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Friday, February 08, 2008


- I have to admit, again, that I'm still not that up on the three-year crop in terms of the Derby. I've been seeing top tens and even top twenties in the papers and on websites, and many of my colleagues at the TBA are doing the fantasy stable thing. But, as I said, I have only two horses that made a real impression on me at two - Tale of Ekati and the filly Country Star, and I have little else to offer as of this moment, though check back after the Risen Star. In looking over the pp's for the futures pool, I'm seeing many of them for the first time.

It's not totally because I'm purposely avoiding it. I've been busy with the wedding just four weeks away, and spending a lot of time following all the fun in politics these days.

But part of me would like, for once, to come up to the race completely fresh. I wonder if my record betting the Derby, which actually isn't so bad despite my spectacular flame-outs thus far on this blog, would be better if I just jumped in at the quarter pole, as Trevor Denman would say, and winged it. Imagine just walking into the track, picking up the Form, and then, eventually, you get to the 11th race, this Kentucky Derby. And you just handicap it, just like that, without knowing the pedigrees or the dosage, or who Beyer likes, or who or when was the last horse to win who didn't start at two. Without having seen them walking the shedrow on The Works (which we won't be seeing anymore anyway), without having read Haskin's columns or the chat sessions with Crist and Illman or the Form consensus box, without having seen every single prep so many times that you know the race calls by heart.

By the time it's Derby Day, I probably haven't really looked at the past performance lines for a month. The numbers lose their meaning, because there's nothing more to extract from them. The basics of handicapping get buried beneath the minutiae of three four five? months of Derby Trail. I know everything about every horse, and there's no chance of stumbling upon that wonderful last minute revelation that sends me scurrying to the windows. And even if I did, I'm so locked in and committed by that point, that I would never change my mind and risk going off the winner. I for one take it all too seriously; it becomes more a matter of pride than the money. Are you even having fun at that point?

Of course, I'll certainly get into the spirit when it starts to get more serious: the anticipation and the buildup is far too compelling to ignore, and I could never resist. Perhaps I could be administered a Vulcan mind meld on the day of the race, be made to forget and wipe the slate clean. I wonder if it would help to handicap the Derby strictly on simple handicapping. I for one will certainly never know.

- Rock on and prosper.

1 Comment:

Anonymous said...

It's heartening to know/hear Joe's voice is still so strong!! He was one of my teenage music gods....