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My dear friend Scooter is a numerologist among her many other talents. Over the last few months she has convinced me to at least pay more attention to numbers and, perhaps, their meaning. So, I thought it might be fun to talk numbers with my readers as Kentucky Derby 149 draws near. 

God willing, twenty horses will line up a week from Saturday for the Run for the Roses. That is a really big field in America. In fact, it is the largest. Since 1930, the race has been run from a starting gate. We have some NUMBERS on how well each post position fares. Interested in a little history? Good. 
Only one post position has never produced a winner. Nope. It is not #20. Big Brown ended that dreaded post’s reign of terror in 2008. And of course, the 80-1 shot Rich Strike made in two wins from post #20 in 2022. I am still trying to wrap my head around that one! 
The post position that has never produced a winner is #17. Forty-two starters and not one winner. In 1988, Forty Niner was second from post position #17. But that is it. Zip. Nada. 
Just to the inside of the dreaded #20, post #19 has been worse with only one winner, I’ll Have Another in 2012.  Post #18 has two wins, but one came through disqualification in 2019 when Maximum Security was taken down and Country House was awarded the victory. He never raced again. 
Posts 17-20 have five total victories in the Kentucky Derby, and one of those was a DQ. You can certainly understand why owners and trainers drink heavily after the post position draw when their Derby dreams are all but dashed by hearing their horse’s name called for one of those post positions. 
So, historically, what are the posts with the best numbers? Glad you asked! Posts #5 and #10. Post #5 has 10 wins and 22 times in the money, followed by post #10 with 9 wins and 25 times in the money. Woohoo! Champagne all around for the connections who draw those posts. 
Two of my favorite Derby winners came from post position #8. I was there for both, of course, and the circumstances could not be more different. Barbaro won from post #8 in 2008 and I had absolutely no doubt about his victory. Wild horses could not have talked me off that horse. Ironically, the horse on the beautifully illustrated Derby program that day was wearing #8 and I was sitting next to my “sister” Judy, whom I love and adore with all my heart, and who was born on the 8th. As was my only child. As was her youngest child. Scooter…are you reading?
Mine That Bird from post #8 is a completely different story. It was raining buckets that day, much like the day Smarty Jones won. As Mine That Bird crossed the finish line, I turned to my husband and said, “OMG…that was Calvin (Borel) coming down the rail on that…that…who the hell is that horse? That New Mexico horse!” Needless to say, I did not cash a winning ticket that day. So I am 50-50 from post position #8…with some really interesting memories. 
Just a few more quick observations:
*** Post #14 has not produced a winner since 1961.
*** Post #6 is actually THE worst post as it has 91 starters and only two winners. The outside posts have not always been filled. As mentioned earlier,  post #17 only has 42 recorded starters. 
***Post #13 has been in the money 19 times. Even for those of you who are superstitious, that makes the #13 hard to omit! 
Do you play certain numbers in the Kentucky Derby? I think it is fairly common for casual players to wager on a favorite number, their birth month, or even number of children or grandchildren. 
This year, I am going to make one wager that goes against all the historical data. I am going to wager $2 across the board on #17. Why? Well, Derby is on May 6th this year. I lost my beloved shih-tzu, Jockey, in September, and his 17th birthday would have been May 6th, Derby day. Win or lose, this one is for you, sweet Jockey boy! And, who knows, perhaps this might just be the year…

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