Prophesying the Derby

It’s that Magical Time of Year — Derby fever has been raging in Louisville, KY for 2 weeks and we now have the field set and can make bets beginning tomorrow.

It looks as though Eville is going to have decent weather on Saturday with a.m. clouds/p.m. sun and highs in the 70’s,  in stark contrast to my report in  2013 Coldest Derby Ever  

I shared with you in  2015 – It’s Derby Week-end how befuddled I become when betting The Run for the Roses, but I’m a little less confused than usual this year.  (2015 was the American Pharoah year, so the decision seems easy, now.)

In 2016, I was visiting NYC on Derby Week-end…

Eliza’s Derby Hat 2016 NYC

Around these parts, we have a Real Kentucky Thoroughbred Racetrack, Ellis Park, 10 miles away, but Manhattan lacks such amenities.  I discovered TwinSpires, the Official online wagering site of Churchill Downs that year.  We went down to the wire getting our bets made, then put on our hats and sipped bourbon.

I do not have enough money to gamble, and usually stick with $2 bets, except for the Derby, where I make $3 bets. but more of them than any other race.  There are just so damn many horses!!

This year, only 5 of 21 horses have current odds below 10-1:  Justify at 3-1;  Mendelsohn at 5-1; Magnum Moon at 6-1; Bolt d’Oro and Audible, both 8-1. Amazingly, 13 entries have odds at 20-1 to 50-1!!!

It actually is a strong field:  Todd Pletcher trained 4; Bob Baffert trained 2; Aiden O’Brien has been traveling the world winning with Mendelsohn; and Dale Romans has 2 entries.

Saturday morning showers in Louisville may leave a dampened track, though nothing like the mud we had last year.

So what’s a girl to do?  Last year, I left all my Triple Crown winnings in the TS account, so I have that to bet.  And bet it I will.

I have been following the  Prep Races, and early on fell in love with Good Magic.  Not long after, Magnum Moon came along and stole my heart.  I’ve been set on those 2 for a couple of months now, even as the race card filled up with horses with higher BRIS numbers and flashier wins.  The other day, Justify kicked ass at the Santa Anita Derby and caught my eye, and he’s now the favorite.

This might be a good year to bet a longshot.  For the last 5 years, the favorite has won, but for 20 (!!) years before 2012 the favorite lost.  Remember Giacomo winning at 50-1 in 2005?  There are some good horses in that 20-1 to 50-1 group that could surprise us.  Noble Indy comes from a fine family of horses, is a Pletcher horse, and is currently at 30-1.  Salomini has been persistently placing in the preps, and is trained by Baffert, also at 30-1.

So there’s a little info for strategery whenst wagering.  Say you don’t believe in “gambling”?  It’s a Horse Race, the Greatest Two Minutes in Sports (some say).  You don’t have to put out any money to cheer on your favorite horse(s) while wearing a fancy hat and drinking a minty beverage.  Enjoy!

And in case you’re conflicted over Derby Day falling on Cinco de Mayo, here’s a solution…

Cinco de Derby

My hat is ready for donning…  After Olivia’s piano recital, we’ll head over to Ellis and join the festivities.  See you at the track!

P.S.  I know, I know I didn’t say anything about the Oaks.  There needs to be a major movement to get the fillies the proper attention, but I’m not feeling it this year.  Maybe Chocolate Martini?  Oh, Just pick a number…




It’s Derby Week-end…

I haven’t always been such a horse-race fiend, but I have watched the Kentucky Derby for all of my adult life.  I didn’t even know you could make a bet outside of Churchill Downs, but we would watch on TV,  pick a horse and get bragging rights if he won.  Before Betting the Derby, I seemed to be able to pick winners with a fair consistency, but now that I use real money to wager the race, I over-think and self-doubt, rarely cashing a ticket.  One year, I bet nearly the whole field to show—this does not pay off, folks.  Maybe the mint Juleps had something to do with it…

Even though it’s been run as long as the Derby, I didn’t “discover” the Oaks until a few years back.  The Kentucky Oaks parallels the Derby, running the 3-year-old thoroughbred fillies the day before the fellas.  Of course, there’s not quite as much money on the ladies, so occasionally a trainer decides to run a filly with the boys, but the Oaks is all girls…  I have done pretty well betting this race, but I am now beginning to analyze it to smithereens…

Of course, that’s what most would call handicapping. I’ve been to several helpful websites that teach about that art, and it seems to me that they compile even more data than I do:  past performances, lengths of race, turf vs track, on and on and on,  until I’m baffled and bewildered.

It was a natural segue from those sites to examine the “how to bet” tutorials that show you, quickly and easily, how to bet $100–and win–on  superfectas and  trifectas, rendering me stuperfected!!!   I am seriously confounded and confused…I think it has something to do with math??….


Simplify!!  I’ll take the advice of Mom’s old friend, Jean, and put my money on the gray horse…(that would be Ocho Ocho Ocho at 50-1 or Frosted at 15-1 or Mr. Z at 50-1–no help there).   I could use Donna and Lana’s old method and pick the best-looking jockey (that, in my humble op, would be Miguel Mena, riding International Star at 20-1).   No, it’s all about the odds—I’ll pick any horse that has over 10-1 odds (currently 17 horses)…or pick the favorite (Dortmund*** at 3-1)  .No, the favorite never wins…   Calvin is riding El Kabeir (30-1) from the #7 gate, right next to Dortmund in #8;  if I know him, he might catch the jetstream and win his fourth Derby.  But  Gary Stevens is the oldest jockey riding Derby 141, on Firing Line (12-1), and this would also be his fourth win, so maybe I should bet the old guy. There’s a good-looking horse named Danzig Moon (30-1), so maybe the Moon reference (my daughter’s nickname) will lead me to the winning ticket.   It’s a gamble, anyway you figure it…  ***favorite as of this morning is American Pharoah at 5-2.

My technique for picking a winner in the Oaks is going to be:  buy a program, open it to the list of contenders,  close my eyes, and point…  That will probably work…

Oh, well, here’s a sure bet:  we’ll all have a good time…


I’ll let you know how it goes…