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California Chrome hopes 5 is his lucky number

California Chrome
California Chrome
Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

When current odds on favorite California Chrome drew the number 5 starting slot for Saturday’s Kentucky Derby his jockey Victor Espinoza took it as a good omen. Not only did Espinoza win the 2002 Derby aboard War Emblem in 2002 from the number 5 post position, 7 other winners, including Funny Cide (2003) began their “run for the roses” there. California Chrome, a son of Lucky Pulpit out of Love the Chase by Not for Love, is now listed at odds of 5-2 comes to Churchill Downs having won his last four starts by a combined 24 1/4 lengths.

"I think it's a perfect spot," commented Chrome’s 77-year old trainer Art Sherman said. "I think we break clean, he'll get out of a lot of trouble. He's got a little gas leaving there."
If he’s right, Sherman could become the oldest trainer to win the Kentucky Derby, taking the title away from Charlie Whittingham who was 76 when he won with Sunday Silence in 1989.

Not everyone was as happy with their draw, however, including jockey Rosie Napravnik who will attempt to become the first female jockey to win the Kentucky Derby aboard Vicar’s in Trouble, trained by her husband Joe Sharp (an assistant to Mike Maker). In fact she was “down-right shocked” when her number was called. Still, she tried to remain optimistic by stating, “It’s not ideal, but Vicar’s sharp out of the gate, and although no one has won from the rail. Since 1986, I think I can get good position with him. So Vicar’s not in trouble yet.” Ironically, Maker’s other horse in the race, Harry’s Holiday will start from post position 2.
On the other extreme, Wood Memorial winner Wicked Strong will start from the extreme outside in the number 20 spot, something that does not seen to faze his jockey Rajiv Maragh. In fact, some people, NBC analyst, retired jockey Jerry Bailey think that it may actually work to his advantage due to the amount of early speed expected in the race and his closing style.

It’s like being on a freeway. The faster they go, the easier it is to maneuver through traffic,” he noted.

The complete order for the start of the 140th Kentucky Derby, along with current odds status as set by Churchill Downs oddsmaker Mike Battaglia is as follows: 1 Vicar's In Trouble 20-1; 2 Harry's Holiday 50-1; 3 Uncle Sigh 30-1; 4 Danza 8-1; 5 California Chrome 5-2; 6 Samraat 15-1; 7 We Miss Artie 50-1; 8 General a Rod 15-1; 9 Vinceremos 30-1; 10 Wildcat Red 15-1; 11 Dance With Fate 20-1; 12 Chitu 20-1
13 Medal Count 20-1; 14 Tapiture 12-1; 15 Intense Holiday 8-1; 16 Commanding Curve 50-1; 17 Candy Boy 15-1; 18 Ride On Curlin 15-1; 19 Wicked Strong 6-1; and 20 Pablo Del Monte 50-1.

Post time for the 140th running of the Kentucky Deby is 6:32 p.m. ET Saturday.