Special Delivery

by Ed Meyer

posted on May 4, 2023 in General Discussion, Handicapping, Horse Racing, Kentucky Derby, WinningPonies.com | Comments Off on Special Delivery

Prior to the Derby, a large envelope arrives. Just like a little kid waiting on my note from Santa, I tear into the package and find a dark green construction paper packet. About forty pages of the most comprehensive data put together by a single racing fan. It covers how he did last year; the history of the race, and how the “Kentucky Derby Comment Sheet” came into action. – I look forward to my gift yearly; and “once on the list, you are always on the list.” You must submit in writing to be taken off. – I’ll look forward to it for years to come.

It was 1998 when Jim McCullough passed away. His love for the Derby “may have been equaled, but not surpassed.” – Jim passed along his love for the sport, and on the first Saturday in May everyone was a racing fan. The “sheets” were a long-standing item waiting in the mail, and since 1959 many happy racing fans enjoyed his labor of love. Jim reached out through the “Sheets” to allow everyone to be a racing fan if even for a day to enjoy “The Greatest Two Minutes in Sports.” – Thank you for sharing your love of racing, Jim.

His son Kevin, quite the handicapper in his own right, has been putting out more information than the law allows. – From the first edition in 1959 of 12 copies to over 440 deliveries is quite impressive. – I’ve walked through tracks on Derby Day and saw many large green papers held tightly in the hands of the handicapper. It was a connection to the past and a celebration of the present. The “Green Sheet” is a connection between father and son that spans decades.

Kevin tracks his selections and how he did the past year. In the traditions of real handicappers, good or bad, he lets you know his record. – From the recap of the previous Derby to the intense breakdown of every possible prior to post-drawing time, you’ll have more information than you would find in most publications. – When he notes the passing of equine and human connections, you will find it hard not to reminisce about the passing of time. – He mentioned the passing of “Hammering Hank” Goldberg. A throwback to Damon Runyon’s time with vernacular only real gamblers could feel. It took me back to years ago when I was doing a radio show from my first Derby. I had a plethora of papers with smooth quotes and words to sound cool on the Cincinnati airwaves. Upon seeing the bright red roses and sunshine perfectly careening off the old press box where decades of scribes have covered the Derby. I look to my left and see “Hammering Hank” doing a radio show. I must admit for a horse player this was a real treat. – I tossed away my papers filled with quotes and slick words and decided to speak from the heart about this glorious day. – I was in the arena of radio shows taking place from around the world, and we were all trying to bring color and pageantry to listeners at home doing chores, cutting the grass, or listening to someone who loves racing as much as anyone. For a man like “Hammering Hank” to pass away in Las Vegas at his 82-years on his birthday; only makes me long for the days of listening to the gravel-voice gambler gives his selections with a back-room bookie feel.

Kevin dives into point systems of how to get in the field, Beyer figures, and Pedigree and Dosage. It has times and channels of where to catch the action, point standings, and a breakdown of runners that would be the envy of many publications.

I would be wrong for not posting who Kevin McCullough likes in the Derby: Tapit Trice.

I’ve read my friend’s handiwork and will have it in hand on the big day until post time. What served as an informational weapon will turn into a riding crop as they turn for home making the long run to the wire. – Kevin and his better half Mary have edited, prepared, and handicapped all for our enjoyment. – Just like his late father, Jim. Kevin brings the publication of the “Unofficial Derby Program” to life once again. Just like his father, he wants you to be a part of the greatest racing event. Quoting Kevin; “It brings back nothing but wonderful memories of how he and his dad would get excited each spring.

Thank you, Kevin, for carrying on your father’s labor of love. There are many horseplayers who relish seeing it arrive in the mailbox and tear it open like a Christmas present filled with great information. – When “My Old Kentucky Home” plays for over 150,000 race fans from all walks of life, I’m sure there will be a sense of connection between father and son. The beauty, the pageantry, and the memories will bring a lump to our throats and a tear to our eyes.


Best of luck my friend – Enjoy the day!