“I went to a freak show and they let me in for nothing.” – Rodney Dangerfield
We reached the penultimate week in the Road to Kentucky Handicapping Contest as Churchill Downs began its spring meet with a twilight card. With the Kentucky Derby looming just days away, this contest card had a bit of a Rodney Dangerfield “no respect” vibe to it.
The 11-race card had some weather issues and the races were off the turf. There weren’t any longshot surprises either, and the maximum points available totaled only 1,920. There were no “must have” horses for the week and only four of the races generated totals above 200 points. A score in the 1,200-1,300 range would be a strong contender! My numbers added to 824 this week, above average but not good enough. One more chance for glory…
So it comes down to this. The Road to Kentucky contest will be decided next week and there are probably 50 players within range of winning the overall points if everything falls perfectly for them. Remember, a triple point Kentucky Derby winner could be worth over 3,000 points! Good luck to the contenders going into the final week!
As for the race itself, it seems the majority of the recent buzz has centered on American Pharoah’s Sunday morning workout at Churchill Downs. Private clocker and bloodstock agent Gary Young gave his opinion of the workout:
“I have been doing this for 35 years and he might be the best horse I’ve ever seen. He’s simply like Michael Jordan and stays in the air like he did in his rookie year. He stays in the air longer than any horse and you get the feeling that there’s not one gear left, but he may have two, three or four gears.”
That’s a lot of hype for a horse to live up to. The true believers say he’s one of the best they have ever seen. The naysayers think he has not been sufficiently tested or faced good enough competition. Trainer Bob Baffert just smiles.
American Pharoah is the real deal, but for contest purposes I can’t go there. Last year, Commanding Curve was the contest key as he ran second at a huge number. Maybe Keen Ice or War Story will be this year’s superfecta bomber. Mr. Z? Anyone? Bueller?
First post at Churchill on Saturday is 9:30AM for the contest! Good luck! Advance wagering on Friday’s Oaks and Saturday’s Derby cards begins Thursday afternoon. On Friday and Saturday gates open at 8:00 AM.