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Thursday, May 01, 2008

Pete's NFL Picks: Kentucky Derby Edition

As Crash Davis once said, "Strikeouts are boring. Besides, they're fascist." While this is unabashedly true, no sporting event encapsulates what The Framer's of the United States conjured up from a democracy standpoint while drafting The Constitution quite like what transpires on the First Saturday in May at Churchill Downs each year.

For a thoroughbred to participate, the steed must meet one criteria: it has to be three years old. Females such as Ruffian, males such as Winning Colors (1988), and geldings (castrated males such Funny Cide) have all not only ran for the roses, they have ran away with them. Thomas Jefferson would have no doubt been stricken that his agrarian nation of independent farmers would have produced not only fields of copious grain, but also opportunity for all creeds, or at least all ponies. Susan B. Anthony clearly looked to inspiration for women's suffrage from Kentucky, where women had been running with men for a good 40 years before they were allowed to vote. I like to think MLK saw horses of all colors running together when he crafted one of his noble orations, but he probably didn't. Perhaps the playbill of "Rent" owes something to gender-neutral horses. I do not doubt this.

NFL Draft Thoughts

The Chiefs deserve some kudos, the Jaguars and the Titans do not. How do those teams make the playoffs every year? Do the Titans let uber-coach Jeff Fisher in the draft room? If not, they should.

Pop cultural notes from the last week or two:

1. Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay is damned hilarous, although it didn't really dawn on me how offensive the very principle was until now. I will still add this one to the canon of HBO Sunday Morning movies I will watch most of the time. (Others: Class Act with Kid and Play, Hiding Out with Jon Cryer, High Fidelity with Lisa Bonet, Harold and Kumar go to White Castle with Jon Cho, Just Friends with Ryan Reynolds and The Deuce with sock in hand)

2. I have heard several good albums lately. The new My Morning Jacket is startling. M83's Saturday's = Youth is great if you like The Pyschadelic Furs, which I do. Titus Andronicus is like Rancid mixed with The Arcade Fire with Conor Oberst on vocals. It's rude. The MIB and I approve.

3. The new Real World is pretty sucky, but there is a southern bird who referred to a minority's city of origin (Philadelphia) as "Blacksville". That was not awesome.

4. The New Hold Steady drops on July 15! What exciting times we live in, when one band I like actually puts out CDs every 12-18 months. I'm looking at you, Wilco.

Twins Update

Let's just say I'm okay without renewing the MLB package. When I'd rather watch the Magic-Raptors NBA series, a reasonable person would suggest that the season is rather uninspiring. That and Ron Gardenhire suggesting that walks are overrated. How this guy doesn't find his way onto Fire Joe Morgan once a week is a fucking miracle. If this guy managed the Yankees, they would be razzing him like that kid Lucas that tried to play football in that 80s movie starring Corey Haim as that kid Lucas. That movie is fucking spectacular. I can rattle off five Charlie Sheen movies that I will watch pretty much every time they're on without even thinking about it (Major League, The Chase, Lucas, Hot Shots, Men at Work, Red Dawn. That's Six.)

Musical Instrument of the Week

With a horse week, it's obviously the bugel. It might be my favorite part of horse racing, besides the gamblers and the act of gambling itself.

Horse-by-horse Derby Look
(by post position, odds)
1. Cool Coal Man--20/1--I usually am a sucker for Nick Zito-trained 3 year olds, and I'm glad this bum got the rail (do not bet under any circumstances) so I didn't have to take him. Avoid.

2. Tale of Ekati--15/1--I do not understand why his odds are right here, he's possibly a darkhorse (pun intended) but I can't help but think this is the Barclay Tagg factor. Not sold.

3. Anak Nakal--30/1--No lie, this horse isn't on my radar. What? Go read fucking Hank Goldberg.

4. Court Vision--20/1--Post position and pedigree make Pete likey, but I think he's competing for a piece, not a shot of the title.

5. Eight Belles--20/1--The filly can run fo' sho', but all of these nags can. She'll get bet down for sentimental reasons and then demonstrate why she should have ran the Preakness instead. Nope.

6. Z Fortune--15/1--Impressive sire and a good draw. What's not to like? Consider.

7. Big Truck--50/1--I wouldn't pick this horse in the Gus Fonner Handicap.

8. Visionaire--20/1--I am fucking in. I love the name, the genes, the odds. I will be wagering a large portion of my budget on this one.

9. Pyro--6/1--Was looking like a favorite until he ran 10th out of 12 in his last race. I questioned whether he was a chicken after he laid that egg. Tip your waitresses.

10. Colonel John--4/1--Now here is a favorite I can get behind. Although he's never ran on real dirt. This would be like wagering on a football team that had never played on Field Turf. Probably a bad idea. I still think he factors.

