18 Days

Don’t act like you didn’t know or it was creeping up like tax day. – It is the “Greatest Two Minutes in Sports” and the real clock has started ticking. As we inch closer there is a process that should start now if you haven’t already. – Here are the top point earners from US Racing:

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Start reading who is coming to Churchill and when. Always good to arrive a little early and get a couple moves over the deep track. – I always give a big nod to those who get two works and one is very nice.

Any late equipment or shoe changes scares my bankroll – If you need to change going into battle this far down the line you’re guessing.

Toss out every “curse” or superstition. – This has been one of the most equal fields in years. – I’m looking for a (9-2) win pool favorite.

There will be a few jocks with multiple chances on to ride – At this level it doesn’t mean that much. I’ll take Javier Castellano, Jose Ortiz, or Mike Smith. – These decisions come from great communication with the owner and trainer about who fits best. – Somebody will be happy and someone will be kicking themselves for not going the other way.

Speaking of jockeys – Toss out the rider who has never been this far. – Oh, I’m sure you’re thinking about Stewart Elliot who did a fabulous job, but this is a riders race. One who knows the track and been on the big stage. – I’ll go down with a top money rider anyday. Their percentage is better and they make few mistakes.

Go back and watch as many replays as possible – This will be worth it’s weight in gold.

Don’t start sweating the post draw – There is a curse about coming of the #1 hole. Somebody better go back in history and take away Bill Shoemaker’s win on Ferdinand as the oldest rider to win the Derby. – Good riders find a way to save ground, get away good, and know just when to push the button.

Relax and enjoy the ride!


With 18 days heading into the Derby here are few I like:


Roadster = A son of Quality Road for Bob Baffert. Quality Road would have been the favorite in 2010 if not for a quarter crack. – He is a light nimble runner who looks to be coming into his own at the perfect time.

Code of Honor = A son of first-crop Noble Mission for the Shug McGaughey barn. – Anytime you see a “Shug” runner you have to give extra consideration. – He can go long and will give them fits if all goes well.

Win Win Win = Has a late kick that can be effective for a hot pace – I’m watching closely how he takes to the track and feels in the next 18 days.