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It is odd that the Kentucky Derby is running four months late, on the first Saturday in September, instead of the first Saturday in May.

Yet, it may be a good thing as it won't have the amount of attention as usual.

It may be a good thing 150,000 people aren't going to be crammed into Churchill Downs.

It may not be a very good race, and a big part of that was the post-position draw.

Tiz the Law, the feel-good horse trained by 82-year-old Barclay Tagg, looked like he might gallop to an easy win until he drew the No. 17 post.

It is the only post position that has never had a Derby winner.

Tiz the Law may be good enough to be the first, but that's a lot of ground to make up.

So far, he's been nothing but impressive, winning six of seven starts (he was third the other time, and that was in his only race at Churchill) including the Belmont Stakes and the Travers Stakes.

In his last four races, no horse has been closer than 3 lengths to him at the finish.

Yet, the largest field he has seen is nine challengers, and tomorrow he is sandwich by the second two favorites in the morning line.

Honor A.P. is in the 16th hole and is 5-1, and Authentic comes out of No. 18 and he's 8-1.

The other 15 horses in the field are long shots, with Thousand Words fourth in the morning line at 15-1.

Bob Baffert lost his horses that each were impressive in winning a division of the Arkansas Derby to injury, and its just been that kind of 3-year-old season.

So 18 horses are expected to take the track tomorrow, and the three best are lined up as far from the rail as they can get.

The rail itself has not been great. The last time the No. 1 post horse won was 1986 when Ferdinand, ridden by Hall of Famer Willie Shoemaker, stunned the crowd.

Ferdinand was a long shot, returning $37.40 for a $2 win bet.

Historically, the No. 1 and No. 5 holes have the most winners with 12, just not recently when the fields grew until they had to be limited to 20.

Honor A.P., the second favorite -- and four horses have won from the No. 16 position -- has won two of five races, and one of those was the Santa Anita Derby on June 6.

Second in that race is the third choice, Authentic, who beat Honor A.P. in the San Felipe.

Here's where it could get interesting.

Thousand Words beat Honor A.P. a month ago in the Shared Belief Stakes, so he could be a horse improving.

One thing is sure. Thousand Words got a better post-position draw at No. 10 which is tied for the third with the most Derby winners, 11, including Sunny's Halo in 1983.

Thousand Words ran in the Oaklawn Stakes in early April but was beat by Mr. Big News who is 50-1 tomorrow coming out of the No. 9 post position, where no horse has won since 1960.

Post positions do make a difference, but it obviously is not the only factor in a race.

Tiz the Law has won four Grade I races and more than $2 million.

He's well bred with Tapit in his bloodline.

The key will be jockey Manuel Franco getting out of the gate cleanly and with a jump on the horses around him.

He likes to run close to the pace and make big moves on the final turn. To do that, Franco is going to have some luck and save some field by getting close to the rail for most of the trip.

He's the only horse with a shot at the Triple Crown, and all of sports, not just racing, needs a feel-good story, This one, complete with Sackatoga Stables owners who focus on New York-bred horses, could be that.

Tiz the Law needs some luck, but he might be good enough to make his own.


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