The No. 1 and No. 14 posts remained open until there were just two spots left, leaving the connections of speedy Hansen and Daddy Long Legs in suspense. UAE Derby winner Daddy Long Legs got the inside stall, while 10-1 shot Hansen avoided the unpopular spot and landed the No. 14 slot.
"If we were in the one-hole, we'd have to chase Secretariat for the track record. We don't have to do that now, so we'll play around with the other horses," said Dr. Kendall Hansen, who owns the nearly all white colt named after him and plans to have 200 family and friends on hand.
"We're going to win this race. We're not worried about anybody. We've got the best horse. Speed is dangerous," he said.
Hansen, the Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner, and Daddy Long Legs have the most graded stakes earnings in the field. Hansen leads the list with more than $1.5 million, while Daddy Long Legs has $1.2 million.
Steve Asmussen, who is 0 for 9 in the Derby, will saddle two long shots in 15-1 Daddy Nose Best and 30-1 Sabercat.
Optimizer is the record 45th Derby starter for trainer D. Wayne Lukas, a four-time Derby winner. The colt will break from the No. 2 post and is one of five 50-1 shots. He got into the field when Mark Valeski was withdrawn from consideration Tuesday.
"There were a few on the board I'd rather have," Lukas said. "It's OK because we're not a speed horse anyway."
The 21st horse on the earnings list is My Adonis, an also-eligible who would need a defection before 9 a.m. EDT Friday, when Derby wagering opens, to get into the 1¼-mile race. If he draws into the race, My Adonis would automatically go into the No. 20 hole and all the other horses would move over one spot.
The draw was a traditional pill pull in which horses' entries are pulled at the same time as a numbered pill to determine what stall a horse will break from at the starting gate.
If all 20 horses start, the $2,219,600 purse would be the richest since 2005, when the Derby first became a guaranteed $2 million event. The winner earns $1,459,600. Post time is 6:24 p.m. EDT.
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