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Sunday, April 11, 2010

Holy Boxcars, Batman!

Let's just say I made the right (or some would say wrong) move by sitting out yesterday's big Derby prep races and just watching for enjoyment. The inset was basically the feeling of most bettors yesterday when 40-1 shot Stately Victor (most felt like Stately Victim) upset the Blue Grass and 17-1 shot Line of David upsetting the Arkansas Derby, both punching tickets to Louisville. The $2 trifecta paid in excess of $4,200 in the Blue Grass and Stately Victor paid $82.20 in front of the second largest crowd in Keeneland history (33,727). Down the road in Hot Springs in front of over 61,500, Line of David, wired the field and held off hard closing Super Saver, and my choice, Dublin in a solid effort.

Some Jack Handy-like deep thoughts and some non-horse observations follow.....

- Both Saturday winners are probably tosses come Derby Day, although Line of David's effort in the stretch certainly caught my eye. The Blue Grass is simply a non-factor (other than for graded earnings) as a Derby prep. You never know how the polycrap is going to play from one day to the next (and I'm not just saying that as a humbled handicapper). Nothing against Keeneland, the place is terrific, it's just a matter of consistency with respect to the track conditions.

- Nice appearance by tencentcielo on TVG's Gate Crashers before the San Puente Stakes yesterday at Santa Anita.

- Looking forward to my trip up the Queen Elizabeth Way later this morning to see the 7 year old mare La Chica Rica of Buffalo-based connections in the 4th at Woodbine. My pal GG tells me to check out the Frankie Merrill (Hoso's trainer) display down in the paddock area and I plan to check it out.

- The top 20 in graded earnings (h/t Ian Lozada) have Jackson Bend, Backtalk and Odysseus on the outside looking in with only a couple graded opportunities left (Coolmore Lexington and Derby Trial) in the remaining two weekends before the Derby. Expect some drop outs in the top 20 though, as last minute defections due to injury inevitably occur every year. This week's Wireplayers' Derby Dozen sure will be interesting, I've made a few changes in my list alone.

Some non-horse thoughts (horse readers feel free to back away slowly)....

- Draft day quickly approaching (week from Thursday night) and the dilemma of the Bills first round selection at #9 is playing out hot and heavy in the media here (both guys think we should take an offensive lineman). I'm leaning towards an OT in round one also and try and grab Tebow with #2 (if available) or take LeFevour (Central Michigan/MAC guy) or Tony Pike (Cincinnati/Big East guy) in a later round. Of course, I know little to nothing about NFL personnel, but it's my nickel.

- I like Lee Westwood to win his first major this afternoon. He seems pretty together and I like the way he's been making the five to ten footers when he needs them. Look for the inevitable Phil brain fart somewhere on the back nine. I love the guy, but his caddy needs to set him straight if he gets goofy in the late afternoon. Wonder if Accenture is regretting pulling the sponsorship, Tiger is getting some serious air time and rival KPMG is on Phil's for thought.

- Speaking of golf, I remember a guy named Brian Murphy (aka the Water Cooler) used to write a Monday column for ESPN page 2 several years ago, who covered all the big golf events. I miss his columns and weekend lists of five (probably why I liked reading him so much...he's a lists guy). The 2002 article I linked to above is kinda spooky to read with excerpts about Tiger, Phil and Roger Clemens...

- The Sabres return to the playoffs this week and this championship-starved town will be behind them in full force. I think we're an afterthought around the league, but two words can change everything. Ryan. Miller. Should be a fun ride....



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