A Hope For NBC’s Preakness Coverage

Let’s get this out of the way: Michelle Beadle blocked me on Kentucky Oaks day, after this exchange (you can click to enlarge):   It seems a little mild to warrant being blocked, but Beadle can hardly be blamed for having an itchy block finger, given some of the abuse that she has to put…

Welcome Back to Belmont

On Sunday afternoon, a bouquet of roses lay outside barn 20 on the Belmont backstretch, their colors nearly matching the red paint on the sign identifying the barn as the home of the Phipps Stable. The bouquet wasn’t quite as imposing as the blanket of roses that had been presented the day before, its meaning…

2013 Kentucky Derby Picks, By The Letters

The annals of the Kentucky Derby are full of winners whose names ring with grandeur:  Lord Murphy, Kingman, His Eminence, Animal Kingdom, Monarchos, Charismatic, Proud Clarion. They’re also full of horses whose names suggest that their owners were not thinking “pinnacle of the sport” when they were named: Vagrant, Super Saver, Mine That Bird, Funny…

Who do you like? Betting Kentucky Derby 2013

The horses are entered, the post positions assigned, and the betting account topped off. At about 6:24 pm Eastern time on Saturday, the gates will spring open, and 20 horses will try to get to the finish line first, to win nearly $1.5 million, a blanket of roses, and a place in racing history. Whether…

Brian’s Derby Preps: The Kentucky Derby

Churchill Downs: The GI, $2 million Kentucky Derby at 1 ¼ miles #1 Black Onyx (50-1 morning line): Streaking runner has won both starts this year, on turf at Gulfstream Park in February and in the GIII Spiral on the Polytrack at Turfway Park in March, and tries the dirt for the first time since…

Brian’s Derby Preps: The Derby Trial

Churchill Downs: The Grade III, $175,000 Derby Trial at 1 mile #1 Officer Alex: Versatile sprinter kicks off the final race that offers points for next Saturday’s Kentucky Derby and looms an intriguing price player for Whiting, who won the Run for the Roses in 1992 with Lil E. Tee. If you toss his two-turn…

Brian’s Derby Preps: The Lexington

Keeneland: The Grade III, $200,000 Lexington at 1 1/16 miles #1 Winning Cause: Well-bred son of Giant’s Causeway closed like a freight train when winning at seven furlongs earlier in the meet to raise his local mark to 2-for-2, and he rates as a real up and comer in this wide open GIII. Stretch runner…

Brian’s Derby Preps: The Blue Grass

Keeneland: The GI, $750,000 Blue Grass at 1 1/8 miles #1 Dynamic Sky: The first of two for Casse and Oxley drew a nice ground-saving post in this deep and oversubscribed field of 15 (only 14 will go) and gets back to the scene of his second place run in the GI Breeders’ Futurity last…

Brian’s Derby Preps: The Arkansas Derby

Oaklawn Park: The Grade I, $1 million Arkansas Derby at 1 1/8 miles #1 Carve: Local two-time route winner tries again after he was sixth, beaten nine lengths, when breaking from the rail in the local prep, the GII Rebel in March, and will need to hurry to factor today. If you’re looking for positives,…