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Field Of 20 Set For 137th Kentucky Derby

The post positions are set for Saturday’s Kentucky Derby. The early favorite, at 4-1, is Dialed In, who drew the number eight post position. Uncle Mo is the second favorite, at 9-2, and will break from the number 18 hole. He’s still questionable for the Derby, however because of a lingering gastrointestinal problem.The third choice is Nehro, at 6-1. He drew the number 19 spot.Kathy Ritvo (pictured) is the trainer of Mucho Macho Man, who at 12-1 will start from post position 13. That’s fine with Ritvo, who’s looking to become the first female trainer and the first heart transplant recipient to win the Derby. "Thirteen happens to be a really lucky number for me. I was born on February 13 and I got my heart transplant on November 13, so I knew 13 was the number today," she said.Ritvo received her new heart in 2008. She’s been using the Derby spotlight to promote organ donation.2011 KENTUCKY DERBY PRESENTED BY YUM! BRANDS POST POSITION DRAW QUOTESANIMAL KINGDOM (post position 16, jockey Robby Albarado, 30-1) – Trainer Graham Motion: “That’s great. I couldn’t be happier with it. I would much rather be on the outside than stuck down on the rail. I’m very happy with it.”On Robby Albarado (who was injured Wednesday when kicked in the face by a horse): “I think he’s going to be OK. I’m not 100 percent sure that he’s going to be able to ride tomorrow, he’s got a broken nose and lacerations around his eye. But I talked with (Albarado’s agent) Lenny (Pike) and he’s pretty confident that he will be OK for Saturday.”ARCHARCHARCH (post position 1, jockey Jon Court, 10-1) – Trainer Jinks Fires: “I have always wanted to be No. 1 but not in the Kentucky Derby starting gate. I’ll just tell Jon to get good position, save ground and figure out a way to get out. I started to get concerned (when the one hole was left and Archarcharch had not been drawn). It is still the shortest way around and at least I am not out next to the track kitchen.”BRILLIANT SPEED (post position 2, jockey Joel Rosario, 30-1) – Trainer Tom Albertrani: “It’s not the worst post in the world for us because we don’t have any natural speed anyway. I was telling Kiaran (McLaughlin, trainer of Soldat), it would have been worse. They drew the 17 and the 17 has never had a winning horse in the Kentucky Derby. At least mine produced a Triple Crown winner (Assault, Affirmed). It’s not the worst thing in the world. I think he’ll find a good stalking position, get behind some speed and hope for the best. We need a good trip. I’m looking to see him run kind of the same style that he did in the Blue Grass. Maybe not last, but maybe the same distance-wise off the front. That worked out last time. I hope it works out again.”COMMA TO THE TOP (post position 6, jockey Patrick Valenzuela, 30-1) – Trainer Peter Miller: “I’m OK with the six. I would not have been happy with the one. (There were only two spots left on the board when Comma to the Top’s number was drawn – No. 1 or No. 6.) I’m inside, I’ve got speed and I’ve got (jockey) Patrick (Valenzuela). He’s the best (at coming out of the gate quickly).”DECISIVE MOMENT (post position 5, jockey Kerwin Clark, 30-1) – Trainer Juan Arias: “It’s great. It’s a good draw, so I’ll have to sit down with Mr. (Ruben) Sierra and draw up a plan.”DERBY KITTEN (post position 9, jockey Javier Castellano, 30-1)/TWINSPIRED (post position 10, jockey Mike Smith, 30-1) – Trainer Mike Maker: “We’re happy with the draw for both horses next to each other in the nine and 10. We were hoping to draw something around 10 and farther out, and pretty much we got that with both horses.”DIALED IN (post position 8, jockey Julien Leparoux, 4-1) – Trainer Nick Zito: “I was happy with it. I think, actually, most the major players got good post positions, too. I think the draw went OK. Obviously, Archarcharch, they’re going to talk about the ‘1,’ but we were certainly happy with our draw. I thought so all week (that Dialed in would be favored). Everybody saw my horse. I guess it could have gone either way. I guess they could have put Uncle Mo at 4-1 and us 9-2, but they made us the favorite, so that’s OK. I’m flattered by it, very humbled by it. We’ll see what happens.”MASTER OF HOUNDS (post position 11, jockey Garrett Gomez, 30-1) – Garrett Gomez: “It’s good. We’re not too far inside, not too far outside. We’re right in the middle of the field. We’ll have to make our own trip, just like anywhere, but I like the draw.Were you sweating out the one hole?