Thursday, May 1, 2008

Voices from a Stranger

As promised, here is another installment of "Voices from a Stranger." As you know, this is written by a reader and not the three TKOT writers. If you'd like to write a piece for the blog, shoot us an email at Anyways, here is a Kentucky Derby preview by two dear friends of TKOT. We've seen these guys do everything from passing out in closets, move things five feet and smoke a lot of cigarettes. Let's roll!

Kentucky Derby

For some of us, this Saturday is the biggest day of the year. Now that we are getting older and it’s no longer considered appropriate to grab a twelve pack and heckle the girls on Freshman Move-in day (well, nobody should speak on Dogg’s behalf I guess), we might as well dust off the seersucker suit, spin up a mint julep (recipe to follow) and take in the scenery of gorgeous babes in crazy hats. That’s right, it’s Kentucky Derby Day. You don’t have to be a degenerate gambler or make a road trip to Louisville to enjoy this great day. Our friends at TKOT have invited the namesake founders of HK Stables to provide exclusive pre and post-race coverage of the 134th Run for the Roses at Churchill Downs. Enjoy, because this research took a lot longer than the 2 minutes it takes to run the race.


- His name may sound like a porno movie you watched last weekend but this beast is going off as the morning line favorite at 3-1 thanks to an injury to the early favorite, War Pass. Big Brown’s track record is short but impressive, going undefeated in 3 races and routing the competition at every step of the way. BIG BROWN is trained by Richard Dutrow, Jr. who has had an impressive year, fielding two winners in Dubai the same day BIG BROWN won the Grade I Florida Derby.

Big Brown

COLONEL JOHN - This is another horse that will be taking a lot of money come post time with morning line odds of 4-1. Jack has never finished out of the top two in his 6 races and came back from a bad start to eek out the win in the Santa Anita Derby (Grade I) beating fellow derby horse Bob Black Jack (20-1) and a month earlier won a another close one at Santa Anita in the Sham. Churchill Downs is a lot different than the synthetic surface he’s used to running on but word from the barn is that he’s taking to the dirt well.

PYRO – The smart money is hoping that this horse’s fire didn’t go out after an awful 10th place finish in the Toyota Blue Grass stakes at Keeneland. If you’re ready to call it a mulligan, make the wager at 6-1. One connection not to count out is trainer Steve Asmussen who trained last year’s Preakness and Breeder’s Cup Classic winner, CURLIN. CURLIN made the trip with PYRO and is not doubt giving his stable mate a few words of advice...if that’s possible for a horse.

GAYEGO – It’s pronounced'go, not gay ego, but don’t stop your buddy who is still in the closest from betting this out of pride because he might buy a couple rounds of appletinis for “the guys” if the 15-1 odds hold on race day. GAYEGO is another horse that is used to the polytrack but proved he can run on the real dirt by managing to fend off a hard charging Z FORTUNE (15-1) in the Arkansas Derby. He may have to dig deep to cross the line first in this 1 ¼ mile race since he’s used to the shorter distance.

GayBoy...I mean Gayego

MONBA – While his history may be slightly checkered with a 12th place finish in the Fountain of Youth (Grade III), he bounced back masterfully by winning the Toyota Blue Grass. His past is certainly checkered but a win at Churchill late last year proves he can be a solid contender. He’s trained by Todd Pletcher, who trained nearly a third of the field in last year’s derby, but out of his six horses, the best finisher came in 6th. MONBA is Pletcher’s best chance to pull a rabbit out the hat in the 134th. MONBA goes off at 15-1.

– This pony might not have what it takes to win but you might consider using him in your exactas or trifectas with his 15-1 morning line. Z Money made a hard charge towards the end of the Arkansas Derby but simply ran out of track. Also trained by Steve Asmussen, Z FORTUNE might be looking to show up his more favored stable mate, PYRO.

