Kevin Gorg Handicaps the 2019 Academy Awards

Kevin Gorg, Fox Sports North personality and former Canterbury Park racing analyst, does not miss many movies.

He is as opinionated about film and actors as he is about a horse race.

Over the years he has offered his Academy Awards selections along with his betting line. Gorg has been remarkably good (and occasionally off the mark), but always provides useful insight for your office pool.

Here is a look at his odds for the 91st Academy Awards, held this Sunday, Feb. 24.

Best Picture

“Green Book” — terrific movie that mixes the horrific history of prejudice in this country and well-timed humor… slight lean here. 5/2

“A Star Is Born” — my favorite flick of the year by far (I’ve seen it nine times). The acting is powerful and the music is amazing but likely won’t win because Hollywood doesn’t respect remakes.  7/2

“Roma” — the betting favorite in Vegas is a foreign language film that is getting a ton of buzz. I haven’t seen this one but you must respect the noise around it.  9/2

“Bohemian Rhapsody” — another movie that I went to see multiples times. The story of how Queen came to be and the remarkable journey of their lead singer Freddie Mercury with all the fixings, which include not just the music but some cool concert experiences… 6-1 (Sneaky longshot.)

“The Favourite” — dark comedy that had its moments for certain but I’m not sure the juice was worth the squeeze.  15-1

“Black Panther” — of all the Oscar-nominated movies I think I enjoyed this one the least. More special effects and the story just did not grab me… Many enjoyed this one but it wasn’t for me.  25-1

“BlacKkKlansman” — now this was a movie I really loved seeing, making fun of the KKK and doing it in a very entertaining way. It was a true story, by the way, which makes it even more hilarious… well worth seeing and deserves to be in the mix.  30-1

“Crazy Rich Asians” — another beautiful movie that combines solid humor and a story that is worth investing your emotions, too. Likely an outsider when it comes to bringing home the hardware but another movie I think everyone enjoyed seeing.  40-1

“If Beale Street Could Talk” — if you are looking for a big longshot that might outrun the odds this one is it. A love story with a twist and the acting in this one is top shelf. Long odds to win because it really has been under the radar but a damn good flick.  50-1

The Field — all others are super longshots and likely have no shot. The one not listed that I enjoyed the most was “Vice,” which had many, many laughs and the actors looked and sounded like the famous politicians they were playing.  100-1

Best Actress

Glen Close in “The Wife” — don’t get me wrong, she did a fantastic job in this one; the movie and performance were great but the reason she wins is because Hollywood loves repeat winners (see the history with Meryl Streep). Overwhelming chalk here but not my favorite performance.  3/5

Lady Gaga in “A Star Is Born” — this young lady is amazingly talented and showed some real skills in this movie. She actually made us believe she was some nobody and then transformed into who she really is in real life (a legit star). The emotional range she showed acting and the chemistry with Bradley Cooper jumped off the screen. She should win but likely won’t… 3-1

Olivia Colman in “The Favorite” — like this movie I get that this performance was solid… just not in the same class as the top two.  25-1

Emily Blunt in “Mary Poppins Returns” — tough to take this role and be compared to the legendary original. I love this gal but a huge longshot in this deep and talented group.  50-1

The Field — many solid performances in this bunch maybe led by Nicole Kidman in “Boy Erased.” The top ladies here just are too good… 100-1

Best Actor

Rami Malek in “Bohemian Rhapsody” — absolutely stunning performance. He should crush in this category… Best Bet.  1/5

Bradley Cooper in “A Star Is Born” — any other year he likely takes this one home. He was damn good but his best was second best here.  9/2

Christian Bale in “Vice” — can’t believe how much he looked and sounded like Dick Cheney. Solid job done here for sure.  15-1

Viggo Mortensen in “Green Book” — another performance that might get over shadowed this year but deserves a mention.  40-1

The Field — all others are likely no match for the top couple in here. Of them John David Washington (BlackKklansman) was best.  50-1

–Kevin Gorg

 

 

It’s a Jungle In There

By Rebecca Roush

As the 2018 racing season begins to wind down at Canterbury Park, Kevin Gorg, former Canterbury Paddock Analyst and current handicapper extraordinaire, is still busy looking over future races and creating tip sheets for guests to purchase. The famous green sheet – Gorg’s Power Plays – are sold for $2 on live race days and can be found at stands near the paddock entry and the card club entry.

