It’s here. It’s Derby weekend. For weeks the prognostications have been coming; handicappers, analysts, turf writers have weighed in, posited picks, watched workouts. It’s time to make the call.
Later today, Brian will be here with some serious handicapping; but first, here are the third annual Backstretch Derby picks, by the letters.
For the poetically inclined, this year’s field offers an enticing array of possibilities for alliterative exotics:
Lookin at Lucky
Make Music for Me
Five horses present the perfect opportunity for the Brother Backstretch .10 superfecta: three horses in the first position, the same three + two more in second, third, and fourth, for a total bet of $7.20. Unfortunately, I learned last night that .10 superfecta wagering is not offered on Derby day, so we are left with .50 trifectas and our old standby, the three-horse $1 exacta box.
According to the Backstretch method, a couple of Derby starters are automatic throwouts, and tops on that list are the orthographically challenged. Bye-bye, Mission Impazible and Homeboykris.
Always under consideration are the cleverly named, which are in disappointingly short supply this year. Awesome Act (Awesome Again – Houdini’s Honey) is the favorite here, followed by Discreetly Mine (Mineshaft – Pretty Discreet) and Make Music for Me (Bernstein – Miss Cheers). Sidney’s Candy could get some underneath action, for the combination of the sire’s name (Candy Ride) and the owner (Sid Craig), who died several years ago.
Stately Victor also offers an “in memoriam” name; owners Jack and Tom Conway named the colt for Jack’s childhood friend Victor Perrone, who was killed in a car accident 17 years ago. He offers a Brooklyn connection, too, which is an automatic bet.
Here in the Backstretch household, the felines feel pretty strongly about hewing to the cat-name conventions. They don’t do Kats or Tigers, but in the interest of exotic wagering, they’re willing to make an exception for the Derby. So yes, American Lion is in, but it’s Dean’s Kitten who has their wagering hearts this Saturday.
We’ve got some choices to make, and big decisions await regarding the Derby bankroll. But hey, that’s what Friday night is for, isn’t it? For now, the Backstretch 2010 Derby picks by the letters are, in alphabetical order, Awesome Act, Dean’s Kitten, Stately Victor.