Rewarding pre-Derby success: Let the best race horse pick its gate

Updated: May. 1, 2018 at 8:25 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - They need to stop fooling around with the post selection for the Kentucky Derby. The pill pull randomly selects the order for choosing where the horses will break from the gate. Other sports reward excellence and success.

If you have the best record in the NBA, you play the team with the worst record in the first round of the playoffs and you get home court advantage. The top qualifier in a NASCAR race gets the pole position. The leading golfers get to go last in the final round of a PGA tournament so they know what score it will take to win.

Horses have won the Kentucky Derby from every gate position except 17, but everyone knows it's much more difficult from the one hole and horses have to travel more distance when breaking from the 20 post. No trainer wants to be against the rail at Churchill Downs or way on the outside.

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The last thing horse racing fans want to see is the favorite, Justify, stuck in the one hole, or other top contenders such as Mendelsohn or Magnum Moon breaking from out in the boondocks from the 20 slot.

It's time to let the horses with the most points from the Kentucky Derby prep races choose first. The only safe bet would be the horses with the fewest points would end up in position 1 and 20.

Here's what it might take to precipitate the change. If two of the favorites ended up picking last, it would greatly hamper their hopes. This year, luckily only Magnum Moon got a tough draw, but not too bad at post 16. But as the random system stands now, horse racing fans can only hope that the really great horses don't get saddled with an almost insurmountable task even before the Kentucky Derby begins.

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