by Kim Thomas
I think it's possible to over-think a good thing. Before my days as a research writer for The Thoroughbred Record, I seem to recall that I cashed a lot more winning tickets at Keeneland! Also, I recall that following my stint booking mares for Gainesway Farm, I would often foresake all other studs and find myself wagering only on the progeny of the stallions owned by Mr. Gaines. The result? I continued to lose more and more, albeit two dollars at a time, as I gained tons of statistical knowledge, fooling myself into believing I'd discovered the magic key to the mutuel windows. It finally dawned on me that it's not always a good thing to have knowledge if you misuse it and become smug about it. My overall betting career -- which I'll admit is not all that serious -- has proven that. However, in all the years since I first fell in love with Keeneland in all its spring and fall glory, I've won more at the track by betting the 5-1 or 1-5 exacta (May 1st is a special day in my life), or simply laying down $2 across the board on my favorite color of silks.
So I've decided I am not going to research the Derby to death. I'm going to listen to my heart, obey my gut, and make gentle suggestions to those who will indulge me for what I consider to be the one horse that might be running for the roses with just the right gusto, fueled with nothing but oats and water, and most of all, powered by the biggest heart.
Accordingly, here goes nuttin. My first three nods, in mid-February before Lent, before Easter, before Keeneland, before March Madness engulfs our collective minds, I'm going to throw out these names, for no particular reason, either: Dunkirk, Chocolate Candy and Old Fashioned. These 3-year-olds sort of tickle my fancy, and tickled I yam, sweet potatoes, to offer my thoughts in the coming weeks as we approach the greatest two minutes in sports, the Kentucky Derby.
(above) Tom Eisenhauer snapped this photo of a posey-topped-poser at the 134th Kentucky Derby in 2008.
Once I figure out why I like those three, I'll let you know; and I'm sure to change my mind, it's my prerogative, after all. In the meantime, I encourage anyone who takes a notion to read my daily ramblings to attach themselves to this great Kentucky tradition that has withstood the test of time. You will not be disappointed if you spend some time and take an interest in this one event for which Kentucky is internationally famous (other than frying chicken, of course).
The Derby is Forever, my friends. This is the one professional sport -- the Sport of Kings -- that Kentucky has by the short and curlies. While the University of Kentucky's Wildcats may have a measure of success from time to time -- and yippee and yahoo when they do -- the days of UK domination and Coach Rupp are now a distant memory and even though the fans still have the passion, the World at Large does not watch the Cats play and hang on every movement of silly Billy G. (The word on the street is that he's a pretty fun fellow, and his lack of ease in front of the camera or microphone is actually endearing to me; it is, actually, very refreshing.) But forgive me, I digress, back to stopping to smell the Roses -- the first Saturday of May is not all that far away, and this wonderful tradition that plays out every year without fail is something we should respect and honor and by dammit -- follow! Follow the foals. Follow the mares and stallions. Follow the dream. It's a very cool thing that is unique to Kentucky, and this year, like all the years before, this Bluegrass Blogginista is going to watch it and love it with all my heart!