Wishing you all a Happy New Year from under the palm trees in balmy Buffalo.
As a child I watched in wonderment as the Amazing Kreskin dazzled television viewers weekly with his prognostications and predictions. An annual tradition here at the Space Station, it’s that time for the annual racing predictions for the coming year in January, a quiet time in the racing calendar. But the Amazing Kreskin loans his crystal ball to the Racing Kreskin every January to see into racing’s future.
In November, the Racing Kreskin reviewed his 2018 racing predictions which ended up being a respectable .350 batting average. It has been as high as .500 (2010, 2012 and 2017), so we’ll need to improve by a couple selections in the New Year.
It’s time to start channeling our inner Kreskin to take a look at the upcoming 2019 racing season. We’ll keep some of the old predictions in the mix and add a few new picks this year. Here’s to you, Mr. Kreskin…
- Justify walks away with 2018 Horse of the Year Honors with over 80% of the first-place votes. This one shouldn’t be a surprise to most, but the vote won’t be unanimous. I’m making sure we don’t throw up a goose egg in 2019.
- Accelerate is upset in the Pegasus. Upset in the Pegasus! This race has been rather formful through the first two editions with Arrogate claiming the inaugural and Gun Runner capturing last year’s. Accelerate will claim the older horse Eclipse on the weekend, but that’s the only hardware he’ll bring back to California.
- McKinzie wins the Big Cap. It’s his turn at bat on the west coast, and trainer Bob Baffert will have him wound and ready to go (if he doesn’t take him to Dubai, that is).
- The Kentucky Derby winner will come from a middle gate from 7 through 12. Looking for somewhere in the middle for the Derby winner to emerge in 2019. It was more towards the inside with 7-6-3 in last year’s trifecta, but the middle gates (9,10 and 11) are due to don the roses.
- The Derby winner will come out of the Bluegrass. First time ever that Kreskin is going with the Bluegrass winner at Keeneland. You’d think he learned his lesson when the Wood Memorial was the call in 2015. Nope.
- First Derby win for the trainer and jockey. It’s not going to be same old, same old (I’m looking at you, Mr. Baffert) in Louisville. I’ll even go out on a limb for bonus points that one of the Ortiz brothers will be in the winner’s circle at Churchill.
- Mark Casse saddles three runners in this year’s Queen’s Plate. He’s 2-for-23 lifetime in Canada’s Most Famous Race and he’ll have an army ready to run on June 30 at Woodbine. I’ll throw in a bonus pick that he wins also.
- The Haskell Hat is Lime Green. The Racing Kreskin cowers at the Haskell Hat pick. He’s had difficulty in the past, but he’s a miraculous 2-for-2 in the last two years. Look out as we’re going off the reservation calling for lime green.
- Javier Castellano wins the jockey title at Saratoga. He’ll receive steep competition from the Ortiz brothers (who have claimed the last four), Johnny V and Manny Franco, but Javy will return to the apex of the standings which he last topped in 2013 and 2014.
- Santa Anita breaks attendance record on Saturday. In 2016, 72,811 attended BC Saturday setting an all-time attendance mark for a single day since the BC moved to a two-day event. We’re going with the over and a new record at the Great Race Place.
That’s it for the Racing Kreskin as we head into 2019. We made a few bold predictions, but no one said this job was easy. We’ll be back next November to see how his prognostications turned out.
Gene Kershner, a Buffalo-based turf writer, is a member of the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters Association, and tweets @EquiSpace.