Was That The Derby?

by Ed Meyer

posted on May 2, 2009 in Kentucky Derby | 6 Comments >>

We have been waiting for months. We have watched the many preps and began long ago with our trek putting runners through the mill. I have been wagering for many years. Some good, and some bad days. That is part of the game. But today left me feeling a little empty.

I watched the Derby with a sense of confusion. To begin the day, we lost the favorite. This left many trying to re-figure the race. You know, plotting out how the race will unfold..

Where was the bevy of speedsters? I was looking for a pace to chase, but it just came up very ordinary. Down the backside they came, and Papa Clem looked good along the rail.  Joining him was Hold Me Back. The race looked like the front runners were just spinning their wheels and the stalkers were going to hold court.

Pioneerof the Nile was entering the fray with Dubai visitor Desert Party on the outside. Things were heating up, and I was waiting on General Quarters with his feel good story to come rolling as well as Dunkirk who was compromised at the start. But none of this was taking place. Musket Man was getting into the groove, but lacked that killer punch he had in Chicago.

As I was listening to the call, I kept hearing all of these horses, and I could see a spaceship coming up the rail. I assumed it could have been Friesan Fire or one of the many poly runners that would transfer their talent to the slop. That was not the case as well….

Mine That Bird came running into history with a price that would choke an elephant. He skimmed the rail as only one rider does. He drew off and left the field in the slop.

I enjoy the Derby win or lose. But for the many folks I spoke with, this seemed to feel like it was a year without a Derby. This gelding won, but did not capture our hearts. That is what players always look for no matter what their finish.

The after-show was good and bad. It was nice to see Calvin Borel win the Oaks and Derby in impressive fashion. He is a really good guy. He is just a down home country-boy who rides like the wind. I met him years ago, and he made everyone feel like he was just a long-lost cousin. Congratulations my boy… Job well done..

I was little taken aback by the trainer. He did not seem too happy after the race when they mentioned his driving 2,100 miles. I guess he was little upset that they didn’t treat him like Baffert, Pletcher, or even McCarthy. He is 2/32, and this race was an incredible win. I guess he’ll feel different in the morning.

Maybe that will be the same for me and the masses. We’ll start thinking about the Preakness, and then the Belmont, and so on and so on… That is the beauty of our sport. Anyone can win at anytime. And today, they did…

6 Responses to “Was That The Derby?”

  1. Ed L says:

    I don’t think anyone can explain how a horse with two mediocre performance against far inferior competition can suddenly look like Secretariat running against 5,000 claimers in the last 1/4 mile, It wasn’t just a case of how fast this horse closed, it was also how slow the rest of the field was in the last 1/4 mile, a field that supposedly was made up of the top three year olds on the planet—-the horse liked like a Ferrari passing a bunch of Yugos in the blink of an eye.

  2. Lance says:

    So much for handicapping.

  3. Jason says:

    Unfortunately it was very difficult to handicap the Derby this year. The field was so evenly matched, few had the insight to use those horses… strange things happen in big races and when you throw in the slop factor it was anyone’s guess. Winning Ponies picked the last two years and used horses that most didn’t even consider (ie Dennis of Cork), so give them a little slack Lance. Handicapping isn’t a perfect science, and nobody picks 100% of their races… its a tool that you can use to become more consistent. They nailed a bunch of the Churchill races the day before too, which payed off nicely if you were paying attention : )

  4. Horstradamus says:

    Winning Ponies does a very nice job of taking down some big scores.

    My only point was not the selections, but the “wild” runner that came in from New Mexico to win.

    Since 1930 has there been a higher price? Has there been a runner so under-prepared? One that couldn’t win a $100k race?

    There was no mention of selections. W/P has done an excellent job, and will continue. The race left me a little empty. I am all for the underdog, and all for a price. But this one was a little tough to pick… I listened in on a conference call, and they are unsure of where he will go next.

  5. Ed L says:

    This Derby will rank very high among the 135 runnings and perhaps the greatest come from behind performances of all time—it’s a great sports and racing story that will be talked about for a long time.—-The feelings of emptiness come from a handicapping standpoint, it makes us want to throw our hands in the air and think we might as well just pick numbers from a hat,–why study the Daily Racing Form,pedigree profiles,workouts,trainers,etc,etc?—–.So,we’ve got to separate the two—–the great sports story that this is and our frustrations with the handicapping process.

  6. Horstradamus says:


    That is an EXCELLENT point….

    I have begun the soul searching, and I think no matter what the outcome. We will remember the 2009 Derby for many moons….

    You have me ready to look at Tuesday’s card !!

    Good luck !

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