I wrote the following last year and like it so much, I'm rolling it out again with just a few changes for this year's Derby...
"With just over a week to go my process of picking a Kentucky Derby winner has begun.
The build up to the first Saturday in May comes with so much hype and hyperbole eliminating the static in search of the Derby winner goes far beyond handicapping. To land on the right horse when almost all of America is a horse racing fan takes more than skill, guile and speed figures. It takes karma, chi, balance, harmony and peace in a less than peaceable world. I believe to pluck a Derby winner from a full field with humongous betting pools, I have to work as conduit and channel my strength, energy and ignorance towards a single-minded goal.
This takes work and should not be left to the final minutes before post, although I've seen that work from time to time...for some else. I start by reading everything and believing only some of it. I sort through morning workouts - most which will be good, some fantastic and a couple dreadful. There are no odds or payouts resulting in morning works, but this does not mean they should be completely disregared. Since I can't make it to Churchill to see Derby contenders work, I rely on The Daily Racing Form's Michael Welsch and his daily insights to help inform me...just a little.
I also know that any and all analysis will need adjustment based upon post, rider changes and weather. Better to be prepared when conditions require last minute changes, than to be caught flat-footed.
Currently I am pouring over DRF past performances in the first part of my channeling process. This is what I know:
- There will be at least ten automatic tosses
- With connections sending horses that are better qualified for allowance company (hello Homeboykris) or another surface besides dirt (hello Paddy O'Prado) there is a chance for real catastrophe at worst and traffic trouble at best
- With so much emphasis on Eskendereya, there will be a bevy of horses at choice odds, ensuring big exotics, even if the early favorite wins"
- Super Saver - third off the layoff here while also showing lots of talent as a junvenile...a win at Churchill doesn't hurt either.
- Sidney's Candy - probably the most improved three-year-old that was on nobody's radar three months ago...big question here is will he rate? or does he have to?
- Eskendereya - two monster performances make him the favorite going in, but do wins against a handful of also rans make him vulenerable?
- Luckin at Lucky - has found lots of traffic in his three-year-old races, but has push-button excelerration...a must for any Derby winner.
- Endorsement - sure he beat a probable miler in Conveyance in Sunland Derby, but he posted one of the few triple-digit Beyers in a Derby prep which means either another monster performance awaits or a bounce to last...I'm willing to take a shot with him.
In Part Two I will attempt to sort out exacta, trifecta and superfecta plays while sitting in the Lotus position....