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Kentucky Derby Post Positions: Starting Order Matters In Crowded Field

With 20 horses entered in the 2011 Kentucky Derby, down from 22 after two horses were forced to scratch, space will be at a premium on Saturday at Churchill Downs. It's why the post position draw is so vital, and can make-or-break a horses chances. Start too far outside and the chances of a win significantly decrease, especially when looking at the Kentucky Derby history of horses in the No. 11 through No. 20 post position.

The style of horse -- be it front-runner, one who likes a late surge or one who likes the rail -- plays a role in determining whether or not it got a favorable draw.  But, ultimately, the draw matters and an unfavorable pole position can be crippling.

In the history of the Kentucky Derby, 12 winners have come from both the No. 1 and No. 5 post positions. The No. 4, No. 8 and No. 10 spots have each produced 10 winners, making them the second-most favorable draws. Essentially, a draw of No. 1 through No. 10 is an advantage and the chances drop from No. 11 on.

How bad is the drop? The No. 13 spot has produced four winners and no other starting position has produced more than three on the outside of the No. 10 position. A winner has never come from the No. 17 and No. 19 post position, as well.

For Uncle Mo, Soldat and Nehro, this is bad news. Soldat and Nehro, both among the favorites, will have to make history to win. Uncle Mo is racing from a pole position where only one horse has claimed victory before.

On the other side of the coin, Archarcharch (No. 1), Decisive Moment (No. 5), Stay Thirsty (No. 4), Dialed In (No. 8) and Twinspired (No. 10) all received excellent draws. Dialed In, the morning line favorite, made out like a bandit, drawing the No. 8 position while the rest of the contenders were thrown to the outside.

The full post draw can be found here.

We'll find out whether it matters in the 2011 Kentucky Derby as the horses take to the starting gates on Saturday at Churchill Downs. Stay with our 2011 Kentucky Derby StoryStream for previews, odds and analysis up to and throughout the derby. For more on the race, head over to SB Nation's Kentucky Derby StoryStream or check out And Down The Stretch They Come.