LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The top four choices for Saturday's Kentucky Derby were not hindered by Wednesday morning's post position draw at Churchill Downs. Classic Empire, the 4-1 morning line favorite and 2016 2-year-old champion, drew post 14, the last post in the main gate. McCraken, co-second-choice at 5-1 drew 15, the first post in the six-horse auxiliary gate. Always Dreaming, also 5-1, drew No. 5. Irish War Cry is 6-1 on the morning line and drew post 17.
In the 20-horse Derby era, higher numbers, away from the traffic, have been winning numbers. Graham Motion, Irish War Cry's trainer, knows that quite well.
"I'd rather be outside,'' Motion said. "Animal Kingdom was 16 so . . .''
Motion trained Animal Kingdom to win the 2011 Derby.
"It keeps you in the clear, keeps you away from the craziness a little bit,'' Motion said.
Trainer Todd Pletcher has three horses in the race. It is no secret that he considers Always Dreaming his best chance. The 5 post certainly isn't bad, but it can be tricky, if the horse breaks poorly and gets surrounded. If it were allowed, Pletcher would probably like to have Always Dreaming swap posts with his Tapwrit who drew 16.
"Hopefully, he'll get away from the gate so he can get himself in good position,'' Pletcher said of Always Dreaming, a horse that has dominated in the three starts for his trainer.