The Importance of Post Position When Betting the Derby
Positioned for Success
With the Kentucky Derby fast approaching, let’s examine another critical element of the race that could help predict the race’s outcome. The Kentucky Derby is a race comprised of 20 horses, double the size of the typical field of ten horses in a specific horse race. With 20 horses vying for space on a crowded track, post position can often dictate the outcome of the derby.
Click here to sign up and AmWager will give you a 100% First Deposit Match Bonus, of up to $150.
What is Post Position?
Post position refers to the starting gate assigned to a horse prior to the race. The positions are given based on a random draw prior to the running of the race. With twenty stalls across the track, things can get crowded. The #1 position is right near the rail. If that horse happens to get right out and hug the rail, the horse will have a shorter ride. Conversely, the 20th position is the furthest away from the rail and that horse may have trouble navigating back towards the middle of the track. Staying outside would result in the longest track to cover in the field.
Overall, the inside positions are more favorable since the distance to the first turn is the quickest and can allow a horse to save energy by hanging on the rail. The outside positions require a horse to exert more energy earlier in the race to get toward the middle of the track and ultimately run a longer race. The odds of a horse winning usually change based on the post position.
Click here to sign up with TwinSpires and their $400 sign-up Bonus
2023 Kentucky Derby Post Positions
1. Hit Show 30-1 11. Disarm 30-1
2. Verifying 15-1 12. Jace’s Road 15-1
3. Two Phil's 12-1 13. Sun Thunder 30-1
4. Confidence Game 20-1 14. Angel of Empire 8-1
5. Tapit Trice 5-1 15. Forte 3-1
6. Kingsbarns 12-1 16. Raise Cain 15-1
7. Reincarnate 50-1 17. Derma Sotogake 10-1
8. Mage 15-1 18. Rocket Can 15-1
9. Skinner 20-1 19. Lord Miles 30-1
10. Practical Move10-1 20. Continuar 50-1
*Odds courtesy of Draftkings
Click here to sign up with FanDuel’s $20 No Sweat Bet
History of Derby Winners at Each Position
Position # of Wins Last Win
1 8 Ferdinand (1986)
2 7 Affirmed (1978)
3 5 Real Quiet (1998)
4 5 Super Saver (2010)
5 10 Always Dreaming (2017)
6 2 Sea Hero (1993)
7 7 Justify (2018)
8 9 Medina Spirit (2021)*
9 4 Riva Ridge (1972)
10 9 Giacomo (2005)
11 2 Winning Colors (1988)
12 3 Canonero II (1971)
13 5 Nyquist (2016)
14 2 Carry Back (1961)
15 6 Authentic (2020)
16 4 Animal Kingdom (2011)
17 0 -
18 2 Country House (2019)
19 1 I'll Have Another (2012)
20 2 Big Brown (2008), Rich Strike (2022)
* History of post-position wins courtesy of Covers.com
A quick look at the history of post-position wins reveals that Tapit Trice at 5-1 in the fifth position might be a solid play. Hit Show at 30-1 may be in a prime spot on the rail at the #1 post-position as well and Mage in the 8th post-position could also be profitable plays if you base things on post position. Finally, let’s all say a prayer for Derma Sotogake out of Japan who is running out of the 17th post-position. There has never been a horse to finish in the money from the 17th position in Kentucky Derby history.