Sunday, May 3, 2009
The first Saturday in May has come and gone making and taking lots of history in it's wake. The upset victory of Mine That Bird (if ever there was a name that did not sound like a Derby winner...) had turf writers scrambling in all directions. Adjective emergency. No time for amazing, shocking, or unbelievable. Maybe just trying to describe jockey Calvin Borel's emotional state was enough to do the trick.
Let's face it, Derby 2009 was always a wide open affair. The winner may have been originally purchased for $9500. but he was sold again after winning 2 year-old honors in Canada for $400,000. 3 year-olds are always works in progress and with 20 horses going a mile and a quarter carrying 126 lbs. for the first time, you get the picture. Throw in 150,000 screaming people, half of whom are inebriated, and 50-1 looks better all the time. No I didn't pick Mine That Bird. I went with Pioneer of the Nile who finished second. But I did cash a 50-1 ticket. I bet the Oaks-Derby double. Given that Rachel Alexandra, the impressive winner of the Oaks was a "mortal lock" to win the Oaks (she cruised by 21 lengths) I figured it'd be fun and potentially profitable to bet a $1 double with Rachel A to the entire Derby field. With the late scratch of I Want Revenge t became a $19 investment. I gladly paid that price to be able to sit back and watch the Derby knowing whoever won I'd have the winner. I'd have settled for the favorite or even a 10 or 20-1 shot. But 50-1 is the best case scenario.
This time I did it right. I wish I felt that "Bird" was Triple Crown potential, but he probably won't even run in the Preakness. If he stays sound, I think Pioneer will get one of the jewels this year. Maybe even be runner-up in all three.
But for now, in my mind, it's all about Rachel Alexandra. I'm in love.