Favorite Fierceness draw No. 17 post for Derby

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Fierceness was named the 5-2 morning line favorite for the 150th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs and will look to make history in next Saturday’s milestone race as the first entrant to win in 45 attempts from the No. 17 post position.

The Todd Pletcher-trained colt enters the 1 1/4-mile opening leg of the Triple Crown races on May 4 off a dominating 13 1/2-length win in last month’s Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park and has a third-place finish as a 3-year-old. Fierceness aims to give the Hall of Fame trainer his third Derby win and first since 2017 with Always Dreaming.

Also, Brad Cox-trained filly Tarifa is the 7-2 morning line favorite for Friday’s Kentucky Oaks after drawing the No. 8 post.

Sierra Leone, whose 155 points led the Derby qualifying trail, drew the No. 2 post as the 3-1 second choice for the $5 million Grade I premier race for 3-year-olds. The son of Gun Runner and Heavenly Love by Malibu Moon has rallied from deep in the field to win both starts this year including a thrilling trip in the Grade 1 Blue Grass at Keeneland three weeks ago, which followed a testy entry to the gate.

Catching Freedom is the 8-1 third Derby choice from the No. 14 post and will aim to give Cox his first outright Derby victory after Mandaloun was elevated to 2021 Derby winner following the disqualification of deceased colt Medina Spirit for a failed postrace drug test.

Tarifa will start Friday’s Oaks from the No. 8 post as the 7-2 favorite. She has won all three starts this season to lead the Oaks trail with 150 points and has won four of five lifetime starts while earning $456,000. The dark brown filly will attempt to give Louisville-born Cox his third Oaks win and first since 2020 with Shedaresthedevil.

Just F Y I, trained by Hall of Famer and four-time Eclipse winner Bill Mott, is the 9-2 second choice in Friday’s $1.5 million Oaks and will start from the No. 13 post. Pletcher-trained filly Leslie’s Rose is the 4-1 third choice from the far No. 14 post, looking to follow up her win in the Grade 1 Ashland at Keeneland on April 5.

The draw was held on opening night of Churchill Downs’ spring meet for the first time and a week ahead of the milestone race, two days earlier than in recent years.

Post time for the Derby is 6:57 p.m. ET. Friday’s Oaks is scheduled for a 5:51 p.m. post.

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