Another Kentucky Derby in the books and it was certainly one to remember…
Here are some post-mortem Derby thoughts and some forward looking commentary on the second jewel of racing’s Triple Crown….
When your top pick gets wiped out at the start for the second straight year, you just have to shake it off and move forward (I’m looking at you Irish War Cry and Mendelssohn).
I give credit to jockey Ryan Moore for easing Mendelssohn when it was apparent after being cleared out for the second time in the first turn that it just wasn’t meant to be. When it comes down to it, he preserved the horse who will be back in November for redemption in the Breeders’ Cup.
While I wasn’t with the cool kids with the Baff in the Horseman’s Lounge to watch the race, I found myself (I think they thought I was a security guard in my black Woodbine raingear) in the Winner’s Circle Suites with the Lone Sailor folks watching the race under cover and enjoying the moment with people who were just happy to be there. Can’t say I didn’t feel the same way.
Better yet, I caught some awesome video of the Justify suite enjoying their Andy Warhol moment….here’s a look at my vantage point for Derby 144…
Here’s the Justify Winner’s Circle suite. They’re pretty happy. pic.twitter.com/jcjtVM8Txs
— Gene Kershner (@EquiSpace) May 5, 2018
You have to have a good feeling about Justify going into a less than stellar Preakness field. I wrote in my Derby advance that he has the potential to be a horse for the ages, and if he eases through Pimlico, the hype will continue to build.
Bravo, Buffalo for another terrific showing in the TV ratings for the Derby, ranking No. 6 and once again being a top 10 market for the Derby.
The 716 comes in at No. 6 https://t.co/Fo48BDXBec
— Gene Kershner (@EquiSpace) May 6, 2018
Speaking of the 716, if you boxed our area code in an exacta, you cashed. (see Space Gal).
If you’re birthday also happened to be in 1976, you also got the exacta (see Space Gal).
Are you detecting a pattern?
Flameaway came out of the Derby unscathed, so we should see him later this summer in the Queen’s Plate at Woodbine. Even better, if Wonder Gadot takes the Woodbine Oaks, we could be loaded for the first leg of Canada’s Triple Crown. Don’t forget Winterbook favorite Telekinesis is also in the mix.
One of the other winner’s circle suites I was inadvertently finding myself in was My Boy Jack’s. After several inquiries to the group donning the Jack hats, it became apparent that a fairly sizable wager was made to drive the horse’s odds down to 5-1 (the morning line was 30-1). No kidding, right?
Understanding that it had to be either a whole generation of people named John who were nicknamed Jack or a billionaire who drove down the odds, it seemed the latter made more sense. One of the members of the MBJ team intimated who the person (rich guy) was. I’m getting closer. Stay tuned.
Pretty sure my call that My Boy Jack would be in the Human Fund Division in my Degrees of Separation post was spot on. In the same post check out my thoughts on Justify: “The numbers scream that he’s the winner. History begs to differ. You can’t ignore the talent. Could be something special.”
So it’s on to crab cakes and the second jewel.
Baltimore is one of my favorite stops of the thoroughbred racing year, and never disappoints. It is truly an underrated racing town.
Here’s to some decent weather and a competitive race.
Gene Kershner, a Buffalo-based turf writer, is a member of the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters Association, and tweets @EquiSpace.