Turnovers … by Alan B. Gibson

Posted April 30, 2014 at 1:04 pm

Kentucky’s “real” biggest sports

moment (or two)

A big chunk of the world tuned in earlier this month when the Kentucky Wildcats were vying for the NCAA men’s basketball championship but believe it or not – roundball junkies – that wasn’t really Kentucky’s biggest moment in sports.

That comes this weekend when the 140th running of the Kentucky Derby takes place and most of the rest of the free world will focus their eyes on our Bluegrass State for the “Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports”.

Yes – believe it or not, there are sports fans out there who don’t watch college basketball and when they tune in from across the world this Saturday, they actually won’t have any idea about the 40 minutes in Kentucky sports that we roundball fans enjoyed just three weeks ago.

Back to this Saturday and this horse race thing – as has long been the tradition in this space, it’s time for my annual predictions as to the two horses that I think will likely cross the finish line first this Saturday.

As long-time readers will remember, my former scientific methods of choosing a Derby winner was based on two things – the horse with the most catchy name, and the horse that Pat Day was up on.

Since Pat Day has long since retired from the racing game, my method has reverted back to just guessing which horse will actually win the race, coupled with the still favorite method of picking the horse that I think has the best name of those lined up in the gate.

So, here goes, and I urge any potential bettors out there using this as a way of choosing your bets – not to go over $5 each.

The horse most likely to win is the odds -on favorite that everyone else is picking as of this writing (Tuesday morning), that being California Chrome.

CC, prior to post position drawing was a 7-2 favorite that has most recently won the San Felipe and the Santa Anita Derby and has been trained by Art Sherman, who is a former jockey turned trainer.

If you’re going to bet all $10 on one horse – I’d go with California Chrome simply because he’s coming off as the most picked favorite to make his way to the winner’s circle come Saturday.

Now for the best name winner – I’m going with Hoppertunity, and as it turns out, he’s not such a back pick anyway.

Trained by three-time Derby winner Bob Baffert, Hoppertunity was listed as a pre-post drawing 14-1 entry and will likely go off even better than that.

His best Derby road finish came last month when he won the Rebel at Oaklawn but even more impressively was a second place finish to California Chrome in the Santa Anita earlier this month.

Baffert’s been in the game a long, long time, and with three Derby wins, his last one came in 2002 with War Emblem. He’s due another and it could likely come this year.

There you have it – like I said earlier, I wouldn’t bet over $5 each based on my horse knowledge, and we’ll take a look next week at how these picks actually came out.

Truth be known, when we do visit the track, I generally spend more time cashing Janie’s tickets that I do my own anyway – and she always bets the filly.

Good luck – post time for this 140th running is 5:24 p.m. central time. Unless you plan on attending – tune the TV to NBC.