Saturday, May 5, 2012

The Nomination Is In : The 138th Kentucky Derby Part 1

Life is precious and short, and you never really know how much time you have left. To me, the Kentucky Derby is a celebration of life, an annual renewal to the true believers in the sport, a reminder of what was, and a message of what could be.

I treasure the Derby and I love talking to people not that familiar with the sport because, well, as a sport we have a real fan base problem, and it's the only way we are going to bring fans back. Yesterday, The Turk Clan hosted a Kentucky Oaks Day party. The house was alive with horse talk and when the race was run the room became electric with interest and excitement. To my friends that are fully engaged in horse racing year round I'll preach to the choir, embrace these Kentucky Derby folks. While the irons hot start starting Preakness. On Memorial Day get your family gathered around for the Met Mile. Talk to them about Saratoga, a festival of top quality racing. Plan a Breeders' Cup party. Have a laptop and take bets on your Twinspires account. Engage people and the horses do the rest.

This is part one of my Kentucky Derby analysis. There will only be a part 2 if i have something to add or if something changes in my thinking, and if it does, I'll repost by 5:45.

One nice thing about handicapping the Derby is by this point in their three year old careers, these animals are close to known quantities. Some of them have yet to show the potential in races, but talent and potential has been revealed. I focus my handicapping on what I can measure, either visually or in a previous performance. I take into account morning work but do not assign too much in the overall quotient to it. I establish ranges, which I display in color and with letter grades. I'm an exotics bettor, and on most days I bet vertically and horizontally through the card, meaning I bet Pick 3 and Pick 4 which is the winners of multiple races in a row as well as individual races where I pick winners and sometimes as many as the top four, or on big days, five finishers. I'm a horse fan first and a bettor a distant second. I have no qualms handicapping and not betting and don't get sucked into the thought that you need to have some action, skin in the game, to enjoy it. You do not. Embrace the people and the animals on a layer deeper than "3 horse, 8 horse" and think about Scat Daddy winning the Florida Derby and now being an emerging leading sire. Ask yourself who is Doctor Hansen? Read about Michael Matz and his bravery and compare him to the affable Bob Baffert. You don't need the action, the characters, both two and four legged, are pretty interesting all on their own.

For those of you needing a 1-800-Hammer moment, let's get after it!

I'm assembling multiple bet combinations from this Base Handicap. The issue I have, which I have to sort out, are my bubble horses, from Dullahan down to I'll have Another. It's my opinion those five horses are the key to the Superfecta and Super High Five. I'll ramble more in the post race analysis about what I was thinking with my Base Handicap, I don't want to dwell too much right now or I may start flip flopping. As for who's going to win? I don't have a clue but I like the two favorites and any of my A or B horses have a good shot.

I'm still alive in the Oaks-Derby Double. The Appleton Turk cousins helped build that Double bet and a special Turk prayer goes to to her and her family as a family member battles to regain her health.

Have fun, Turk Out!

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