– As the only Philly in a field of boys, she may have tough ride ahead of her. There have only been three females to win this event in its prestigious history. The history may be imposing but EIGHT BELLES is looking to silence the critics. If your feminist, liberal friends need some money to save the world, tell them to place $20 to win on this 15-1 starter.

Our feminist friends

– This colt beat the early derby favorite WAR PASS in the Wood Memorial but it is widely rumored that WAR PASS was injured during the race. The smart money was unimpressed with the final time of the Wood, and unfortunately for TALE OF EKATI, recent history isn’t much more impressive, evidenced in the 15-1 price.

BIG TRUCK – If you are looking to piss into the wind, place a few bucks on this beast and ask God’s forgiveness. At 50-1, you’d better put a little in the collection plate if BIG TRUCK pulls off a miracle mile and a quarter; then head to Vegas and put the rest on the Washington Nationals to win the World Series (150-1 current odds).

Other Entries










Z HUMOR 30-1


Mint Julep Recipe**

4 fresh mint sprigs

2 ½ oz Kentucky bourbon whiskey

1 tsp powdered sugar

2 tsp water

Muddle mint leaves, powdered sugar, and water in a collins glass. Fill the glass with shaved or crushed ice and add bourbon. Top with more ice and garnish with a mint sprig. Serve with a straw.

**serious drinkers might want to make a triple batch

Q&A with the fellas from HK Stables:

Who is your winner?

Editors note: The name Secret Force will be used often in this Q&A. Secret Force is a racehorse that is partially owned by the two gentleman who wrote this article. And you thought we were rolling out some amateurs for this piece. Please. We roll with the experts here friends.

Hill: Well, since I can not choose SECRET FORCE because a) he is too old and b) still in Tampa Bay with our new Tampa Bay Downs Trainer of the year Jamie Ness (congratulations are in order); I am going to go with BIG BROWN.

I know that this is the favorite and that is might be an easy answer, but I really believe from everything that I have seen and read, that this horse may win by at least a length and a half. All early indications are pointing that BIG BROWN has been toying with the track and that the workouts he has posted this week are just effortless gallops for him. Today (Thursday) will be the workouts to keep your eyes on; these will be the final indicators as to who may have any sort of chance against BIG BROWN.

: I agree. If it weren’t for that damn age limit, SECRET FORCE would take these ponies to the house and a big Sparks toast to Jaime and the staff at Ness Racing Stables.

I have been debating between BIG BROWN and COLONEL JOHN all week and I admit I’m still not certain. I like BIG BROWN’s trainer, Dutrow, Jr., and the fact he has eaten up the competition in his only three starts. However, we haven’t seen how he handles a pack of the best horses in the sport. I’m going with COLONEL JOHN for his longer track record and superior blood line. He was bred for endurance and siblings have had success. Plus, I have to cheer against Hill on this one, even though we do table bet from time to time.

Colonel John

Which horse outside of the top 3 do you think could win?

: I personally feel that starting position is huge in the race, especially here at the Derby, when you have up to 20 horses that will be at the gates at the same time. The runners on the inside will have to get off to a quick start so as not get trapped, so I think you can not take COURT VISION or EIGHT BELLES (I do like the Filly though, more on this later). Also, the horse in the middle positions may come out hot, but will fade fast as the pack tightens and heads around the first turn; say goodbye to PYRO and SMOOTH AIR. Finally, you have the outside horses, which I really like in a race this large. These horse will need to get out quick, there is no doubt about that but I feel have more of an advantage of not getting caught up in the pack. You also, have to love that the favorite is coming from the far lane, so anyone close to him will have a mate to set a strong pace. For these reasons I am taking GAYEGO (15-1) as your long shot winner.

Krebs: I’m going to go with MONBA, Todd Pletcher’s pony in this category. He did have a bad trip in the Fountain of Youth but he came back and beat a field of 5 other Derby horses (COWBOY CAL, VISIONAIRE, COOL COAL MAN, PYRO, and BIG TRUCK) to win the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes. That proves to me that he can compete with the favorites having already beat a quarter of the field, mostly mid-pack contenders. Pletcher didn’t have any luck last year but maybe he figured a couple things out.

