Happy New Year!
In November, the Racing Kreskin reviewed his 2015 racing predictions which ended up being the worst since I started these in 2010. We’ve been as high as .500 (2010 and 2012) so we’ll need to pick up the right crystal ball in the New Year.
It’s time to start channeling my inner Kreskin to take a look at the upcoming 2016 racing season. We’ll keep some of the old staples in the mix (you’ll recognize them) and add a few new twists this year. So without further adieu, Mr. Kreskin…
- American Pharoah will win Horse of the Year, but it won’t be unanimous. I should just stop at year to best last year’s mark, but inevitably someone will cast a vote elsewhere, which is somewhat crazy and will drive racing Twitter absolutely bonkers. I’m looking forward to it.
- The Kentucky Derby winner will come from gates 4 through 8. Outside posts have done fairly well since Big Brown in 2008. I’ll Have Another (2012) and American Pharoah (2015) come to mind, but the law of averages say its back to the inside gates for me.
- The Derby winner will come out of the Santa Anita Derby. I swing and miss at this one every year. Arkansas (Pharoah) took the cake this year and Santa Anita broke its 23-year skid with back-to-back winners in 2012 and 2013. I’m willing to go back to the west coast to find this year’s Derby winner.
- Neither Todd Pletcher nor Bob Baffert will win the Derby. I could have just flipped a coin, since they’ll likely have half the field. Baffert worries me more than the Toddster, which means Pletcher will win this year via reverse jinx. Got that?
- Upset in the Preakness. Double-digit odds for the Preakness winner in the Preakness. Only three of the last 10 Preaknesses have had a winner with odds greater than 10-1. Bernardini (2006), Shackleford (2011) and Oxbow (2013) are the three most recent and we’re looking for box cars in Baltimore.
- No Triple Crown attempt in 2016. Face it folks, we were spoiled the last three years. Doubling down on selection No. 5.
- The Queen’s Plate winner will win the Prince of Wales at Fort Erie. It hasn’t happened since Wando swept the Canadian Triple crown in 2003. Maybe the change to Tapeta at Woodbine will lend to a dirt runner at the Fort.
- Chad Brown will overtake Todd Pletcher to claim the 2016 Saratoga training title. It's Chad's time. We came close with this one last year and I’m gambling on the Chadster to break the TAP magic.
- The Haskell Hat is Turquoise. The Racing Kreskin loathes the Haskell Hat pick. He’s whiffed on this selection every year for the past seven years. Green has been my selection the past two years since its off the rotation since 1997. It has shown up on the brim in 1999 and in the stitching in 2001, 2007 and 2015, but that doesn't count. So I’m pitching green for turquoise (Pharoah, the 2015 winner’s colors). White would be the safe choice, but go big or go home the Racing Kreskin always says.
- East coast horse wins the Classic at Santa Anita. We're not talking Tupac versus Biggie here. The east coasters haven’t exactly been good luck in the three-year run from 2012-2014 at the Great Race Place. The winners came from the Midwest (Fort Larned), the South (Mucho Macho Man) and the West coast (Bayern) during that stint at Santa Anita. It’s time we have a NYRA-based horse win the Classic.
That’s it for the Racing Kreskin, 2016. We made some bold predictions, but no one said this job was easy. If you missed my year in review in print, here’s a link to a recap of 2015’s racing highlights.
Gene Kershner, a Buffalo-based turf writer, is a member of the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters Association, and tweets @EquiSpace.