Basic Action: Factoring post positions is essential to the process of analyzing horse races. Post position refers to the gate position that a horse is breaking from in a particular race. What constitutes the best post position varies by the track, the distance of the race and the running style of the horse.
Advanced Action: In general, unless a horse has a lot of early speed, wider posts are a negative in sprint races (less than a mile). On the other hand, drawing an inside post like the rail (first spot in the gate which is usually occupied by the #1 horse) in a sprint can be advantageous for a speed horse but extremely negative for most horses who aren’t apt to get out of the gate quickly.
There is a lot of variation in what makes for a good post draw and a lot of it depends on the configuration of courses, specifically how much distance there is between a race’s starting point and the turn. For a better idea at which posts are preferable and which aren’t, check out the websites of your favorite race tracks. Most track sites list statistics by post position for sprints and routes over dirt and turf surfaces. Here’s an example on the NYRA Saratoga site: nyra.com/saratoga/racing/leaders/post-positions