Gorg began participating in Canterbury’s handicapping contests in the late 1990’s and scored a trip to Vegas to compete in the National Horseplayer Championship. Soon after, he auditioned for and landed the track’s Paddock Analyst spot, where he worked on handicapping publicly from 2000 to 2010.  During this time, he also submitted his picks for the Star Tribune. In 2014 former tip sheet salesman Jake Mauer handed over his long-held position to Gorg after he showed interest and learned the ropes before Mauer was ready to retire.

To handicap races, Gorg first looks over the conditions of each race to get a better feel for the types of horses that will be running. He then pours over Daily Racing Form and pictures how the race will go in his head. Finally he lays out his top picks and wagers into an easy-to-read format for guests to use. All of this preparation has produced many happy fans.

Gorg always carries 21 cents in his pocket for “good luck.” The 21 comes from the sweater he wore during his hockey playing days including when he won the Minnesota State High School Hockey Championship as goaltender for Burnsville.

When Gorg is not busy making his tip sheets or occasionally filling in for announcer Paul Allen, he is also a sideline reporter for Fox Sports North in both hockey and baseball. Gorg says he enjoys making tip sheets, because even when he is not at the track, it still keeps him “in the loop.”

As Jake Mauer would say when hawking his tip sheet: “It’s a jungle in there!”    Don’t go in without Gorg’s Power Plays.

The Eighties Get Rained Out

By Jim Wells

Friday nights  offer a special blend of racing and music and occasionally enhance the evening with a variety of promotional activities.  This time nostalgia became part of the mix.

It was Eighties Night, a celebration of a decade known for a variety of bands, movies and characters, and employees from various levels did their best to recognize the occasion, as did a smattering of patrons.

Alexis Pearson, who sells Kevin Gorg’s tip sheet at the main entrance, was privy to a variety of wardrobes and comments.

One fellow came in, she reported, and said “eighties night. I thought they said it was ladies night.”

Ms. Pearson wasn’t certain this patron was serious, although others were.

“I think I saw more employees in getups than customers, though” she added

And so it went on a stormy night that included a delay after race five because of lightning and a torrential downpour that included rain that fell downward, sideways, right and left, every direction but up. The delay eventually was changed to a cancellation of the remaining races.

Yet, much had taken place by that point. Paddock analyst Brian Arrigoni made his appearances in a long stringy wig, emulating a member of an eighties  heavy metal rock band, while doing a much better job of handicapping by picking the first three winners on the card.

“You can’t win them all if you don’t win the first three,” he bellowed.

It  so happens that the wig he was wearing once belonged to Gorg, a previous paddock picker better known these days for his outside the dressing room accounts of Minnesota Twins and Wild games. Gorg’s tip sheet included the first three winners on the card as well.

As that information was delivered to the pressbox, media boss Jeff Maday noticed that Ms. Pearson handed Arrigoni one of Gorg’s tipsheets. “Oh, that’s where you got those selections,” Maday chortled.

The Oracle

 

Then there was handicapper supreme, the Oracle, acing a quiz as part of the evening’s festivities to win an eighties trivia contest. The toughest questions on the quiz:

What company made the first color arcade game?

What was E.T.’s favorite candy?

What was the first video ever to play on MTV?

The answers: Atari, Reese’s Pieces, Video Killed the Radio Star.

Former jockey Mark Irving, now an Earl of tourism at Canterbury, escorting patron groups throughout the premises, represented a band member from any number of groups in his native England with a stand-up, razor-sharp Mohawk cut.

Mark Irving

And video producer Jon Mikkelson, in a Dino Ciccarelli jersey, celebrated the player and team that preceded the Minnesota Wild….the North Stars.

Jake Samuels became a recognizable face in the jockey colony with his memorable remark on Extreme Day after winning the Ostrich race. “Well, it’s nice to win this one,” he said, “because I’m not winning on horses.”

That has changed bit by bit for Samuels who rode another winner Friday night, Skippy’s Strike, who went gate to wire in the fifth race for $15,000 claimers.

“All I had to do was let him go,” he said. “He did the rest. He made it easy.”

And, as it turned out, the location for the Friday’s celebration was

was quite appropriate at that.

After all, it is impossible to celebrate the eighties without a nod to the arrival of horse racing in 1985 at its current location.

