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Post Time: Reviewing the 2018 Racing Kreskin

The annual Racing Kreskin predictions are in the books with the Accelerate victory in the Breeders’ Cup Classic two weeks ago. The crystal ball emerged last December with a look at how we thought the 2018 racing year would progress.

Last month, Seth Merrow had the Racing Kreskin on Capital OTB TV (0:45 minute mark) and we reviewed the list going into the Breeders’ Cup and he was more than generous in giving out credit, but we play by the rules and we decided to go by the book to not taint the great Kreskin.

The Racing Kreskin certainly had his work cut out for him in 2018 in trying to improve on last year’s .500 batting average. Let’s review each of this year’s prognostications

  1. Gun Runner wins the Pegasus by five lengths or more. In his swan song, Gun Runner was more than impressive putting away the field, but West Coast happened to slink up for second just 2 ½-lengths behind. Third-place finisher Gunnevera finished another 10 ¾-lengths back. Just missed on this one. 0-for-1.
  2. Collected wins the Big Cap. The Big Cap made it’s Kreskin debut, and looks like it may become an annual staple. After finishing strong in the 2017 BC Classic, I was leaning on Collected having a big year. Wrong Cali horse, hoss, as Accelerate swept the big three California Grade 1’s during 2018. Scoreboard: 0-for-2.
  3. The Kentucky Derby winner will come from gates 2 through 6. Finish of the Derby was 7-6-5. How close can you get with two of the top three in the first six gates and the winner one outside. Can’t take credit though. 0-for3, sports fans.
  4. The Derby winner will come out of the Santa Anita Derby. Ding, ding, ding. We’re on the board. Justify qualifies for the Derby with the Santa Anita win and goes on to become the 13th Triple Crown winner. We’re starting to rebound at 1-for-4.
  5. First Derby win for Asmussen, McLaughlin or Stewart. Had a few longshot chances in here with an Asmussen horse (Combatant) and a McLaughlin horse (Enticed), unfortunately they finished 17th and 14th, respectively. Back on the skids at 1-for-5.
  6. The Derby winner backs it up in the Preakness. Justify gives Kreskin another tally in the win column splashing home to victory at Pimlico, thank you very much. Status in mid-May: 2-for-6.
  7. The Queen’s Plate winner will feature a female trainer. Had a solid shot at this one when Woodbine Oaks winning trainer Catherine Day Phillips sent filly Dixie Moon to the Plate gate. Did I mean say the Plate last place finisher? Whoops, Dixie Moon at 5-1 odds finished as the caboose. Back off track at 2-for-7.
  8. The Haskell Hat is Orange. The Racing Kreskin has a horrible career mark at the Haskell Hat pick, whiffing on this one for eight straight years through 2016. But in 2017 and 2018, the view was crystal clear in that ball and we nailed the Haskell Hat, which was a nice shade of orange. Creeping back towards .500 and looking to start to make his move at 3-for-8.

  1. Surprise in the Travers. We got the surprise in Catholic Boy, a 10-1 shot on the morning line who went off at 7-1. Taking half point here as it wasn’t quite 8-1, but certainly was a surprise winner for trainer Jonathan Thomas and a Post Time top pick to boot. Looking at 3.5-for-9.
  2. Going with under on an over/under of a high of 55 degrees at Louisville’s Breeders’ Cup Saturday. After rain swamped the track on Wednesday and Thursday, and a very chilly Friday that barely reached 50 degrees, Mr. Sun made an appearance in Louisville on BC Saturday. I screenshot a mid-day temp of 58 degrees, sinking my Farmer’s Almanac based pick. Oh well, at least the sun felt good after that bone chilling Friday card.

Final tally: 3.5-for-10 (.350)

We will count 2018 as one that got away. We were sniffing a number of projections made last December and we’ll keep swinging heading into 2019 with the annual pick column in late December..

Gene Kershner, a Buffalo-based turf writer, is a member of the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters Association, and tweets @EquiSpace.

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