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2015 Kentucky Derby: American Pharoah draws No. 18

Ocho Ocho Ocho takes the No. 1 position.

Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

It's Kentucky Derby Week and for the 141st time, the top three-year-olds in the world converge on Louisville, K.Y., looking to get their picture taken in the Churchill Downs Winner's Circle. Along with a $2 million purse -- $1.2 million to the winner -- the Kentucky Derby provides enough notoriety to enter the history books and turn a racehorse into a stallion with the potential for a nine-figure career.

There were about 30,000 thoroughbred racehorses born in 2012, all of which are now three years old (all racehorses celebrate their birthday on January 1st). To be eligible to race in the Derby, the owner of each of these horses has to make a stake nomination payment of $600 by January of its third year, in this case January 31, 2015. There were 438 horses who were nominated to this year's Kentucky Derby, here is the entire list.

The funnel from 30,000 foals in 2012 to 438 nominations to 20 starters is what makes the Kentucky Derby Trail special. The final step to setting the Kentucky Derby stage is the post position draw. A random ping-pong ball draw (not too far from the Saturday night lottery) assigns the post positions for each of the 20 Derby starters. You can watch the Kentucky Derby post position draw live on NBCSN on Wednesday, April 29 at 5:30 p.m. ET.

Further analysis will follow later in the week, but for now, let's touch on some key factors.

American Pharoah Hype - Churchill Downs published a press release with the subhead, "35-YEAR CLOCKER SAYS HE MIGHT BE BEST HE'S EVER SEEN." There was something about the quote that seemed fishy to me so I decided to call Gary directly and get his personal take on American Pharoah and the rest of the Derby field. Listen to the Gary Young podcast here.

Plenty of long shots - Last year, California Chrome was the race favorite with odds of exactly 5/2 while Wicked Strong was the second choice at almost 13/2. There were 16 horses with double-digit odds including the longest shot in the field at odds just under 50/1.

This year's tote board will look different and here's why: American Pharoah will go off as the favorite and based on the hype it's reasonable to expect 5/2 odds. His odds could go up if he draws the No. 1, 2, 19 or 20 post and go down if he draws the 10-15 post. However, what makes 2015 different on the tote board is we have another potential co-favorite in Dortmund, followed closely by Carpe Diem, who will likely be 7/1 or less. With all of this financial pressure on just three horses, odds will be elevated on a number of the outsiders, providing for juicy long shots that will be overlays (odds higher than they should be).

Here are the full draw and the morning line odds:

Post poistion

Horse

Jockey

Trainer

Odds

1

Ocho Ocho Ocho

Elvis Trujillo

Jim Cassidy

50/1

2

Carpe Diem

John Velazquez

Todd Pletcher

8/1

3

Materiality

Javier Castellano

Todd Pletcher

12/1

4

Tencendur

Manny Franco

George Weaver

30/1

5

Danzig Moon

Julien Leparoux

Mark Casse

30/1

6

MubTaaqhij

Christophe Soumillion

Mike de Kock

20/1

7

El Kabeir

Calvin Borel

John Terranova II

30/1

8

Dortmund

Martin Garcia

Bob Baffert

3/1

9

Bolo

Rafael Bejarano

Carla Gaines

30/1

10

Firing Line

Gary Stevens

Simon Callaghan

12/1

11

Stanford

Florent Geroux

Todd Pletcher

30/1

12

International Star

Miguel Mena

Mike Maker

20/1

13

Itsaknockout

Luis Saez

Todd Pletcher

30/1

14

Keen Ice

Kent Desormeaux

Dale Romans

50/1

15

Frosted

Joel Rosario

Kiaran McLaughlin

15/1

16

War Story

Joe Talamo

Tom Amoss

50/1

17

Mr. Z

Ramon Vazquez

D. Wayne Lukas

50/1

18

American Pharoah

Victor Espinoza

Bob Baffert

5/2

19

Upstart

Jose Ortiz

Rick Violette Jr.

15/1

20

Far Right

Mike Smith

Ron Moquett

30/1

Dan Zucker is a co-founder of Predicteform.com (and PredictionMachine.com), a horse racing data analytics company that focuses on how horses are progressing or regressing coming into a race. Zucker is a thoroughbred owner and partner and has campaigned stakes runners - Quiet Meadow, Street Life and Pianist and his current pride and joy, Catch My Drift.

Read more about how Predicteform.com works here.