Mike Lee

ONLY THREE RACE DAYS REMAIN FOR 2016

cby-scenic-5-30-16-003

BY JIM WELLS

Alex Canchari brought in a horse named Daydreaming Diva in Saturday’s first race, in and of itself not a terribly significant event unless of course you are counting wins in the jockey, owner or trainer standings __ or maybe even days remaining to the racing season.

For anyone without a calculator, what that particular win meant at that particular moment was that Canchari had battled back to within four wins of the leader, Dean Butler, tightening up a race that two weeks ago was anything but.

It also meant that Mac Robertson expanded an already insurmountable lead in his quest to regain the training throne he held so long, and that owner Joe Novogratz kept the pressure on in the race for leading stable.

By the time the card concluded, the owner and jockey races were right back where they started the day, with Canchari and Butler notching two wins apiece. The stable of Novogratz and that of Cheryl Sprick and Richard Bremer were locked again the way they started the day after each recording a win. And there were still a mere three cards left in the race meet.

Once all of those issues are settled, there will be other takeaways from the summer of 2016. There already are some.

“Yes, the rain,” said director of racing Andrew Offerman. “Will we dry out in time to start the 2017 meet?”

The wet summer, with numerous races moved off the turf as a consequence, seems now like almost a constant, at least on particular days.

“I know we were off the turf on a lot of Thursdays,” said the Oracle, who added that his summer wasn’t all that good overall, although on Saturday he hit a 38-1 simulcast longshot.

“It’s been a good summer for the locals,” he added. “People like Mac back on top, to me that’s one of the biggest things.”

Indeed, Robertson regaining the spot he occupied on the training throne, beginning in 2005 until Robertino Diodoro supplanted him two years ago, was at the top of many people’s lists.

“That made it exciting,” said media relations director Jeff Maday. “The return of Mac. He and Diodoro fighting it out. ”

Of course, there was that weather.

“We did have some bad weather,” Maday added.

And, of course, numerous injuries depleted the jockey colony, cutting the list nearly in half from start to finish.

And, as Maday pointed out, there are still things to do. Arriving at agreements in the next few weeks, for one, that are to the benefit of all concerned, the track, the horseman, the betting public.

Ted Grevelis and his wife Heather publish the Midwest Paddock Report online in addition to their membership in  ownerships involving four horses. One of the biggest recollections for him will be the climb of Cheryl Sprick and her husband, Richard Bremer, to the top of the ownership ranks.

“They’ve done it with horses they’ve bred and raised themselves,” Grevelis said. “That’s what was supposed to happen because of the agreement between the track and the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community.”

Dave Miller, the chart caller for Equibase at Canterbury, was once a regular in Shakopee but left seven years ago before returning this summer.

“I returned to a track that is in subtle transition,” he said. “These guys make this work with their promotions. Attendance is up. The food is better. It’s a better track than it was seven years ago.”

On a much different note, Miller said the most compelling detail of the summer was the death of Tom Metzen, the long-time president of the Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association. “That was the most significant news of the summer,” he said.

Kevin Gorg, the former paddock analyst at Canterbury, filled in for track announcer Paul Allen on Saturday. Gorg is impressed by the crowds Canterbury continues to attract while racetracks across the nation continue to decline in numbers. “It’s really amazing,” he said. “I don’t know how they do it, but the crowds keep turning out for the special events.”

There is another takeaway for Gorg, as well. “The competition,” he said. “It was tougher to pick winners this year. There were numerous long-shot winners.”

And Gorg gave a shoutout to new paddock analyst Brian Arrigoni. “Brian did a great job. He had a very good year of picking winners for the public.”

Eric Halstrom, vice president of racing operations, is reserving his analysis until all the details are compiled. “Ask me next week,” he said.

And, of course, there is always a takeaway that has nothing to do with racing. Just ask Oscar Quiroz, the righthand man to Shawn Coady in the photo department.

For Quiroz, the memorable moment of the summer came on a day off, at Stonebrooke Golf Club.

His first hole in one.

“No. 11 hole, 187 yards into a headwind,” Oscar said.

Gorg’s Oscar Line for the 87th Academy Awards

Birdman

The Academy Award winners will be announced Sunday in a procession of pageantry, pomp, and a heavy dose of circumstance. As is the case with any contest, Kevin Gorg, prognosticator extraordinaire, must have action. Annually, Gorg shares his Oscar odds with CanterburyLive.com readers.  Last year he nailed the top picture, 12 Years a Slave,  while totally dismissing Gravity.  His opinion for top honors as Best Picture is not as strong as last year but he again is tossing out a film that many have already declared the best of the year.

