LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The Kentucky Derby post-position draw has become like waiting to console the victim of an accident that everybody knows is sure to come. You don’t want the No. 1 post because that horse has to take a slight right turn just to get on the course and then has every chance of getting squeezed by the chain reaction that can be caused by 19 other horses fighting for position in the first 500 yards.
The 1 post was still unclaimed when Union Rags got No. 4 Wednesday afternoon at Churchill Downs. In a perfect world, trainer Michael Matz said he would have preferred something higher than 5. After initially being a bit discouraged, Matz took a longer look at the horses that will be around Union Rags in the starting gate and decided that horses near him “don’t have much speed so I don’t see why he can’t go right behind Bodemeister or be right with him. [Jockey] Julien [Leparoux] is going to have to come and let him run a little bit, but I don’t think that’s the worst thing in the world. My original thought, I wasn’t crazy about it, but the way everybody is, I don’t think it is so bad.’’