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Sunday, May 1, 2011

Degrees of Separation - Volume III

It’s Derby Week, Space Cadets. That means my annual Degrees of Separation post is ready for unveiling. Some famous quotes from the past from this post include 2009’s Mine That Bird’s “slowest of the slow” and last year’s “if he hits the board I’ll eat my 2006 Derby hat” for Make Music for Me. Let’s just say his fourth place finish had me tasting a little New Era in my mouth.

Because change is inevitable, we’ve added a new category, which we’ll hope you’ll like, and we’ve changed the name of the main division, as we place each of the potential 20 Derby starters in a category. I used my Derby Space Sheet (see link on right sidebar), the DRF past performances for contenders and my general gut feel for things to make my decisions to help you with your Kentucky Derby betting. Of course, the post draw isn’t until 5pm on the Versus Network on Wednesday, so whoever gets stuck being the chocolate in the oversized Oreo will be tossed quicker than an underaged drinker’s first jager bomb.

So here comes the 2011 edition of Degrees of Separation….

The AMC Gremlin Division: My dad bought my mom an American Motors Corporation (AMC) Gremlin back in 1975 (or thereabouts) and it was a thing of beauty. Bright red, sleek gold stripes, the works. Problem was, it just wasn't fast. Surely it wasn't your average Ferrari or Corvette, for that matter. These are the horses that qualify for this division and are throw-outs:

Twice the Appeal: It’s just not going to happen. It’s just not going to happen. It’s just not going to happen. I feel like Bart Simpson at the blackboard. Could have easily placed in the Human Fund division due to the money this horse will take due to Borel being in the irons.

Watch Me Go: Tampa Derby winner reminds me of Hold Me Back, not sure why, maybe the three syllable name and that he won the Tampa Bay Derby.

Comma to the Top: Just not feelin’ it with this horse who has 13(!) races on his tab. We’re taking a stand on a horse that looks like he’d be a dangerous miler.

The Pamela Anderson Division (new): This is the spot where horses have made it to the Derby starting gate by winning on the fake stuff and will most likely not make it on the real dirt under the Twin Spires.

Twinspired: More like uninspired when looking at the Blue Grass runner-up’s hopes.

Brilliant Speed: Brilliant pedigree, no dirt form. What to do?

Animal Kingdom: Really loved his move in the Vinery Spiral (f/k/a the Lane’s End) Stakes, but he looks more like a dynamite turf horse than a Derby champ.

The George Costanza Human Fund Divsion: These will be the horses that take in a lot of money and have a little (or a lot of) hype, but will be unmasked in the Derby and will not hit the board.

Master of Hounds: Cool name, chill European type, Gomez in the irons. He’s gotta take some dough at the windows, no?

Pants on Fire: First female jockey to win the Derby? He will take some money from the XX portion of the population. Off a six week layoff, no thank you.

Uncle Mo: Really agonized over putting him in here, but his owner said he’s going to make him the favorite and when billionaires talk, I listen.

Stay Thirsty: Anyone inebriated will be betting the most interesting horse in the field. Could restore Pletcher's last place streak.

Ok, so we've cut the field in half and now it's time to figure out who can do some damage.

The Afleet Alex Division: Horses that won't win the Derby, but will have to be respected and could hit the board. Also we think they possibly could be a potential Classic winner down the road in either the Preakness or the Belmont Stakes.

Dialed In: Seems like Ice Box 2: Return of the Closer. Trying to close in the Derby without having an absolutely perfect trip without encountered traffic trouble keeps him out of the first division, but not out of the exotics or other Classics picture.

Toby’s Corner: Bellamy Road was a Derby day favorite, looks to be an improving colt. Interesting.

Shackleford: Really would have loved to see him in the Preakness versus the Derby, hope the race doesn’t wreck him, looks like a monster.

The Brett Favre Division: The horses that qualify for this division are those I just can't make up my mind on. Indecision, indecision. Include them, exclude them....just not sure yet...

Uncle Mo: Ok, so he wasn’t on the bottom half of my list. He is the definition of undecided. Can’t figure out what to do with him. I have four days to figure it out.

Santiva: Made the top half cut only because I’ve taken a fancy to him since the start of Derby season, he just hasn’t come through yet. I’m leaning towards not using him. Looks like he should be able to run all day….

Nehro: Reminds me of having Jackson Bend’s seconditis and the late run of Gayego’s Arkansas Derby, both turned out to not be Classic winners. Will he prove me wrong?

Decisive Moment: You saw that one coming a mile away.

Midnight Interlude: Has a knock against him for being lightly raced. Could slip into the next division by week’s end, based on Baffert/Garcia and speed on the top, stamina on the bottom pedigree makes him enticing. Would be first Derby winner to be unraced as a 2-year old. First time for everything…not sure if I want to upset the Derby gods though.

The Charlie Sheen Division: The horses I think have the best chance at…wait for it…..winning!

Archarcharch: If Mucho Macho Man is endorsed by 3M, he certainly should be the travel horse of AAA. Seriously, what’s not to like about Arch3? Terrific pedigree, improving 3-year old, a solid workout pattern and comes out of a solid Derby prep race. What’s not to like?

Mucho Macho Man: Throw out his last race where he threw a shoe at the start and still finished third. Just seems like a rough and tumble horse who has some excuses for his losses. Not sure if he’s the winner but can’t leave him off my tickets.

Soldat: The War Front colt is out of a Coronado’s Quest mare. Coronado’s Quest comes from Ruffian’s female family. Would love to see Kiaran McLaughlin win a Derby, he just seems like your average guy. He should be decent value on Derby day and I’m including him. Not sure if he’s my top pick but I think he’s capable of winning it, especially if it comes up wet.

Well, that’s a wrap on our annual Degrees of Separation post…hope you enjoyed it and maybe even grabbed a nugget or two of information. Stay tuned, not thirsty…

1 Comment:

Double Jay said...

I really enjoyed your "separation "
category titles! Also someone finally admits to using that "gut feeling" as a handicapping tool.

This is such a relief from all the "expert" handicappers (often self proclaimed) who lead us to believe their picks come from their vast knowledge of racing, horses, years of experience, and superior intellect.

I also think their spinchters are so tight that I wonder how they even walk. They have no sense of humor at all.


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