April 25, 2010

Eskenderaya to miss Derby... Derby week 136 kickoff!

Derby week officially began Sunday morning with the typical drama we have come to expect in the craziness that is... The Derby. And for the second year in a row I will be losing my "lock - cinch - key" horse about one week before they were set to run, as Quality Road was sent packing on Monday of Derby week last year with a quarter crack. The extent of Big E's injury wasn't well known, just the following comments by Pletcher, "He's got some filling. We're not sure of the extent of what we re dealing with. But he's not going to run." You know this has to get Todd questioning why the horse racing gods are so much against him, as his many other runners figure to be mid-priced horses that would be a tall task to get the monkey off his back. (Speaking of course, of his 0 for 24 record in the big dance.)

On Saturday the Derby Trial was run as a last hope resort to get some graded earnings to put a few of the "bubble" horses in the top 20 list. However, favored Eightyfiveinafifty and Pleasant Prince's chances were dashed when longshot Hurricane Ike under Calvin Borel took the top spot on a day when Borel posted five winners at Churchill Downs. At this rate, the best handicapping strategy may be to bet Borel's horse every race, including Super Saver in The Derby. After all, he has won two out of the last three runnings! My one-time tout, Aikenite, rallied for the place and now has the earnings to make the field, but team Dogwood has said they will not wheel back in just one week for The Derby.

I have been subdued for most of my Sunday, struggling with the thought of a potential superstar not getting the opportunity to etch his place in history. Last year I had a solid backup plan with Pioneerof The Nile, this year not so much. Perhaps I'll be able to build back some confidence while pouring through past performances and breeding nicks this week. The most profound impact of this defection will be on the betting schemes in the world's greatest betting race. My "budget" for Saturday just got exponentially larger since I'll now be using 3 or 4 horses in the first position of my exotic part-wheels. But those who were hoping to somehow beat Big E are very upset about this, since huge flows towards him would have boosted the wager pools and payouts if he ran out of the money. Now, all that money will flow to the next tier of favorites and water down those payouts.

Please note the trivia question on the left margin -- go ahead and try your luck (no one knows who's guess is right or wrong!). Happy Derby Week 136, our 14th year of Derby trivia!


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