This time of year has everyone thinking about roses. Not the ones you receive from your secret love. I am talking about the glorious red roses that decorate the winner’s circle at Churchill Downs.
I have been reading every report, blog, and tweet about the road to the Triple Crown. This is when you can’t get enough information to bring you up to speed. It doesn’t matter if you are a weekend warrior, or a hard-core player who wagers daily. Information and paying attention to details will not give you the cold exacta, but it may allow you to dismiss some runners who do not fit.
At the time of this writing, there are 46 days, 6 hours, and 5 minutes until post for the Derby 139. The Derby is a one-of-a-kind visit to the races. If you are a people watcher, there could never be a better place to take in all of the eye candy. Or, if you like to be a part of fashion scene in Kentucky. You will see everything from the ordinary to the extreme. I ran into a guy last year who made his hat in 1966. He still has his laminated winning ticket from Kauai King adorning the front of his colorful hat. It not only spoke to his passion for the sport, but it was a testament to being a part of history.
Each week we get to see the equine athletes getting ready to toss their hat in the ring. There are surprise upsets, huge favorites, and unlucky runners who had a terrible trip. But all in all, it is Thoroughbred racing. For me, the Spiral Stakes at Turfway Park always signaled the big dance was right around the corner. This weekend should offer up a solid glance at some nice runners. My choice before they draw entries is Uncaptured. He is a son of Lion Heart, and has 7 starts with 6 wins. He loved the poly track at Woodbine winning four times. I think if he gets a good draw, and all systems are go. He has the style that fits both Turfway and Churchill Downs. Mark Casse is usually quiet about his runners, but it has been the “buzz” on the backstretch that he likes his colt. He has the look of an up close stalker if the pace is ordinary, and if it is fast he lays back just a little bit. Toss in that bullet work at Churchill, and we have a player. I will examine the races much closer once they draw on Wednesday.
Before you make plans to be on the couch watching the Derby. Be sure and check on the ticket situation. There may be limited seats available, and you can always find a bevy of scalpers in front of the track. My personal suggestion is wait until the first two races run, and then approach your friendly ticket broker. They want to get inside, and they know two races from the 12-race card are in the books. The best part is that are not biggies, and you will make it in time for the stakes at a cheaper price. I know the Derby is a pricey day, but it is one of the best investments for your entertainment dollar. The day is magical, and if you listen closely. You can still hear the echoes of the historic runners that have passed this way.
Best of luck, and be sure to check back with Winning Ponies for free weekend selections, E-Z Win Forms, and everything you will need to know about the day of racing.