05/04/2011 6:30PM

Kentucky Derby: Fires admits post 1 makes Archarcharch's job more difficult


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Things appeared to be going swimmingly for Archarcharch and his connections in the three weeks since their 3-year-old won the Arkansas Derby.

Then came Wednesday’s post position draw for Saturday’s Kentucky Derby where Archarcharch wound up in post position 1 in the 20-horse field. While the rail has produced 12 Kentucky Derby winners in the race’s 136-year history, the last to win from there was Ferdinand in 1986. The last horse to finish in the top three from post 1 was Risen Star in 1988. Limehouse (2004) and Jazil (2006) finished fourth breaking from the rail.

“Not a good place to be,” said trainer William “Jinks” Fires, who has waited nearly 50 years to get a horse good enough to run in the Kentucky Derby. “I’ve never liked the one hole, but you got to do what you got to do.”

Fires said he would have preferred to have drawn posts 7 through 11. Post 6 was the second-to-last spot to be assigned and that went to Comma to the Top, who figures to be one of the speed horses in the race. Fires said drawing the rail could force jockey Jon Court to have to use his horse early.

“We’d like to lay just off the pace and with the one-hole if you don’t go with them a ways you’ll get shuffled way back,” Fires said.

Archarcharch was assigned odds of 10-1 on the Churchill Downs morning line, making him the co-fourth choice along with Midnight Interlude, who will break from post 15, the first slot in the auxiliary gate. Though downtrodden with the draw, Fires remains confident in his horse.

“He’s been training very well and he’s good in the gates,” Fires said. “He’s never been an unruly horse in the gate. I feel like he’ll settle in there okay. Hopefully, we can get out and get a good position and sit there and go when we want to.”