The first Saturday in May is right around the corner – and that means it’s Kentucky Derby time!
I’ve been a fan of Horse Racing since I was a little kid. My dad used to bring me along to ‘historic’ Waterford Park to eat soft-serve ice cream and bet the ponies. I would even run to the windows and place the bets myself! So, when the Kentucky Derby rolls around each year, I am always excited. This year marks the 137th running of the classic race.
You read that right – 137th!
So, even though the event will be on major television outlets, and it will probably draw 150,000 live fans, you might say “Meh…horse racing is over. Nobody pays attention to that stuff anymore”.
I’d (of course) disagree. Horse racing may never again hold the minds of the majority of the people in the country, but the sport has had an impact on our country and even our language! For example, phrase like “Hands Down”, ”Ringer”, “Starting from Scratch”, “Beating a Dead Horse”, “Darkhorse”, “Champing at the Bit” and even the term “Upset” all have connections to racing.
But that’s not the main reason that I watch the Derby. It’s the Mint Julep, the celebrity sightings (and there are a ton of them if you go to the Derby live), and the women in hats. It’s ”My Old Kentucky Home” and the “Call to the Post”. And, it’s picking a horse and rooting him to win.
So, this year, like every other, I’ve done my research. I’ve read the blogs over at Trackmaster, checked out the message boards at Thorograph, and downloaded the Past Performances from the DRF. And, for better or worse, I’ve got my race analysis ready (and I am going to write it just like a professional handicapper would).
Fred’s Analysis of the 137th Kentucky Derby
It’s going to be a interesting race. Most of these horse seem slower than in recent years. And, especially with the late scratch of the reigning two year old champion UNCLE MO, the race looks even more wide open. So, we have to look to see how the race will unfold to pick a winner.
I see several horses trying to get in position early, and perhaps using their energy too fast in those early stages of the race. I think TWICE THE APPEAL will get in great position at the rail, getting around ARCHARCHARCH and BRILLIANT SPEED, with the real frontrunners STAY THIRSTY, DECISIVE MOMENT, COMMA TO THE TOP and PANTS ON FIRE gunning out from their inside posts and SHACKLEFORD from the outside.
After the speed settles in, I envision my stalkers sitting mid-pack. I am high on ANIMAL KINGDOM and SOLDAT to be in good position, along with MIDNIGHT INTERLUDE and the European entrant, MASTER OF HOUNDS. The closers will be far back at this point, especially DIALED IN and NEHRU.
So, when they turn for home, I see PANTS ON FIRE coming out the battle of the speed horses. ANIMAL KINGDOM and SOLDAT should be right in striking distance, moving up to challenge well before the deep closers. I’d add TWICE THE APPEAL here, if I thought he could get the distance, but I see him wasting his perfect trip, fading and pretty much screwing up the chances of ARCHARCHARCH.
At the wire, I have ANIMAL KINGDOM outkicking SOLDAT and PANTS ON FIRE, while DIALED IN makes a belated run to get in the money (and ARCHARCHARCH jumping over the fading horses to challenge for a payday). And, that’s how I see it – ANIMAL KINGDOM over PANTS ON FIRE, SOLDAT, DIALED IN and ARCHARCHARCH.
If the race finishes that way (and I could actually legally bet it in my home state of Georgia), I’d be very, very rich. ANIMAL KINGDOM is 30-1 on the opening line. One can dream…
For more information about the Derby, check out http://www.kentuckyderby.info/.