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Kentucky Derby preview

Posted on April 27th, 2010

It’s time again for the first leg in the triple crown – The Kentucky Derby. Set for Saturday at 6:15 p.m. Eastern at the famous track in Churchill Downs, Kentucky, the Derby is what momentarily brings casual sports fans and pretentious rich women back into the sport for a few weeks. Watch out for flying horseshoes and overflowing martinis.

This will be the 136th running of one of the most famous races in all of sports. The 3-year-old thoroughbreds will put it all on the track in this “race for the roses.” Last year, Mine That Bird came out of nowhere to claim the prestigious $2M prize. Let’s take a look at the contenders in this year’s race.

Some of the horses expected to be in the running are Lookin at Lucky, Noble’s Promise, Rule, Sindey’s Candy, Eskenderya, Line of David and Ice Box. Lookin at Lucky leads the pack by a large margin with $1.5M in total earnings so far. The horse is owned by Bob Baffert, so you know it’s got an inside track to the winner’s circle if the jockey can just stay in the saddle. For the horse’s sake, Bob should hope it doesn’t get put in post 17 or 19, as there has never been a winner who’s come out of either of those posts.

Obviously one of the biggest events of the year for Louisville, the Derby’s 1.25-mile, two-minute explosion of excitement dates all the way back to 1875, when the length of the race was actually 1.5 miles. All those years later, it remains a staple of horse racing, and whichever horse wins will be a household name through to the Preakness, and then if that horse wins again, hype and suspension will build to the Belmont Stakes, where the horse has a chance to accomplish the stories feat of being named a Triple Crown winner.

I do a little gambling on the favorites, but like most people, these days are about the event. Horse racing is almost like tailgating inside or (down in Florida) in someone’s back yard. But once the positions are established, I’ll be as hard at work as the next sports gambler setting my strategy and setting aside some hard-earned funds to make the race much more interesting.