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Rachel's Derby Picks

I'm stocking up on Kleenex in preparation for tomorrow's Kentucky Derby. It's this daughter of the American Revolution's annual nostaglia cry when they crank up My Old Kentucky Home.
Image courtesy of Wikimedia, Indiana University
Wouldn't it be great to have a jazz version of that? Fewer tears, more variation. I don't know why. It's some heritage thing- some of my roots are in Kentucky. It's just what we do. Every year.

I'm looking forward to the horse porn and the undeniable excitement of a race that is almost never won by the favorite. As a Derby watcher since 1980, I think I’ve seen a favorite win less than 5 times. I do remember a lot of excitement in 1981 when I picked Pleasant Colony to win.

 This year's Derby has horses with stories around them that parallel my time on the east and west coasts so I thought it was fair game for my NaBloPoMo theme on nourishment this month.

When you tune in, watch how the horses step onto the track. You can see their mood and get indicators on where their heads are at from the presence of lather on the body, the prick of the ears or the spring in the step, especially the back feet. I've always believed these signs would help me pick the winner. I have a terrible record. If you're actually betting you need to decide well before they walk the track. Here are my picks and anecdotes- maybe I'll make you a buck or two:

Wicked Strong. Named for the victims of last year's Boston Marathon bombing, this horse is apparently my town's pick. Does anyone still use the word “wicked?" I’ve not been home in awhile but it’s really an East coast thing. I love you Boston but…my bet is elsewhere. I predict Wicked Strong won't even hit the money.

California Chrome. Because I live in "the Bay" and work on the internet, this beauty embodies my years here on the left coast. "California Chrome" evokes the internet and Google in my mind. In fact, this horse's trainer did also work with the great Swaps- love the images in this NY Times piece about him. California-breds and their crazy owners. Who wouldn’t have a soft spot for owners like those of Chrome--willing to call themselves Dumb Ass Partners? Maybe it's a new VC firm in the making! But the jockey? He kicks ass!

My prediction? Alas, no money for California-thanks for playing! Chrome will hit just the cusp of "in the money." I gauge he'll be in at…6th place. He'll get blocked in the homestretch or whatnot.

Samraat. Believe it or not, when my husband rattled off the list to me the other day, this one hit my gut. Somehow, I think this guy is going to win. As I write, he's not a favorite and for the Derby that means a real fighting chance. Here is more detail on his potential weakness around which leg he leads with and when he changes this- a gallop issue. But he has a Millenial jockey--just 20 years old so I’m in! Newbies have heart. Maybe he’ll text as he rides too. Go ‘raat!

The gut speaks again: Danza. This honey-colored looker will be in the money. I log him for a close "place" performance.

For third, it's Commanding Curve. This article has a lovely shot of him deep in Buddhist prayer.

Scratched, Hoppertunity. A name like that just doesn't cut the list somehow. It's gotta feel right, right?  I'm also betting by Saturday there will be 1 more scratch. Can you bet on that stuff?

NaBloPoMo May 2014
Tune back in here by 3:45 Pacific to laugh at me. Jeers and taunts accepted!

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