Archarcharch unhappy with rail in Kentucky Derby
Jon Court will try to make the best of a bad situation from the rail in the Kentucky Derby.
Court is the rider of Archarcharch, who landed post No. 1 — an undesirable spot in the 20-horse race.
In a field that large, the horse down on the inside can be squeezed out of contention in the stampede from the starting gate to the first turn.
That's what happened to Lookin At Lucky last year.
The 6-1 favorite was roughed up at the start and fell back to 18th before rallying to finish sixth.
Court is fortunate to have a versatile colt.
Archarcharch rallied from far back to win the Arkansas Derby.
He has also won when running much closer to the pace.
"The best run is not necessarily taking him way back," he said. "If the speed out there is blistering and there is a speed duel, you'll see him further back than if there was a slower pace.
"I'll talk it over with Jinks and see what our tactical plan is."
"Jinks" is William Fires, Court's father-in-law and Archarcharch's trainer.
This is the first Derby experience for both.
The 50-year-old Court has ridden more than 3,000 winners, including more than 300 at Churchill Downs.
To prepare for his initial Derby ride, he's watched old Derby videos.
"Some of those made me a little nervous," Court said. "I left with a knot in my stomach.
"I am going to go back and look again at those races."
Court has waited a long time for the opportunity with this 10-1 shot.
The last horse to win from post No. 1 was Ferdinand in 1986 with Bill Shoemaker, who, at 54, was the oldest rider to win the Derby.
Court is pulling for another senior moment.
"That was one of the comical things we talked about after the draw," Court said. "Ferdinand, the 1-hole, one of the oldest riders in the race.
"It's a good combination. If the ingredients all come together again, that would be a fine result."