Sure, there is some basketball game tomorrow weâ€™ll be watching. But today is Derby Day, virtually a national holiday at my house. Weâ€™ll be watching the run for the roses, and for me that means a big Derby party at our house, some mint juleps and my traditional Derby picks post.
The big question handicapping this year is Big Brown â€” is he a freak who is by far the best of a slow group? Or is he a gifted but inexperienced horse in a terrible post position who will fall flat (ala Curlin)?
This is a really tough year to handicap because every horse has plenty of flaws to pick apart and then there is the whole synthetic to dirt track issue. This is a year a longshot may pull through and the exacta may pay big. All that said, here are my picks.
1. Colonel John. Churchill Downs has long favored horses coming from off the pace, and with plenty of speed out front coming off the pace is the place to be in this race. This horse has a very long stride, well suited for this track, and he had a bullet work over the dirt. My only concern is he gets lost in traffic.
2. Denis of Cork. Steve Haskins of BloodHorse talked me into this with his glowing reports on this horse this week. Another horse charging from off the pace with a world of talent.
3. Big Brown. I think the post position hurts him and his inexperience means he canâ€™t overcome it. That said, I canâ€™t leave him off becauseâ€¦. What if he really is that good? He had the outside post and got pushed three wide through the first turn at the Florida Derby and he won by 12 lengths.
In the exotics Iâ€™m throwing in Z Fortune and Pyro. I wouldnâ€™t shocked if Pyro wins the thing. Despite the picks, Iâ€™ll be rooting for Visionaire as I know some people in the ownership syndicate.
Enjoy the race, tomorrow we talk hoops again (and in the previous post’s comments).