Rail Runner

The Observations of a Horse Racing Enthusiast

Derby Posts Set: Mo on the Fence

Posted by Brian Appleton on May 5, 2011

The post positions have been set for the Kentucky Derby and the dreaded #1 hole has been given to Arkansas Derby (gr.1) winner, and Churchill Downs buzz horse Archarcharch this year. Last year race favorite Lookin At Lucky endured a nightmarish trip from post position number one but still managed to finish a respectable sixth after all hope of winning was swept away in the mad rush from the gate. Archarcharch will face the heat this time around with jockey Jon Court aboard but both trainer and jockey have remained very optimistic about their colts chances despite the bad post. After rattling off a series of impressive works at Churchill Downs Archarcharch has come more into the spotlight than ever following his Arkansas Derby win at long odds. He will have some tough traffic issues to overcome but he’s one of the most seasoned and definitely the best conditioned horse in the entire field so if any colt can overcome the odds it’s probably him.

Dialed In received a beautiful post, tucked in snugly between Pants On Fire to his inside and Derby Kitten to his outside, in post number eight with Julien Leparoux set to ride. He’s another one who has been making a good impression since his arrival at Churchill Downs. The first couple visits to the track looked a little stiff but his most recent gallop was full of energy and had him stretching out beautifully on Wednesday. I suspect he likes a dry track better than a wet one which is why he looked so much better in his recent gallop than he did when going over the sloppy surface.

Uncle Mo can’t get a break it seems. Between his loss of historic proportions in the Wood Memorial, a light training schedule brought on by his GI infection, slight loss of appetite in the weeks leading up to the Derby, constant media pressure and a rumor mill that runs 24/7, it seemed the Champion had a full plate. Not full enough it seems. On Wednesday the son of Indian Charlie was slapped with post position 18, just two from the far outside, a post that will make his job a lot harder. If he hopes to run close to the pace or just behind the leaders he’s going to have to find a way to work his way through traffic and secure a spot before the first turn so as not to get hung wide. As it stands now owner Mike Repole says his champion is 50/50 to run in the Derby. He will only run if they feel he is 100% percent. A final decision will be made on Thursday evening or Friday morning after the colt is examined by a team of three veterinarians as well as trainer Todd Pletcher and Repole. I hope he passes with flying colors and takes a shot, who knows if he can win right now but I’ll still be rooting for him to wear the garland of roses.

Repole and Pletcher’s second runner, Gotham Stakes winner Stay Thirsty, was assigned post four which should offer the Bernardini colt a favorable run to settle into a comfortable position the first time past the wire. He has been trainer very well at Churchill and looks primed to turn in a much better effort than his dull Florida Derby run. Pletcher was especially pleased with the post as his first Derby winner, Super Saver, started from the four post.

Mucho Macho Man will break from post thirteen with Shackleford beside in post fourteen. The Bob Baffert trained Midnight Interlude will break from post fifteen while Soldat will break two down in post seventeen. Nehro breaks from post nineteen, but with his late running style he shouldn’t have any trouble with the post.

Dialed In was installed as race favorite at odds of 9-2 with Uncle Mo second choice at odds of 4-1. Nehro was set as the third choice at odds of 6-1 while the entire rest of the field sits at odd so 10-1 and higher. Talk about value to be played!

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