I'm not sure I can write it any better than my good friend G-Rob. I suck at handicapping horses. And that pretty much puts me in the category as 95% of all handicappers out there.
Playing the ponies is hard. We're gambling on the whims of some big, dumb animals ridden by tiny men.
So what went wrong for me?More in this Poker Blog! -->
The Kentucky Derby
Frankly, I didn't spend a whole lot of time on this race. I didn't exactly make that clear in my post, although in ranking the factors that lead me to bet Momba, I put both a random text message from BG and the random selection of Lady Luck above my handicapping.
Monba finished last. Big Brown ran a remarkable race from the outside post.
I didn't bet this race. It didn't make much sense to because Big Brown was facing one of the weakest Triple Crown fields in history. Instead of handicapping it, I gave you all a hot tip on Casino Drive in the Peter Pan Stakes.
Big Brown dominated the Preakness as expected and Casino Drive won the Peter Pan Stakes earning me a couple hundred bucks.
G-Rob seems to delight in the fact that my horse didn't even get to run the race. He seems to suggest that being scratched demonstrates my inability as a handicapper. If anything, I look at this race and think what could have been. Big Brown died on the track (well, not Racing Belles-like dying). I didn't expect that. I did expect, however, that Big Brown would not win this race. Had Casino Drive not been scratched, I'm fairly certain he'd have won it.
Instead, Da'Tara won. A horse that didn't seem like it belonged. It was the longest shot in the field for a reason. In the end, he got to run clean without any real competition. That's probably just the kind of race he needed.
I didn't make any money on the Triple Crown this year. I don't think I won anything last year, but I can't remember. Two years ago, I hit on Jazil in the Belmont for about $1250. BG and I haven't yet hit a Pick 6, but we've come moderately close. I hit a Pick 4 this year for about $1800. I also had a couple of really successful days at Evangeline Downs mixed in with some average ones.
Picking the ponies isn't easy. But I'm certainly not done sticking my neck out with bold predictions. Perhaps I should add more disclaimers like, "Don't bet my picks," but that won't be much fun for you on those days I do hit!
Now I'm just crossing my fingers that Casino Drive is back on American soil for the Breeders Cup at Santa Anita in late October...<-- Hide More
POST RACE UPDATE: Big Brown. Wow.
Here is your Kentucky Derby winner.
How did I arrive at this pick? It took three easy steps...More in this Poker Blog! -->
1. It started with a text message this morning from BG:
"$21 to win on BOB BLACK JACK, $10 to win on MONBA"
With a brother named Bob, and the obvious gambling reference, BG would be crazy NOT to bet on Bob Black Jack. That's where his heart is. That means his head must be with Monba. (Full disclosure: This is only a guess at BG's motive for that pick, especially since on Friday, BG told me he wasn't actually going to handicap the card.)
2. I read off the names of all 20 horses to Lady Luck, and she selected Monba.
3. Armed with this knowledge, I did a little handicapping of the field. Here's what I figured out:
Colonel John should go off as the favorite and has a great shot at winning this race. Coming out of the 10th post, he's in much better shape than Big Brown. And in the Santa Anita Derby one month ago, he showed the 1 1/4m distance likely won't faze him. That said, I won't bet the favorite in a 20-horse Derby field.
Big Brown should go off as the second favorite. He also has a shot at winning this race, but coming out of the 20th post will be more than he can overcome. He'll expend a lot of energy to get himself closer to the rail and the four horses inside of him are too good to allow him that room. This is the best horse in the field, but he won't win.
Pyro should go off as the third favorite. It wouldn't shock me to see him win. He'll leave the gate just inside of Colonel John. The Blue Grass Stakes was a disaster for Pyro (he finished 10th) but I think the Louisiana Derby is probably a better indication of what he may bring on this day. However, he won't win.
A half-dozen other horses will be real contenders: Wood Memorial-winner Tale of Ekati, Florida Deby-runner up Smooth Air, Santa Anita Derby-runner up Bob Black Jack (who should be the early speed), Blue Grass Stakes-runner up Cowboy Cal, Illinois Derby-winner Recapturetheglory, and Arkansas Derby-winner Gayego (beware of injury whispers on this horse).
All those horses are certainly capable making this a very difficult field to break down. It doesn't take much skill, however, to list 10 horses that could win a race. What you want is the winner. And that winner will be Monba.
I anticipate Monba getting out good from the 14th post, following Bob Black Jack who may be the early leader. Look for Monba to settle in a few off the rail by the first turn. He'll be in trouble if he lets those big horses outside of him get a jump on him, but I think he'll be fine.
By the stretch, Pyro will be passing Bob Black Jack, Big Brown will be rallying from well back on the outside, Colonel John will begin his move from the middle of the pack, but Monba will be best positioned to get the win. He'll duel with Pyro, before winning by a length, Colonel John will get up for third, Big Brown fourth and Bob Black Jack fifth.
There it is. The Blue Grass Stakes winner will make it happen again.
And, since you asked, Big Brown will take the Preakness and Colonel John (after skipping the Preakness) will take the Belmont.
Place your bets!
My bets are now placed.
$10 Win #14 Monba
$10 Win #9 Pyro
$7 Win #2 Tale of Ekati
$5 Win #13 Bob Blackjack
$2 Ex #14 Monba w/ #9 Pyro
$2 Ex Box #9 Pyro, #10 Colonel John, #20 Big Brown
$2 Tri #14 Monba w/ #9 Pyro w/ #10 Colonel John
$1 Tri #14 Monba, #9 Pyro w/ #14 Monba, #9 Pyro, #10 Colonel John, #20 Big Brown w/ #10 Colonel John, #20 Big Brown, #13 Bob Black Jack
$2 Tri Box #9 Pyro, #10 Colonel John, #20 Big Brown
$1 Super #14 Monba, #9 Pyro, #10 Colonel John, #20 Big Brown
$1 Super #14 Monba, #9 Pyro w/ #14 Monba, #9 Pyro, #10 Colonel John, #20 Big Brown w/ #10 Colonel John, #13 Bob Blackjack, #20 Big Brown w/ #10 Colonel John, #13 Bob Blackjack, #20 Big Brown
$1 High Five #14 Monba w/ #9 Pyro w/ #10 Colonel John w/ #20 Big Brown w/ #13 Bob Blackjack
That's $96 dollars in bets. I planned to spend $100, but lost a few bucks on the 9th race (Oneida did pick the winner by name, however, or I would have lost even more!). Good luck at the windows!<-- Hide More