Which of the dark horses (20-1 - 50-1) has the best chance to show?

: I am going to take the same horse as Kevin Gorg and Paul Allen have been talking about on KFAN all this week; SMOOTH AIR (20-1). This horse has been dealing with a bit of sickness and had limited workouts this week. However, he now looks to be back in racing form and galloping the track well. There is just an aura around this horse, with the ups-and-downs of this whole week and everything that it has gone through, not to put him is as a contender. On another side note for this horse, if you are a big believer in Karma as I am, the owners/trainers for SMOOTH AIR supported the Make-a-Wish foundation this week, bringing two sick children out to Churchill Downs this week to spend some time with the horse......that's enough for me to put some money on this pony.

The midget Smooth Air on the left

: I like BOB BLACK JACK (20-1). I’m sticking with horses that have proven against competition and this colt nearly beat COLONEL JOHN, my favorite, in the Santa Anita Derby. If I believe that COLONEL JOHN is the one to beat, the one who nearly beat him has a legitimate shot as well. His experience has been mainly out West, this horse must be loving the Kentucky country air after breathing that smog and dealing with hippies.

How are you planning on wagering (just a few of the 50 or so bets you'll probably make)?

: This is a tough question for me, as many of you loyal readers know, I like to cover many different options during a race. There is something about putting everything on one hose that I just do not like to do, there are just too many variables.

With that said, here is what I am thinking as of today, but I guarantee this will change by Saturday, I do not make any final decision until I see the horses in the paddock:

Win bet: BIG BROWN


Trifecta box: BIG BROWN, EIGHT BELLES, SMOOTH AIR (This is a pipe dream, but it would mean that I am taking A LOT of time off this summer to be at Canterbury)

I’m a fan of the exotic bets as well but like to put a little more on one horse in big races to give me something to cheer about. I won’t guarantee I’ll bet this way either, I’ll be searching out value but here is what I’m thinking at the moment.




For those of you who don’t understand my logic, I’m making multiple trifecta bets in one bet. I am betting either COLONEL JOHN or PYRO to win, PYRO or BIG BROWN to place, and Z FORTUNE or BOB BLACK JACK to show. If any of these combinations happens, I win. Hill and I can give a betting tutorial in another TKOT installment.

How many Miller Lites do you think you'll drink by post time?

Miller, Miller, Miller...

: By post time of the Kentucky Derby (which is 5:04pm our time) I plan to have consumed the following:

-1 Canterbury Brunch Buffet

-1 Order of Nachos (or some other type of app)

-2 Cups of Coffee

-1 Mint Julep

-6 Miller Lites

Overall this is one of the best days of the year to me, I look forward to it and the anticipation build up is so much fun. Do not be afraid to go out on a limb for the Derby, this is the one time of the year that I feel that almost any horse has a shot, you just never know how they will react in front of 16,000 fans. Good luck, Have fun and as always MAY THE (secret) FORCE BE WITH YOU.

See you at the Track!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Krebs: The odds are better for BIG TRUCK to win the Derby than for Hill to have only 6 tall Miller Lites by post time. Over/under is set at eight. Myself, I’ll probably have about 5 but that will entirely depend on how much I am losing, the two go hand in hand for some reason.

This is my favorite day of the year and attending the Kentucky Derby is officially on my bucket list. Hill and I will be holding down the fort at table 116 on the glass in the restaurant. Everybody is welcome to stop by, but you probably won’t be able to sit with us, seats were hard to come by so unfortunately, we have to limit seats to SECRET FORCE owners for this day. Not to worry, you’ll have many other opportunities to join us at our summer mecca.

Secret Force. Come out this summer and see this guy...


Anonymous said...

Just a quick note, and for the record I read through your long and very detailed article fairly quickly. Good job.

