The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports - NOVA this week (May 7, 2016)
from my weekly wanderings, usually in Northern Virginia (NOVA).
been a fan of thoroughbred horse racing ever since the Summer of 73 when I
watched the Great Secretariat win the Triple Crown.
this subject will be of little interest to most bookish readers, but keep
reading, there’s something here for the logophile.
today will be the 142nd running of the Kentucky Derby, the Run for the Roses, the First Saturday in May – the Most
Exciting Two Minutes in Sports. A bit later, I’ll tell you who’s going to win
first, that promised bit that might interest bookish sorts who may at least
have an appreciation of the lyrical, poetic, or fanciful names of the horses
such as Northern Dancer, Distorted Humor, Winning Colors, and Spectacular Bid. I
don’t find any of the names this year particularly poetic, but a couple of the
runners are descended from champions with great names. My long shot pick, Lani,
is the grandson of Sunday Silence (best name ever) and Shagaf, who has little
chance to win, is the grandson of Unbridled’s Song.
bonus for the logophiles, did you know the horses are not horses – they’re
colts. In a very general sense, a horse is not a horse, until maturity, or four
years old and up. The Kentucky Derby is limited to three-year olds, which are
either colts or geldings (male) or fillies (female). Fillies occasionally run
in the Kentucky Derby, though only Winning Colors, Genuine Risk, and Regret
have won. However, this year’s field is entirely colts and geldings. Mature
horses are more specifically referred to as stallions (males) and mares
before my picks: The Kentucky Derby is one of the hardest races in the world to
handicap. Why? A lot of reasons, but the main one is the HUGE field. Most
thoroughbred races have 8-10 runners, a few rare races have 12-14. The Kentucky
Derby is a 20 horse stampede, and the best horse can get caught in traffic,
which may cost him the race. I’m a pretty good handicapper, but I throw this
disclaimer out there in case I’m way off.
picks – Top Three – In order: Exaggerator, Nyquist, and Lani.
Exaggerator over the probable favorite Nyquist even though Nyquist previously beat
Exaggerator. Exaggerator has had more consistent
speed in his last five races; and I just feel he will have a good race today – in handicapping terms – I feel he’s “sitting on a big
race". His jockey. Kent Desormeaux, is one of my favorites. He is a hall of fame
jockey who has won the Kentucky Derby three times. He had a fall from grace a
few years ago with some personal drama, but seems to rebounding. Gotta love a
comeback. The trainer, Keith Desormeaux is Kent’s brother but this is his first
trip to the Derby. Gotta love a Cinderella story.
Nyquist will probably be the odds-on favorite, but my second choice. I like
Nyquist because he is undefeated of course, plus I picked him in the Breeder’s
Cup Juvenile and Florida Derby. Finally, he is named for a player on the
Detroit Red Wings (my NHL team). I’m ambivalent about the jockey and trainer.
is a longshot, but I like his chances, and I like the odds he’ll get even
better. I already mentioned one thing I like, his bloodline – grandson of
Sunday Silence the Winner of the 1989 Kentucky Derby, and Preakness. Sunday
Silence lost the Belmont Stakes, and hence the Triple Crown to his arch-rival,
Easy Goer. Back to Lani, none of the colts today have ever run 1 ¼ miles
before, but Lani has come closer than any, in winning the 1 3/16 UAE Derby. He
has also run in traffic, with 2 races of a field of 16, one of 15 and one of 14
– so Lani has better experience at the distance and with the large field. This
horse is based in Japan though, and the trainer and jockey are unknown to me.
think Gun Runner and Creator will be in the mix, but I am not a fan of their
trainer, and indifferent to their jockeys.
there you have it. 11-13-8 exacta box – can’t lose.
And for a bit of extreme ridiculousness, the full finish order: 11-13-8-5-3-9-17-16-6-14-19-15-20-18-7-1-2-4-12-10
more thing for the logophiles. Something I wrote once about Kentucky Derby day,
and the greatest racehorse ever. Ghosts of Derbies Past