What are trends among Derby winners?

May, 4, 2013
5/04/13
9:05
AM ET
Getting ready to make your pick for Saturday’s Kentucky Derby? Here are a few things to keep in mind before making your prediction.

It’s hard to back Todd Pletcher at the Kentucky Derby
Pletcher again brings a seemingly strong hand to the Derby. His five horses are led by undefeated Verrazano, who will be no worse than the second choice Saturday evening. But with Pletcher’s history at the Derby, it’s hard to have a lot of confidence in him winning.

He has had one winner from 31 starters, and, if you examine things more closely, some striking numbers are revealed. He has had seven individual horses sent off as a top-four choice in the wagering. Only Super Saver - who won in 2010 - finished better than 10th.

Historically speaking
If Goldencents or Mylute wins Saturday, the win will have quite a bit of historical significance. Kevin Krigger, the rider of Goldencents, could become the first African-American jockey to win the Derby since Jimmy Winkfield in 1902. Rosie Napravnik, who won the Kentucky Oaks last year, would become the first female jockey to win the Derby, should Mylute emerge victorious.

Running well from the inside is tough
Since Alysheba won the Derby in 1987, only one horse was won from post position 1, 2 or 3 – that being Real Quiet in 1998 from post 3.

Those 75 runners have combined for one win, three seconds and five-third place finishes since.

Although nobody is expecting much from long shots Black Onyx and Oxbow in posts 1 and 2, it does bring a little doubt as to whether Revolutionary can find a traffic-free trip from post 3.

Overall, post positions 1 and 5 have the most Kentucky Derby wins, with a dozen, though post position 1 last won in 1986.

Favorites from the outside also not a good investment
Assuming Verrazano or Orb goes favored, there have been 18 Derby favorites who started in 14th position and out.

Those 18 horses combined for three wins (Big Brown, 2008; Fusaichi Pegasus, 2000; Carry Back, 1961) and one third-place finish (Timber Country, 1995). However, outside is typically where you want to be, as nine of the past 19 winners have started in post 14 and out.

Don’t bet on D. Wayne
D. Wayne Lukas sends two long shots to the gate Saturday in Oxbow and Will Take Charge. You shouldn’t expect much from either of those horses. Since 2003, Lukas has sent 20 runners to the gate in a Triple Crown race and has managed only one top-three finish: Scrimshaw was third in the 2003 Preakness.

Rosario ready to break through?
Joel Rosario has finished fifth, seventh and fourth with his three Derby mounts, all of which were at least 11-1. That is quite similar to Willie Shoemaker, who finished fifth, third and sixth with his first three Derby mounts before getting his first Derby win in 1955 on Swaps.

Angel Cordero Jr. also won his first Derby with his fourth mount, in 1974 on favored Cannonade. Gary Stevens won his first Derby on his fourth try aboard favored Winning Colors in 1988. It would surprise no one if Rosario found the winner's circle Saturday on morning-line favorite Orb.

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