Kentucky Derby favorite Lookin at Lucky will start in first position

Although there are no superstars running in this year's Kentucky Derby, Andrew Beyer believes that there are a number of outstanding front runners to pay attention to.
By Baltimore Sun
Thursday, April 29, 2010

LOUISVILLE -- Lookin At Lucky wasn't particularly charmed Wednesday during the post-position draw for the 136th running of the Kentucky Derby.

The pre-race favorite drew the rail in the post position in the blind draw, meaning he'll either have to get out early in the 1 1/4 mile race or fight his way through traffic if he's going to win Saturday's Run for the Roses.

Churchill Downs oddsmaker Mike Battaglia said the inauspicious No. 1 position didn't significantly affect Lookin At Lucky's odds and that he'll still go off at 3-1, in part because Sidney's Candy, the second choice at 5-1, drew the No. 20 position.

"It kind of evened everything out," said Battaglia, who has been the Derby's oddsmaker since 1975.

Three horses were co-third choice at 10-1: Ice Box, who drew No. 2; Awesome Act, who drew No. 16; and filly Devil May Care, who drew No. 11.

Although the No. 1 position has produced 12 Derby winners since 1900, tied for the most all time, many of those wins came before the field expanded to 20 horses. No horse has won starting on the rail since Ferdinand in 1986. Big Brown won from the No. 20 post in 2008 but was only the second horse to accomplish that feat.

Lookin At Lucky's trainer, Bob Baffert, could only shrug and joke about his fate. This year was the first since 1998 that the Derby reverted to its original format of having a blind draw. In previous years, the draw was a two-step draft in which the horse's name was picked randomly, then the trainer would choose one of the available positions.

"Nothing surprises me with this horse," Baffert said. "He just can't catch a break. He's either inside or outside. If they hadn't changed the draw, I would have finally gotten a break after all those years.

"It is what it is. You can't worry about that. You have to break well, though. If he doesn't break well, then you're screwed."

Lookin At Lucky's co-owner, Mike Pegram, took a similar approach.

"There is no use crying about it," said Pegram, who won the 1998 Kentucky Derby with Real Quiet. "All we've got to do is think positive. Real Quiet was buried down on the rail [No. 3] in '98 and he came through. It's all about position, and I've got the best jockey.

"When you've got lemons, you make lemonade, right?"

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