"The best we can do is size up the chances, calculate the risks involved, estimate our ability to deal with them, and then make our plans with confidence."Clearly, Henry Ford didn't have a Derby horse when he offered up those words of wisdom.
And here it is, the eve of the 136th Running of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands and I don't have a Derby horse. All these months of prep races and I lack a favorite - a tout worthy of a confident proclamation and a fistful of dollars at the mutuel windows. It has come down to merely reading the past performances and Genius Alan's rundown. So, I've sized up and calculated and estimated and made a plan:
Stately Victor. After my recent pseudo-research on the colt, I'm really liking him. He ran against some nice horses in the Bluegrass, and I loved how he turned on the gas and closed. He's run on turf, dirt, and synthetic tracks; perhaps not displaying dazzling performances on dirt but, frankly, I fail to see a whole lot of "dazzling" in this Derby field. Jockey Alan Garcia, a plus.
Lookin at Lucky. The deserving Derby favorite, as he should be, but I hate that 1-hole. And, with a 20 horse field, lots of odds on the board, and recent memories of Mine That Bird and Giacomo, my WIN money will be somewhere else. However, he'll be boxed into an exotic wager or two.
Super Saver. Usually I avoid Mr. 0-for-24-in-the-Derby, Todd Pletcher. The last time I had a Derby relationship with a Pletcher horse was Bandini, which to say the least, was not a success. But Super Saver has won at Churchill Downs, has won in the slop - weather forecast for the Derby calls for rain - and he has Calvin Borel aboard. I'm not a fan of front runners, but Super Saver rated well in the Arkansas Derby (gr. 1), losing by a neck to front runner Line of David.
Jackson Bend. Ah, maybe appears too slow on paper, but this Florida-bred chestnut colt has been in the exacta all 9 of his races. Regarding his Wood Memorial performance, the chart reads, "No match 2nd best." Well, who was a match to Eskendereya? Eskendereya ain't here, and I think he can be competitive with this field.
Plans are for various exotic wagering strategies - exacta boxes, a tenuous dabble in a trifecta. No, I don't have a true Derby horse but it certainly won't keep my wagering dollars in my pocket tomorrow.