Kentucky Derby Picks

Kurt —  May 3, 2008

Sure, there is some basketball game tomorrow we’ll be watching. But today is Derby Day, virtually a national holiday at my house. We’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 — 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 can’t overcome it. That said, I can’t leave him off because…. 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 I’m throwing in Z Fortune and Pyro. I wouldn’t shocked if Pyro wins the thing. Despite the picks, I’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).

Kurt

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10 responses to Kentucky Derby Picks

  1. I enjoy reading your blog for all things Lakers & Kobe. I was pleased to learn that you are a fan of horse racing. I live in Lexington, KY and I’m around it 24/7. My pick to win it all is Big Brown and I wouldn’t be surprised if he wins the Triple Crown if he wins the Derby.

    Have a great Derby day, Kurt!

  2. I’m always partial to the winner of the Santa Anita Derby.

    I’ll be heading over to Bay Meadows to put a couple of dollars on Colonel John and watch it with a crowd…

  3. Warren Wee Lim May 3, 2008 at 11:22 am

    Kurt loves em Horses as Filipinos love cockfighting.

  4. 3. That’s hilarious, Warren. I’m Irish so I like horse fighting and cock racing. And beer.

  5. Apparently, he really is that good.

    Very sad about Eight Belles.

  6. We watched at the Meadows and had no idea that Eight Belles had been euthanized. The only money we won was on 8 Belles because we had her finishing 3rd…

  7. I called it in the first comment :)

    Like Brian said, I am saddened by Eight Belles’ departure. This is the ugly side of horse racing…

  8. Big Brown really impressed me. Maybe he is that good, although I think Dennis of Cork could take 5 weeks off then give him a big run in the Belmont (yes he was well back but he made a heck of a move). Still, now I’m in Big Brown’s corner.

    The Eight Belles situation was incredibly sad.

  9. Heard a comment this morning about how California now mandates artificial track surfaces because weather – no matter how manicured – can affect the track and measurably increase the chance of injury. Also, California is also taking the lead in regulating drugs – another factor in the declining health of race horses today.

    Maybe the sport should look into these things.

  10. Craig, I know a few people in the horse racing industry, and the owners and trainers love that synthetic track for the most part because injuries are way down. However, I doubt Churchhill ever changes because of tradition.