A quick break on the day of game seven (keep talking Lakers in the comments of the previous post) for one of my other favorite things â€” the Kentucky Derby. My wife and I have been to a couple (actually, she’s been to six, we’ve gone to two together) and we’ve thrown killer Derby parties (but not this year). It’s a piece of Americana in a great city. Plus, we love the ponies.
Two years ago, on my old blog, I nailed the exacta (if you boxed my three picks, which is what I suggested and always do). I also hit the exacta two years ago. However, last year was the fluke Giacomo win, which I and nobody in their right mind had. Today, the good karma starts early.
This year was one of the hardest races to handicap in a while. Count me in with the vast majority that thinks the pace is going to be crazy fast (expect the first quarter in at least 22and5, or faster) and that, at closer-favored Churchill, means someone is going to come from the back to win. But who? Well, rather than my usual three, I’m boxing four for the exact this year, and it still doesn’t cover all the horses I think could sneak into trifectas. But here are my four.
1. Sweetnorthernsaint. Yes, they are asking him to rate rather than run out front, and you don’t know how he’ll react to dirt in his face. But, if he gets the right ride, he is the best come-from-the-pack horse in this race.
2. Point Determined. I think this horse can close as well, and this is the one I’ll be rooting for to win. I was fortunate to meet Bob and Beverly Lewis on a couple of occasions, and there have never been more gracious people. Win or lose, they were upbeat and friendly. I want to see Beverly in the winner’s circle.
3. Barbaro. Has won on every surface. Plus, our horse-knowledgeable friend in Louisville said this is the horse that has been the most impressive in workouts this week and seems to love the track. So I’m putting him in over AP Warrior.
4 Brother Derek. I tend to think he’ll go to the front and burn out from the pace, but he may have the class to hang in there. This is a good horse that would be my pick in many years, but this race doesn’t set up well for him. Still, can’t throw him out.