News and STORIES

Essential Quality Draws Post 14 For The Kentucky Derby

Author: Ryan Knuppel
Published: Wednesday April 28, 2021
All of the eyes of the racing world were on Churchill Downs on Tuesday, as the draw was made for the starting positions of the 20 horses that will go to post for the Kentucky Derby on Saturday.

The post that a horse draws can have an immediate impact on the odds of the runners for the Triple Crown race, and there has been support for the unbeaten three-year-old Essential Quality for trainer Brad Cox.

Essential Quality’s Chances Improved

History beckons for both horse and trainer this weekend, as Essential Quality looks to become only the third winner of the Kentucky Derby after winning the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile in the previous season. Nyquist and Street Sense have both achieved that feat previously, and the odds would certainly suggest that the Cox horse looks good value to join that illustrious company. Cox himself will be looking for a first win in the illustrious race, and Essential Quality’s chances of victory have been improved after drawing post 14 for the featured race at Churchill Downs.

Essential Quality will be looking for a fifth straight win this weekend, and he is one of few with previous experience at Churchill Downs. The three-year-old won his maiden at the famous track, as he beat King’s Mischief by four lengths. Since that victory, he has progressed excellently and added the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile to conclude his 2020 season in November. Since returning to the track, he has produced two excellent performances to win the Southwest Stakes and, most recently, the Blue Grass Stakes. He looks to be in with a decent chance of a third Grade 1 success of his career, which would also be his fifth Graded success in total.

Post 14 Trends

Post 14 has had mixed performances in the past, but it is widely regarded as an excellent position to be in. Despite that, only two previous horses have won the Kentucky Derby from that starting position. Essential Quality will be looking to be the first winner from that starting position since Carry Back in 1961.

Only post 17 has endured a longer dry spell without a winner in the Kentucky Derby, as 17 is the only post that is yet to record a winning horse. However, post 14 has been the starting block for five runners-up and five third-places in the history of the Kentucky Derby. It will be up to Essential Quality to prove that the middle-of-the-track position can be as successful as many believe this weekend.

Most Successful Posts

As we mentioned, post 17 is the most unsuccessful starting post in the Kentucky Derby. There is yet to be a winner from this starting position, but two previous runners have finished second from that spot. That would certainly be a concern for those backing Highly Motivated this weekend, as the Chad Brown-trained horse has drawn that spot.

Despite many believing that the middle spot are the most coveted, the most successful winning starting position has been post five. Ten winners have started in that spot in 91 starts, with the most recent winner being Always Dreaming in 2017. Sainthood, who is a 50/1 chance for trainer Todd Pletcher has that spot this weekend.

However, there have been a contrasting number of runs from each starting position, which means looking at the win percentage could be more telling. Post ten has the highest win percentage, as 10.7% of the runners starting in that position have won the Kentucky Derby. Giacomo’s victory in 2005 was the last time that a runner has won from that position. This year’s race will see Midnight Bourbon starting in that post.

Post 15 also has a solid success rate, as 10.2% of the winners have started there. Authentic won the 2020 Kentucky Derby from that position, and a 5/1 chance Rock Your World will start in that position this year. Posts eight and 16 have respective win percentages of 8.9% and 8.3%, and Medina Spirit and King Fury will be starting in those positions this weekend.

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