Half the fun of the Kentucky Derby is the license get all gussied up and, of course, to imbibe in some of the best refreshments our state has to offer (a Mint Julep and a slice of Derby Pie are a must), but the other half lies in picking the horse you want to win and waiting in anticipation for the longest two minutes of your life to see whether he will make it through the finish line on top. Whether your pick is just for fun, a five dollar bill, or five thousand dollars, picking a winner can be the hardest part.
Garden & Gun magazine, as part of their “The Southerner’s Handbook,” a guide to living life the Southern way, has put together a piece on how to find the horse who might win this year’s Run for the Roses. Calling on the expertise of veteran Derby handicapper, the anonymous Mr. Black, Garden & Gun has four tips loaded with advice that will help get you through the finish line.
DONT BET THE FAST STARTERS
“The Derby has a lot of these horses. The reason is that a lot of owners have entered a horse in the race for vanity reasons. Last year a guy ran a horse that had never been over seven furlongs! These speed horses run quickly at the start and tire at the end. For this reason, the Derby tends to favor horses coming from the back. Check out the times the horses ran in races leading up to the Derby on equibase.com.”
LOOK FOR A HOT HORSE WITH GOOD ODDS
“You want a horse that’s coming into the Derby off some good races. Last year’s winner, I’ll Have Another, had done well in both starts before the Derby, and was still around 20-1. Money can be made here.”
TRAINERS AND JOCKEYS ARE OVERRATED
“You don’t need a trainer with Derby experience to win the race, and jockeys like Calvin Borel are over-bet because of who they are. The hype exceeds reality. You have better odds with the less well-known.”
BET THE HORSES THAT START ON THE OUTSIDE
“Historically, the Derby is run with twenty horses. They don’t have a twenty-horse starting gate. They have one for fourteen horses, and an auxiliary gate on the outside for horses fifteen to twenty. The auxiliary gate horses seem to get through the starting scrum with greater ease.”
Photo Credit: Garden & Gun