I'll be posting my Preakness picks later today but I wanted to take a look back at the Derby and get all defensive about the accusations of my long-time friend, Transfixed Ingress.
TI and I have been friends since we were eight years old. Three decades later, we're still conversing even if we haven't seen one another for awhile. I give him a little leeway in his almost always critical comments because I know that deep down he is resentful of my all-around awesomeness.
So even though he claims he won't be taking my advice on the Preakness, I know he's smarter than that and you should be, too. (I know you're smart because you choose to read this). Any horse race of nineteen horses has a lot of potential outcomes, especially in the slop that the Derby was run in and especially when the horse that won ran the race completely different from any race he ever ran before. Let's take a look at what I'm talking about, shall we?
The horse I had as the best horse in the race...Dunkirk? Here's his start:
Narrowly avoiding a face plant will do you in any day. He worked too hard to get back in with the leaders and just didn't have it.
How about some of the other horses? Did I know what I was talking about? Oh, I don't know:
Join in the Dance PP9
"Another front runner....." Lo and behold, there's #9 leading the race.
Desert Party PP19
Regal Ransom PP10
"Even though I think Regal is the better horse, I think he'll set the pace for Desert Party to stalk and finish strong." Oh, look at that. #10, Regal Ransom, up there leading the race and who is right there just a little off his shoulder but #19, Desert Party.
West Side Bernie PP1 "Closer who will be able to save ground from the pole." Sure enough, there's West Side Bernie on the pole near the back.
Hold Me Back PP5 "Hard closer who has looked good in 2009" And look who is right back there with Bernie, another closer.
Five of the six horses whose running style I mentioned in my post, I was right on the money. The sixth?
Mine That Bird, PP8 "Slow front runner who will get eaten up in this race."
What the hell was he doing all the way back there? Mine That Bird, notorious front runner, was 19th out of 19th horses. He fell back as much as 20 lengths behind the leaders before Calvin Borel's miracle run.
Do you know what the largest margin Mine That Bird had ever made up at any time in any race before the Kentucky Derby was? Four lengths. I can only use the best information I have available and there was nothing to suggest that this horse was going to show up for horse racing's biggest event, run a race in a manner he never had tried before, make up a deficit five times larger than any he had previously made up and defeat eighteen better horses. I even looked at wet track data and breeding. Nothing. This was about as unlikely a result as there could be. Which is why, of course, he paid 51-1.
So before you so cavalierly dismiss my picks, Mr. Transfixed Ingress, take a look and see if I was as wrong as you think. Put that in your Dr. Pepper and smoke some bacon.
Photos courtesy of The Blood-Horse.