.

Past performances are available for free online from the Daily Racing Form here in Adobe Acrobat PDF format. Post time for the Derby is 6:04pm EDT and between ESPN, ESPN2, and NBC there will be TV coverage all day long (schedule). I will be there so check back on Saturday night for photos and results.

The Kentucky Derby

Here is the field in post position order. Distance is 1 1/4 miles and all entrants carry 126 lbs. The purse is $1,000,000 Guaranteed Minimum Gross. Click on the horse's name to see full info on him.
# / PPHorseJockeyTrainerM/L Odds
1SongandaprayerGryder Dowd 20-1
2Millennium WindPincay Hofmans 6-1
3Balto StarGuidry Pletcher 8-1
4Thunder BlitzPrado Orseno 30-1
5Fifty StarsMeche Asmussen 50-1
6Express TourFlores bin Suroor 15-1
7Arctic BoyBorel Ritchey 50-2
8CongareeEspinoza Baffert 5-1
9A P ValentineNakatani Zito 15-1
10Dollar BillDay Stewart 10-1
11Talk Is MoneyBailey Scanlan 50-1
12StartacSolis Bray 50-1
13Invisible InkVelazquez Pletcher 30-1
14KeatsMelancon O'Callaghan 30-1
15Jamaican RumDelahoussaye Cassidy 50-1
16MonarchosChavez Ward 6-1
17Point GivenStevens Baffert 9-5

Fifty starts draws off from Millennium Wind, Hero's Tribute, and Dollar Bill in the Louisiana Derby.

The Derby is a tough race to handicap. For the most part you have the best 3 year olds in the country all primed and read for a peak performance. Plus you have the huge field to throw in some traffic problems to confuse it farther. It is also one of the most over analyzed races in the world with every little statistic you can imagine extracted from the data.

This year Point Given has done nothing wrong while prepping for the Derby which has made him a huge favorite. There are a few who can give him a run for his money though. Monarchos gave a spectacular performance in the Florida Derby and while some knock him for never having won outside Florida, he still has not run any bad races and has a perfect stalking style for a win here. Millennium Wind also has a good shot, but he needs to back off the speed a bit and stalk more since there is an overabundance of speed in the race. If Dollar Bill can manage to stay out of trouble and Pat Day doesn't wait too long to make his move, he also has the style and speed to win. Congaree has the raw talent and speed to win but will be battling on the front end and may get burnt out. Several others also have the ability to jump up here given a good trip and some racing luck like Balto Star, Jamaican Rum, or Invisible Ink.

Have fun watching the Derby and enjoying the spectacle that it is. This year we have a very talented field so it should be a really good race.

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Photos by author except where noted.

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