11. Z Humor--30/1--Basically the Fredo Corleone of the Z horses. He'll break your heart.

12. Smooth Air--20/1--I'm not seeing it, but I don't know as much about him as I possibly should. I've never heard of his jockey either.

13. Bob Black Jack--20/1--My favorite name on the board that isn't Visionaire. My favorite horse on the board that isn't every horse but Z Humor and Big Truck.

14. Monba--15/1--My horse buddy tells me this is his pick, but he drinks about 1/2 750 of Jim Beam Black a day. You decide.

15. Adriano--30/1--Worth a long shock look because of his jockey, Edgar "Fast Eddie" Prado, who is no joke.

16. Denis of Cork--20/1--Hales will no doubt bet this horse because of that name. That fucking name. God, it's immaculate. Denis of Cork. Fuck yeah.

17. Cowboy Cal--20/1--A lot of 20/1 horses...I swear to god I thought this horse was called Cowboy Gal until my triple take.

18. Recapturetheglory--20/1--A superstition only I follow: never bet horses with many words ran together into a single word in the Kentucky Derby.

19. Gayego--15/1--Got a real good boost in his last race. Expect the odds to drop. Worth considering but I feel he is a flash in the pan.

20. Big Brown--3/1--Here is your chalk. But goodness, this post position is awful. He's going to have to drop all the way to the rail and make a late charge. I mean that is some doing. He's undefeated, but track record for gallopers with only three races under their belt is awful. Be advised.

What I will be drinking at the derby:

Everything. It's my bachelor party.

Derby Wagers (using a fictional budget of $40)

Below are Pete's Picks. To be perfectly honest, this thing is a 20 horse crapshoot. Picture sperm swimming to fertilize an egg, only with pedigreed, aristocratic horses, big hats, and lot's of intoxicated fratties screaming. Or, if you are at an OTB, like I will be, picture lot's of old people smoking Marlboro's. I think you get the picture.

Wager at your own risk, but if you must follow something, watch what I and Hank Goldberg do, and then somehow combine it. Yeah. That always works.

$5 Across the Board on the #8, Visionaire

$10 Exacta Box #10, Colonel John; and #4, Court Vision

$2 Trifecta Key #10, Colonel John; over #19 Gayego and #8 Visionaire

$1 Straight Trifecta 10-8-4

Hopefully I will be enjoying the Derby with most of the Heavy Soul Crew, and for the rest of you come out to Horseman's Park. We will be the young ones.

Good luck to everyone, and good times.

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Pete, sometimes it scares me how similar we are...this is one my favorite weekends of the year. And everyone prepare yourselves, we will all go to the splendid event that is the Derby, someday, together. If you needs some convincing that a trip to L'ville would be worth your time, i beg you to read this article.


Seriously, this is something we have to do, probably next year. Who's with me?

On a side note...Pete i am very sorry that i can't be in attendance for your party tomorrow, but please call me about an hour before the derby and we will have a great drunken discussion on where to lay the money. I'm skipping the wedding and just going to the reception so that i can slip over to state fair park and make some wagers. With that being said, here's where i currently anticipate my dollars going...

I love Court Vision, great name, great price! I think that Colonel John and Big Brown or truly the best horses in the race, but after the crap Big Brown's entourage pulled at the post draw, i don't really want to have any reason to cheer for him.

The best named horse is Cool Coal Man from these parents: Mineshaft and Coral Sea...seriously i want to name my own horse someday..good stuff.

Guys if i could give you one piece of betting advice this year...don't put much on it (for the record, i know damn good and well that i say this and yet by the time "My old Kentucky Home" is playing i'll have a full deck of tickets in my hand). This race is a crap shoot this year, 20 mediocre horses...all i can read from the experts this year is how tough this one is to handicap. But because i have a streak going (i've hit the trifecta 2 years in a row on this baby...i probably won't hit twice more in my lifetime) I'll go this way...

$5 across the board on Court Vision
$10 across the board on Colonel John
$5 box tri on 4-10-20

That's $75 i'll never see again. Good luck tomorrow boys
The Derby is the perfect microcosm of America.

My degenerate gambler friends now the horses and have a strategy.

Everyone else I know (including me) uses it as an excuse to drink.
Per 'The Herd' this morning; "Never gamble on anything that sleeps standing up"
Excellent! You're one of the few people who could pull this off so well.
Absolutely agree with what you stated. Your explanation was by far the simplest to understand. I say to you, I often get annoyed when people talk about things that they plainly have no idea about. You managed to hit the nail right on the head and rolled out everything clearly. I hope, other people can take a signal. Will likely be back for more. Keep it up!

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