“I was, especially because of last year (with Lookin At Lucky). I really didn’t want the one hole, especially being a horse from Europe, the way that the Europeans jump away from the gate. Even though they have been doing some work with him, usually they are just a little bit slow and not used to the American style. But the horse is well-traveled and they’ve done some work with him. Hopefully he’ll leave with the field and I can find a trip and work it out from there.”Assistant trainer T.J.Comerford: “If Mr. Gomez is happy, I’m happy. It was looking like No. 1 for a while, for about three out, and then it turned into 11. That’s wasn’t too bad.”MIDNIGHT INTERLUDE (post position 15, jockey Victor Espinoza, 10-1) – Trainer Bob Baffert: “I’m good with that. I wanted to be like 16, around there. Sometimes if there’s a scratch you can move down. I just didn’t want to be down on the inside. I’m happy that I didn’t get the one or the 20. That one (post position), I was dreading it. My wife is at the airport. I said, ‘we’re at the draw.’ She said, ‘I’m getting ready to get on the place, let me know if we drew bad, I’m getting off the plane.’ I told her to get on the plane.”MUCHO MACHO MAN (post position 13, jockey Rajiv Maragh, 12-1) – Trainer Kathy Ritvo: “I think it’s a lucky number, 13. I got my heart transplant on the (Nov.) 13th (2008) and I was born on Feb. 13, so I thought I’d be getting the 13.”NEHRO (post position 19, jockey Corey Nakatani, 6-1) – Trainer Steve Asmussen: “He hasn’t been eliminated, you know what I mean? He needs to run the race of his life, but all is well. I really like the horses that are immediately to his inside; they’ve got pace. There are a lot of scenarios in a 20-horse field that will change how you get to the backside but I think this gives us a good chance.”Owner Ahmed Zayat: “Well, let’s put it this way, I’m told that from the 19 hole there has never been a winner so far. So I guess this would have to be a first. A first for Asmussen, a first for Corey Nakatani, a first for 19, and a first for Zayat.”PANTS ON FIRE (post position 7, jockey Rosie Napravnik, 20-1) – Trainer Kelly Breen: “Lucky number seven, what’s not to know? I like the post position, I like what some of the other speed horses got. I think we’re in an ideal spot and we like our post position draw. The quarter’s going to go, probably, sub-24, so no matter what you have to have a little bit of gas coming out of the gate. We’re hoping that we’re going to be forwardly placed and we have the horse right inside of us, Comma to the Top, is a pretty good draw to be right outside of him. We were looking for positives and we see them right away so that’s a pretty good sign we got a good draw.”Co-owner George Hall: “I’m thrilled because two years ago we had the one hole for Westside Bernie and we learned the hard way that’s a very tough trip. So as long as we were outside a couple of positions we were OK and I think it sets up pretty well for us so we’re pleased.”SANTIVA (post position 12, jockey Shaun Bridgmohan, 30-1) – Trainer Eddie Kenneally: “The 12 is a perfect spot. We’re very happy where we’ve drawn. We were looking for something in the middle of the gate and we got it. We do have some speed horses outside of us like Soldat, Shackleford and Uncle Mo, so we’ll likely fall in behind them. All in all, it’s perfect.”SHACKLEFORD (post position 14, jockey Jesus Castanon, 12-1) – Trainer Dale Romans: “It’s a great spot for us at 14. Most of the speed is inside us, especially Comma to the Top, who is probably quicker than we are. That’s the horse you want to be outside of most of all. If we can get a clean break with the extra space (from the auxiliary gate), the hope is to sit second. Being outside of Comma to the Top gives us options.”SOLDAT (post position 17, jockey Alan Garcia, 12-1) – Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin: “I’m pleased. The 17 is much better than being way down inside. We’re out in the clear and just have one speed horse outside of us in Uncle Mo. The only change I would make in a perfect world would be to put Uncle Mo inside of us, too. When we were in the 18 (with Closing Argument in 2005), we finished second. Now that we’re number 17, we hope to improve by one more placing.”STAY THIRSTY (post position 4, jockey Ramon Dominguez, 20-1/UNCLE MO (post position 18, jockey John Velazquez, 9-2) – Trainer Todd Pletcher: “We’re happy with both the draws. We were afraid of the No. 1. We didn’t want to be down there. But Uncle Mo will be OK from the 18. He wants to get a good stalking position and he can do that from there. And Stay Thirsty – we were sort of rooting for the No. 4. We had great luck there last year (Pletcher’s first Kentucky Derby winner, Super Saver, broke from Post 4) and we don’t mind going back there again.”TWICE THE APPEAL (post position 3, jockey Calvin Borel, 20-1) – Trainer Jeff Bonde: “It’s beautiful. My jock (Calvin Borel) likes the wood. You know I like the spot.”WATCH ME GO (post position 20, jockey Rafael Bejarano, 50-1) – Trainer Kathleen O’Connell: “I don’t think we’d change it. I’m happier with the ‘20’ than the 1 hole.”

Rick Howlett is host of WFPL's weekly talk show, "In Conversation." Email Rick at rhowlett@lpm.org.