The Derby revisited, via TV | Rock Candy

Monday, May 8, 2006

The Derby revisited, via TV

Posted on Mon, May 8, 2006 at 3:44 PM

That was an interesting trio that NBC caught in the stands: Smokey Robinson, Billy Gibbons  and Ludacris. Or was it Dusty Hill instead of Gibbons?

We went to a Derby watching party that turned into a NASCAR watching party that turned into a Suns-Lakers watching party. Our group drew numbers to get to draft their favorite for the Derby in our pool. Lucky us, the seventh pick in the draft allowed us to take Barbaro, the fifth pick our wife used on Steppenwolfer. Because no one in the pool took Bluecat whatsamacallit, which placed, spouse and I took home the pot, which included a fifth of Crown Royal (coincidentally, and not intentional by the party hosts, the NASCAR event was the Crown Royal 400 from Richmond, won by Dale Jr.).

Lawyer Ron, Oaklawn's hope to pull a Smarty Jones and win the Derby after winning all of Oaklawn's big 3-year-old races, didn't do anything. Sometimes there are just too many horses out there in Louisville. In fact, every year now there are too many horses. We were recalling Saturday the first time everybody and their little brother thought they could win the Derby, and 23 entered the year Canonero II won in the Derby record time. That was a generation ago, before Secretariat. Another 23 just a few years ago led to this new selection process where the top 20 money earners would qualify for the Derby.

Also, back in the day, you had 12 or so entries that drew odds, and then anybody else in the field, even all the way to 23 entries, were lumped in the "field." You could get decent odds (12-1 or so) and maybe a decent chance horse in the field. Now, 20 individual bets are out there, with that many possibilities, 5-1 is about as low as the odds are going to go. Barbaro was 4-1 in the morning line before wagering started, but was 6-1  at the post. Lawyer Ron even inched up close to 10-1 by the time they broke.

The real Lawyer Ron, the guy who was administering the estate of Lawyer Ron's late owner (he died in February) made a good deal selling off most of Lawyer Ron earlier in the week. The value of the horse certainly took a tumble after Saturday's race.

But the Preakness at Pimlico on May 20 in Baltimore will be more to Lawyer Ron's liking, though he still probably isn't the horse Barbaro is. The race is 1 and 3/16th, and fewer horses will go to the post. Lawyer Ron may not have liked the Churchill Downs dirt. Oaklawn horses seem to fair better at Baltimore. Look for a better showing for Lawyer Ron.

If I owned Steppenwolfer, I'd sit out the next four weeks and just get in shape for Belmont's mile and a 1/2. Steppenwolfer could be the Triple Crown spoiler this year, assuming Barbaro does what it should and runs away with the Preakness.

Last thought: Sure would have been nice to have a pice of that Derby trifecta, which paid $11,000 plus.

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