Itâ€™s time for my one annual non-Lakers post making horseracing picks. (A longer-look at restructuring the Lakers is coming in the next day or so.) My wife and I have been to the Derby a couple times, love horse racing and throw a mean Derby party.
This race is always a little hard to pick because there are 20 horses in the field, which can lead to a lot of traffic and difficult trips for good horses. Specifically, Curlin jockey Albarado is going to have a great ride to keep a very good horse out of trouble coming out of the two hole. Itâ€™s also hard because so many prep races are now run on the new poly-track, while this race is on dirt.
It rained pretty hard yesterday in Kentucky, and there is a chance of rain today, but since it looked sunny at the morning â€œBreakfast at Churchillâ€ broadcast Iâ€™m going to base these picks on a fast and dry track. But my favorite stays on top if there is slop.
1) Hard Spun. I think this horse has been building and building, and his amazing workout Monday shows that, and that he loves the dirt track at Churchill. My biggest concern is that the big work Monday took too much out of him, but I think thatâ€™s long enough to recover. Also, if it rains, this is my big choice; I think he wins handily in the slop.
2) Street Sense. Another horse that has great numbers over the dirt, and has dealt well in the past in races with a fast pace (this race likely will have one, most Derbys tend to start fast). He won the Breeders Cup Juvenile over this course last year, and I donâ€™t by the fact that no BC Juvenile winner has won the derby means that much. He had an off-race in the Blue Grass (beaten by Dominican) but I think he will bounce back big.
3) Curlin. How can you ignore those last three races? Big, easy wins, albeit against lesser competition (the only other Derby horse heâ€™s faced is long-shot Storm in May). If there is one â€œsuperhorseâ€ in this field, Curlin is it. Plus, itâ€™s a great name (heâ€™s named after a former slave who fought for the Union in the Civil War).
If I were a betting man (and, ironically, I am) Iâ€™d put those three in an exacta box. If youâ€™re going for exotics Iâ€™d probably put Tiago and Any Given Saturday in the mix on the back end.
Enjoy the race! And the big fight tonight. Weâ€™ll get back to the Lakers and the NBA tomorrow.