Now, I'm a little surprised not much was mentioned for Adriano and a jockey that seems to win a big one every year, Edgar Prado. Also, you mentioned Smooth Air is coming back from sickness and is starting to run well again. I think he could be a legit contender in this race. And a personal preference, but I always like a Nick Zito trained horse, I'll go with Anak Nakal.

From the sounds of it, it could really be anyones race. One thing is for certain, IT WILL BE FUN!!


Hill said...

Moe -

You are right, this IS anyones race, that is why I absolutely love it.

A big thing that PA and Dubay were talking about yesterday, and IS a BIG factor for tomorrow is the size of the field. The 20 field race can and will cause some serious issues for some of the horses, making it up for grabs.

Who is to say that Big Brown does not get out well from the outside, has to work to cross the track in the middle of the pack and then make a late charge, if that is all possible on such a huge stage. Or who is to say that Colonel John does not get too excited and jumps the gate only to be put back in the gates with his initial burst of speed already spent.

For these reasons and many others, this is why the Derby is the greatest 2 minutes in sports, and I can not wait. If you have not experienced the race before you should give it a try, you will be hooked.

Mr. Cue said...

First of all, thank you gentlemen for that amazing write up. For those of us who go to the track only 2-3 times a year, this information is very handy.

Second, I know it's a tradition and all, but doesn't the mint julip sound like a chick drink? I expected better out of you Hill. Oh, and I have the (way) over on 6 ML's by post time.

Third, is that really a picture of Secret Force? I can't wait to see him at Canterbury and lose money betting on him...

Hill said...

MR. Que

-Mint Julip is a "chick" drink, but one time of the year (Derby Day) it is considered legit for any and all to have atleast one.

-The morning line may go up on the Miller consumption once we get to the track (FYI, Krebs and I will be there at 10am if anyone is out that early and wants to chat)

-That is Secret Force, get to know him, he is going to make a big impression on the patrons of Canterbury Park this summer.

Fuzz said...

I don't know a ton about Horse Racing but after reading this article and going off first instinct I'm picking PRYO to win tomorrow. He's a pretty decent favorite to win but is getting pushed under the rug from all the BIG BROWN and COLONEL JOHN talk. Is that a good reason to pick him? Probably not, but everyone says this race is wide open. Hill thinks PYRO is in a bad post position, but so is BIG BROWN. A horse in the last post hasn't won since the 20's. I don't like those odds. Here's my early trifecta box that is bound to change 25 times before racetime:

PYRO, BIG BROWN & MONBA (Krebs sold me!).

Great piece fellas!

Bargs said...

Nice article boys. There is no doubt that Big Brown is the best horse in this field but with 20 fing horses it is a CRAPSHOOT. If Big Brown can win this one he will win the triple crown! If not, 2 of 3 aint bad!!

Krebs said...

Thanks for the comments, good discussion. I can't wait for tomorrow.

Hill said...

I second with Krebs, and HK thanks all those that read and have had comments thus far.

I am not really sure if I will be sleeping tonight due to excitment I CAN NOT WAIT!!!!!!

Krebs said...

I'm popping a couple sleeping pills, I've got too many bets going through my head right now.

Anonymous said...

"Jockey Edgar Prado had his choice of 3 mounts Adriano, Tale of Ekati, and Monba. He selected Adriano who has only ran once on a dirt surface having won on turf and polytrack. He has the right running style for the Derby and the distance certainly shouldn't be a problem. Adriano is sitting on a big race and Prado knows it. What is even more amazing about Prado's choice is that he has only ridden Adriano once (in his last race) while he has been on Monba twice and Tale of Ekati twice. Adriano must have made quite an impression on Edgar and that combined with his breeding are enough for me".

Hill and Krebs, have I changed your mind yet!


Hill said...

Moe you have not changed my mind atleast. Just like I do not like the fact that Big Brown only has a few starts, I do not like the fact that Adriano does not have many dirt track starts.

With the weather reports out of Churchill Downs today, I am going with the favorites, who are the true mudders.