I’m the biggest racing and football fan in the world. The days when I can watch and wager on the ponies, and still see the opening kickoff is a real bonus in my man-cave. I know there are plenty of fans like me, and while we’re counting down until opening kickoff. I wanted to see if there was any correlation between an NFC or AFC victory, and where the past Derby winners have prepped before the first Saturday in May. Could this be a waste of time, or a hidden gem of handicapping wisdom?
Here are the last five times when there was a different divisional winner. The years in between were divisional repeats in the Super Bowl.
Baltimore Ravens (AFC) – Orb / Shug McGaughey – Joel Rosario
Orb won three races leading up to the Kentucky Derby. He won an O.C. allowance race, the (G-2) Fountain of Youth, and the (G-1) Florida Derby before going on to win the Derby.
New York Giants (NFC) – I’ll Have Another / Doug O’Neill – Mario Gutierrez
IHA won the (G-2) Robert B. Lewis, and the (G-1) Santa Anita Derby before going to Louisville to win.
Pittsburgh Steelers (AFC) – Mine That Bird / Chip Wooley – Calvin Borel
MTB ran 2nd in the Borderland Derby, and 4th in the Sunland Derby on his way to becoming the second longest-priced horse to win the Derby paying $103.20.
New York Giants (NFC) – Big Brown / Richard Dutrow Jr. – Kent Desormeaux
Big Brown won an GP allowance race, and the (G-1) Florida Derby before going on to wear the roses.
Indianapolis Colts (AFC) – Street Sense / Carl Nafzger – Calvin Borel
Street Sense won the (G-3) Tampa Bay Derby, and 2nd in the (G-1) Bluegrass Stakes before heading to the winner’s circle at Churchill.
So, what’s the verdict with this sampling? When the AFC went on to win the Super Bowl, many races were won in Florida on the road to the Derby. With the exception of Mine That Bird who may be considered one of the biggest surprise upsets for bettors.
When the NFC won the big game, there was a short road to Louisville. The eventual winner ran only two races on their way to the roses. Big Brown continued the Florida route, and I’ll Have Another stayed on the left coast.
This gambler loves both sports, and will keep this in mind as he counts down the days until the big game. But, if the AFC wins, I will keeping my eyes peeled for that Florida runner who will erupt at the right time. If the NFC rolls, I am looking for that short prep runner who may be the next Triple Crown winner. I’m leaning in the direction of the Denver Broncos. They have a powerhouse offense, and are in the hands Peyton Manning. They will keep Seattle chasing multiple receivers, and stay busy trying to stop a bulldozing run game. I guess that means I will be watching Tampa Bay Downs and Gulfstream for a runner who is having fun in the sun. Either way, keep this in mind and enjoy the ride. It’s only three months and two weeks until the Derby.