Sunday, May 8, 2011

A handicapper I am not

So much for that career as a horse racing handicapper after my days at The News-Herald have passed.

Once a year, I try to put on that hat and put a bet - a minimum bet, but a bet nonetheless - on the Kentucky Derby. Granted it's only $2, but it's worth putting at least some effort into trying to get it right.

Let's be honest - I couldn't decipher the Daily Racing Form from a set of hieroglyphics from ancient Egypt, but whatever.

Anyway, Friday night I visited the Kentucky Derby website and reviewed the field. I narrowed down by some process of elimination that seemed sensible to six horses.

Being the conscientious handicapper (OK, total fraud) that I am, I watched video of each horse's last race. "It has to be like track or swimming," I said to myself. My thought process was if a horse stayed up front consistently and then showed a good kick - a track term for a burst of energy and speed toward the end of a race - that was the sign of a good horse.

Which led me to Midnight Interlude and Twinspired.

Now, take a look at this video of both horses. The first is Midnight Interlude's win in the Santa Anita Derby, and the second is Twinspired's runner-up finish in the Toyota Blue Grass.

My theory seems to make sense, right? Well, not quite.

Both horses finished in the bottom five of the 19-horse field at the Derby.

Who knows? Maybe next year I'll pick the next Secretariat, or maybe I'll pick a wooden horse on a ride at the circus.

Only time will tell if my $4 will be better spent on the next go-around.

- Chris Lillstrung



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