Wicked Strong, the #2 choice in Kentucky Derby bets odds, drew a nasty post position on Wednesday. He’ll start from the #20 slot which is historically considered the worst possible draw at Churchill Downs. Wicked Strong won the Wood Memorial earlier this spring and that vaulted him to the status as one of the top contenders for Saturday’s ‘Run for the Roses’.
Wicked Strong looked very strong in Thursday training, running three furlongs in 36.60 seconds. Trainer Jimmy Jerkins wanted to get his horse some additional exercise before the big race:
“It wasn’t supposed to amount to much, just something to stretch his legs and open up his lungs a little bit because he’s had plenty of work. He’s dead-fit, but we still wanted to do something to get him to take a deep breath.”
Asked about the post position draw, Jerkins said that he’d spoken to several jockeys including Hall of Famer Edgar Prado who told him to not worry too much about it:
“Edgar is a Hall of Famer and has ridden a million races, big races, and he texted me right after (Wednesday’s draw) saying, ‘Perfect.’. I didn’t know if he was being sarcastic so I had to call him back. He said, ‘I think it’s great, especially with a horse like him that gets impatient in the gate. I think it’s perfect.’ He said, ‘You’ve got a long run down the stretch, a very long run to the turn, you can size the race up inside of you. I think you will be fine.’”
Wicked Strong’s jockey, Rajiv Maragh, concurred with Prado suggesting that the post position draw wasn’t as big of a concern for a strong closer. Jerkins hopes that his jockey just isn’t trying to make him feel better. The betting odds on Wicked Strong appear to validate what Prado and Maragh have said–at 6/1 he’s a solid #2 choice on the morning line and that doesn’t reflect much concern about the #20 post position.
The Kentucky Derby will be run on Saturday, May 3 at the Churchill Downs race track in Louisville, Kentucky. It is the first race of the ‘Triple Crown’ series followed by the Preakness Stakes in Baltimore and the Belmont Stakes in New York.