Derby favorite Brother Derek draws No. 18 post position
LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- His role as the Kentucky Derby favorite confirmed, Brother Derek now needs only to figure out how to win from the far, far outside.
|7.||Bob and John||Gomez||Baffert|
|16.||Cause to Believe||R. Baze||Hollendorfer|
Lawyer Ron will have the same challenge.
Brother Derek was installed as the 3-1 favorite Wednesday despite drawing the No. 18 post position. Only one horse has ever won the Derby from that spot -- Gato Del Sol in 1982.
"How can I complain about my post?" trainer Dan Hendricks said. "We're here. This is the greatest race in the world. And the 18 hole is not too bad the way the speed is set up in the race."
Unbeaten this year and winner of the Santa Anita Derby, Brother Derek will be ridden by Alex Solis in a crowded field of 20 3-year-olds.
In California, Brother Derek won easily while racing on the lead against small fields. In his only race with a large field, the bay colt finished fourth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile leaving from the No. 13 post.
But with expected speed horses Sinister Minister and Sharp Humor starting inside Brother Derek, Hendricks says his colt will simply follow 4-1 co-second favorite Lawyer Ron, who drew the No. 17 post.
"We should be able to follow Lawyer Ron," Hendricks, paralyzed from the waist down because of a motocross accident in 2004, said. "With his high cruising speed, Alex should be able to set him up where ever he wants to be. If it rains, the outside post will benefit us even more."
Undefeated Barbaro, who drew the No. 8 post, was also 4-1.
Churchill Downs oddsmaker Mike Battaglia made up his mind Brother Derek would be the favorite following the Santa Anita Derby.
"I think the California horses were very strong this year," Battaglia said. "He won impressively."
Lawyer Ron comes into the Derby with a six-race winning streak. Trainer Bob Holthus was happy his colt will start from the outside.
"Fifteen would have been ideal, but it was already taken," Holthus said. "I didn't want to get trapped on the inside -- there's a lot of speed on the inside. If we can follow somebody, we'll be in good shape."
Illinois Derby winner Sweetnorthernsaint, ridden by two-time Derby winning jockey Kent Desormeaux, was the fourth choice at 10-1.
Trainer Bob Baffert will seek his fourth Derby win with three entries: Wood Memorial winner Bob and John, Blue Grass winner Sinister Minister and Santa Anita Derby runner-up Point Determined. All were listed at 12-1.
A.P. Warrior, at 15-1, gives John Shirreffs a chance to repeat after sending out Giacomo to victory last year at 50-1 odds. Shirreffs went with post No. 10, the same spot Giacomo won from.
"It was so lucky for us last year," Shirreffs said. "It's a good spot."
A third Derby winning trainer has a horse in the field: Barclay Tagg, who won in 2003 with Funny Cide, will try again with unbeaten Showing Up, the Lexington Stakes winner and 20-1 choice, leaving from the No. 6 post.
Three trainers have two horses in the field -- Todd Pletcher with Bluegrass Cat and Keyed Entry; Steve Asmussen has Private Vow and Storm Treasure; and Kiaran McLaughlin has Jazil and Flashy Bull.
|5||12||2003 (Funny Cide)|
|4||10||1977 (Seattle Slew)|
|3||8||1998 (Real Quiet)|
|8||8||1994 (Go For Gin)|
For the first time, an owner will send out two unbeaten horses in the same Derby -- Gretchen and Roy Jackson's Lael Farm owns Showing Up, who is 3-for-3, and Barbaro, who is 5-for-5.
Absent from this year's Derby will be Hall of Fame trainers D. Wayne Lukas, a four-time winner, and Nick Zito, a two-time winner who sent out five horses in last year's race.
Also out of this year's race are recently retired Hall of Fame riders -- Gary Stevens, Jerry Bailey and Pat Day, who combined to win six Derbies.
Since the 20-horse rule began in 1984, the race went off with the maximum field only last year. There have been 19 starters five times under the rule, most recently in 2000.
With 23 horses entered, only the top 20 graded-stakes earners made the field.
Sunriver was ranked 21st on the graded stakes earnings list, while others left out were Lewis Michael and Hemingway's Key.
Kentucky Derby television coverage begins Saturday, May 6 at 5 p.m. ET on NBC Sports.
Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press
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