Degenerate alcoholic offers Kentucky Derby superfecta wagering advice
"Are you watching the ponies motherfucker?" Small pause. "Oh, oh yeah those races are today aren't they?"
Having to remind Demko that the Wood Memorial, Illinois Derby, and Santa Anita were all running in the space of approximately one hour on one day, usually, would be like reminding Julia Roberts to brush her teeth. But there it was, a fish out of water.
Fortunately, I was on the case, because there's nothing more important than speculating on a horse race that's 4 weeks away and has no definite entrants.
Before yesterday afternoon, after the dust settled, the high rollers believed they were going to have all their best brain wizardry confirmed about Any Given Saturday, Cowtown Cat, and Liquidity. Leading up to the races, the biggest news was that Cowtown Cat had chickened out of the Wood to run against a watered down field at the Illinois. The talking heads made a lot of fuss about NoBiz Like ShowBiz wearing blinkers for the first time and cotton in his ears.
When reality set in at the Wood, we knew that Any Given Saturday has no kick. He tried to stalk the field and charge to the wire, but he was easily rundown by the winners. There is hate in Demko's heart for horses that can't finish, but there is tangible bile in his soul for a jockey that can't ride. Anyone with eyes could tell you that winner NoBiz is going to need a new jockey, or at least a major attitude adjustment for the one currently on his back, for him to compete at Churchill Downs. He busted out of the gate and looked like he was going to shoot his wad until he was visibly held back down the backstretch. Make no mistake, the horse won this race. Sightseeing made a nice charge at the end. As an aside, you can throw Summer Doldrums on the scrap heap after the Wood, as well.
The Illinois Derby was boring. Cowtown Cat basically led wire to wire, and wasn't really challenged, and he shouldn't have been. The only question was whether Cobalt Blue would make a run, and he didn't, stalking in third and then disappearing badly down the stretch. Cowtown Cat will end up being one of those horses that gets staked to 6-1 or 5-1 rolling into Kentucky because he wins, but he looks slow to me.
Here's where things get interesting for a degenerate gambler like Demko. The Santa Anita Derby looked like all the smart guys were going to be right. Liquidity, Sam P, and King of the Roxy ran the race like good horses do, keeping the pace, closing off the rest of the track for the field; and then something wonderful happened. A half brother of Giacomo--the 50-1 longshot that won the Derby a few years ago--came charging out of nowhere down the backstretch and smoked everybody. King of the Roxy tried to stay with Tiago but just didn't have it. If you've ever spent time with a bunch of drunks who make terrible bets--and I have--you know Tiago blasting down the backstretch in an otherwise non-descript field like this to gain entrance in the Derby is the best possible thing that could have happened. The handicappers won't fall for it, they'll post this mule at 30-1 and the twitchy crowd will drive him down to 9-2, a freak bet, a chance to tell everyone, "I told you so." Yummy.
But, what of the Derby, May 5th, and Club Taco on opening day at Canterbury Park?
This past Monday, Demko and I made a blood oath to bet Stormello 4th in a Superfecta, because he looks like the kind of horse that will try to run a wire job and fade nicely into a big payday for us. Outside of that, we know that Cobalt Blue probably shouldn't run Churchill Downs and NoBiz should probably get a new jockey. I'm not afraid of Any Given Saturday anymore either, unless someone tells me he had too much to eat for breakfast Saturday morning and just didn't have it. There's a few more donkeys left to tweak our guts at the Blue Grass and Arkansas. Unless one chickens out, Street Sense is going to dual Hard Spun next Saturday, so that will tell us which one them has the right stuff.
Right now, over one Bloody Mary, two eggs over easy with sausage and wheat toast, two Margaritas, 3 beers and one poorly executed hot dog, I would try very hard to convince Demko that the Derby will run Hard Spun (pictured above), Circular Quay, NoBiz Like ShowBiz, and Stormello.