In the only Kentucky Derby I covered, as a 19-year-old intern for the Lexington Herald-Leader, I got lucky on a $3 exacta bet that paid 33-1. The feeling of sprinting up the stairs to the press box to trade a $1 bill for five twenties (yes, that would be from the dedicated betting booth in the Churchill Downs press box) was one of the great sports rushes of my college years, perhaps more so because I knew practically zilch about horse racing. What I did know, however, was reading. And I’d read a lot of predictions that week.
Apparently I’m not the only one who likes to crowd-source betting advice. The Herald-Leader has compiled a great list of win-place-show predictions from around the country and placed them, helpfully, beneath this headline: "Experts picking Orb." I’m noticing lots of Revolutionary, Itsmyluckyday and Normandy Invasion on this list as well.
You may Beautiful Mind your way to other more lucrative patterns. Of course none of this means doesn’t mean you should lock onto any those fine animals, if you’ve got a few bucks burning a hole in your pocket. Favorites might pay out reliably (or not, in this particular zoo-riot of a race). But unless you package them in an exacta or a trifecta, they’re probably not going to change your weekend much. One scratch today, Black Onyx, was, at 50-1, a potential weekend-changer, alas.
If the Herald-Leader’s metapunditry doesn’t satisfy you, the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Bob Ford has one of the day’s best stories on why Revolutionary is his pick. This guy apparently has picked the past two winners and likes Mylute this year. And for true degenerates, People magazine’s intrepid Pets department has arranged its top five picks in handy photo gallery format.
Oh, and for everyone getting schnockered in the infield today: We know it's a damp one. Do your mudder proud and enjoy the slop. firstname.lastname@example.org if your camera doesn't get too soaked.
Photo credit of Stylish D'Oro: Associated Press