Here is a look:

BEST PICTURE>
BOYHOOD 5/2
AMERICAN SNIPER 5-1
THE IMITATION GAME  8-1
SELMA   15-1
THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING  30-1
THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL 40-1
BIRDMAN or (THE UNEXPECTED VIRTUE OF IGNORANCE)  50-1
WHIPLASH 100-1

Whoaaaaaaaa!   Birdman, darling of many critics, at 50 to 1?

You can’t be serious KG.

“While Birdman was solid it has zero chance of winning,” he says.

To further assist with your Oscar office pool here are Gorg’s winners in other categories.

BEST ACTOR>
EDDIE REDMAYNE (THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING) 4/5
BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH (THE IMITATION GAME)  9/5
BRADLEY COOPER (AMERICAN SNIPER) 9/2
MICHAEL KEATON (BIRDMAN) 10-1
STEVE CARELL (FOXCATCHER) 50-1

 

BEST ACTRESS>
JULIANNE MOORE (STILL ALICE)  1/5
ALL OTHERS (FIELD)  20-1

 

SUPPORTING ACTOR>
J. K. SIMMONS (WHIPLASH) 1/5
ED NORTON (BIRDMAN) 10-1
MARK RUFFALO (FOXCATCHER) 25-1
ETHAN HAWKE (BOYHOOD) 40-1
ROBERT DUVALL (THE JUDGE) 50-1

SUPPORTING ACTRESS>
PATRICIA ARQUETTE (BOYHOOD) 1/5
EMMA STONE (BIRDMAN) 10-1
MERYL STREEP (INTO THE WOODS) 25-1
KIERA KNIGHTLEY(THE IMITATION GAME) 40-1
LAURA DERN (WILD) 50-1

Enjoy the Academy Awards.

EmmaStone

Gorg’s Oscar Line and Road to Kentucky Week 4 Recap

am hustle jpeg

The 86th Academy Awards will be held this Sunday and Kevin Gorg, a film authority with an at-the-theater movie viewing average of 1.65 per week, shares his Best Picture odds again this year.

The general consensus and favorite on the European sports books is 12 Years A Slave. Gorg agrees and makes it his 3/5 choice.

American Hustle, arguably the best looking movie of 2013, is 7/2 on the Gorg line. The film had early steam but has since cooled and evidently is not taking much play in the British books as it lays dead on the board at 12-1. There are worse 12-1s every day. Gorg may have this one pegged.

The Wolf of Wall Street, with its 500+ f-bombs, 6-1 and Nebraska 10-1.

Gravity, a fairy innocuous offering that may be the easy out for many Academy voters, has a very good chance for top honors in the eyes of most odds makers, who have it in the range of 3.5 to 4-1.

Not Gorg. Gravity 15-1.

What?

“I thought it could have been better,” Gorg says. “Shouldn’t win, just an okay movie.”

Captain Phillips 20-1

Dallas Buyers Club 50-1

Philomena 75-1

Her 100-1

Best of luck with your Oscar selections. Put an office pool together and enjoy the evening.

HPWS Super Satellites Begin this Week

Your chance to qualify for the 2015 Horse Player World Series begins Thursday with Super Satellite contests.  Over the past year five Canterbury players won their way into the 2014 HPWS and will be competing in one month at the Orleans Casino Hotel in Las Vegas for a share of $700,000.

If you win one of the weekly super satellites you earn an entry in the April 12 Satellite which awards at least one HPWS berth including accommodations and airfare. The $10-entry-fee supers are held weekly, Thursday through Saturday.

If you plan to play in the R2K this Saturday, you will have already ‘capped Aqueduct so you may as well take a shot at the $10 contest.

Road to Kentucky Week 4 Recap

The unofficial results of week 4 have been tabulated and can be found HERE.

A total of 4,027 points were available from the 12 Gulfstream races plus the Risen Star at Fair Grounds.

Timothy Keating finished first with 2243 points, beating Merci Loeks by 3.

Solid effort on a tricky day.

This Saturday is Aqueduct with the double point Gotham plus the Battaglia from Turfway Park. Arrive early and go deep!