Turnovers … by Alan B. Gibson

Posted May 7, 2014 at 1:42 pm

A scratch, a second guess and a pocket full of change

Last week’s Kentucky Derby was a far cry from the 2013 rain ridden day at Churchill Downs.

The 2014 event went off without a hitch – unlike the start of Friday’s Oaks race – and for a change, but not the first time, I must say my Derby picks have resulted in a little jingle in my pocket.

Still, I think I’ll keep my day job and leave the horse handicapping to the experts.

As I noted last week, my favorite two picks were to be the odd-on favorite, California Chrome, and Hopportunity. However, just before I contacted a friend who frequents the tracks much more often that I do to place my bets, one of my two choices – Hopportunity – scratched due to a problem with a foot.

So, back to checking the horses, jockeys and what other little tidbits I know about looking over a racing form, and I then decided to go with my next favorite jockey, Calvin Borel, who is up on Ride On Curlin a 15-1 horse.

Later on Friday, while mowing some grass and listening to sports talk radio and interviews with Oaks trainers, another horse came up a time or two and it seemed to be the consensus that if California Chrome didn’t win, this horse was being greatly overlooked.

After another glance at the entries, the horse in question, Commanding Curve, is entered as a 50-1 shot, so my three bets of $10 each go down on California Chrome, Ride On Curlin’ – both to win, and a third bet on Commanding Curve – to show.

As soon as Saturday’s race was over, since we were entertaining some guests and realizing that California Chrome had easily won and earned me a little pocket change paying, I flipped the TV off and continued with a conversation we had begun prior to the start of the race, thinking nothing of the rest of the finish.

It wasn’t until I received a phone text of congratulations that I started looking for the finish order only to discover that my long shot pick – Ride on Curlin’, had actually finished second, paying off more on my modest wager than the first place finisher.

Like I said – I think I’ll keep my day job, but still, a pocket full of change is better than throwing away losing tickets any day.

Enjoying the Derby with good friends – worth even more.