Run For The Roses

Today is the most exciting two minutes in sports: the Kentucky Derby. I'll admit, I never really cared too much for horse racing until I started dating my Kentucky-born and raised wife [I think one of our first dates was to Turfway Park where we lost a staggering $10]. Horses are magnificent creatures and I find it fascinating to watch them race.

A few years ago, while doing recruiting for the college, I was in Louisville with an afternoon to kill. I found my way to Churchill Downs and took a tour of the facility. It's funny because, whenever you see it on TV, it looks pristine and almost regal. Actually, it's pretty ugly place from the outside. Churchill is in the middle of this old residential neighborhood, the closest store is a dilapidated gas station down the street. But once you're inside, it's awesome.

There's something like a five year wait to get tickets to the Derby, unless you want to do the infield, where they cram thousands of people. Apparently that's where all the plastered college co-eds watch the race. That's why during the telecast they usually don't show shots of the infield, fearing that viewers will see R-rated content.

So how do I make my pick for the Derby? I really have no idea about horses, so I've created my own method. It's a combination of selecting a horse with decent odds and a cool sounding name. So if a horse is named Montezuma's Revenge but is at 250 to 1 odds, I won't pick him. Likewise, if a horse is at 2 to 1 odds but is named Gertrude's Daisies, there's no way. Take, for instance, a few years ago. There was a horse with 20 to 1 odds named War Admiral. Decent odds and an awesome name. He went on to win the Derby and almost won the Triple Crown. So this year's favorite is Bellamy Road. I'm not feeling him because it makes me think of Bill Bellamy, the old MTV VJ. My pick: Sun King. If I had a little more guts, I'd pick Don't Get Mad. Yep, I'm a wuss. We'll see how I do . . .