Beware the Rides of March


This year I'm actively chronicling the events leading up to the Kentucky Derby with some fun mixed in:  Happy March 15th. In honor of the ancient Roman Festival of Equirria (two chariot racing events celebrated yesterday and in February), I declare this month "The Rides of March." The winners of one of the races in March will be among those in the spotlight for this year's Derby winners (by that I mean the trio of horses in the money).

What I love most about the Derby is that the favorite almost never wins. That wasn't true last year for California Chrome, but this Forbes piece from Allan St. John does a lovely job of chronicling what I love most about the Derby- it's signature unpredictability!


I started watching, listening and feeding my instincts with data back in January- here is where I am so far:


January 9, 2015:  The horse racing industry has finally met me where I live:  the digital. I typically eschew video content when it comes to my personal interests, but they emailed me this. Watching them run is sheer beauty to me. From just that filtered view of the contenders, here are the ones chilling my spine in this cold (for the rest of you, not us here in the Bay Area; yesterday was pretty darn balmy) January mini-post:

  • Ocho, Ocho, Ocho. It's an 8 year. How cool would that be? (2+0+1+5 for you numerological luddites). But that's gut want mixed with a snitch of instinct. He's undefeated as of this clip and visibly a smaller horse who clearly has a giant heart; you can see that in his stride. He looks like a small Bold Ruler.
  • Daredevil. Zing! He sucks up that sweet soggy track clip; watch his ears smile at the end, he's ready to keep mucking on. Will climate change soak the track in May?
  • International Star. What energy for the stretch drive but the Kentucky native owners doesn't feel quite right. Maybe a contender in the money if he's having a good day.
  • Texas Red. Wow, in the clip he just gets down to business. Herein we could have one of those long odds winners that we all so covet. Recall Allan's piece linked above though that odds are just ways of balancing risk for bookies.
My prayers for all these magnificent creatures. With January 1, 2015 being their unofficial 3rd birthday, that shaves months off the reality that somewhere over the age of 2 is too soon to run these beauties. Their bones aren't set yet.

February 28th: Here is who is hitting the radar for me and a picture of the leaderboard rankings right now:


  • International Star still holding his own where the others from January have faded away.
  • Dortmund is now in play- what a big, beautiful sorrel guy with lotsa heart. He's a great grandson of Danzig. It's wild to have to have bloodlines now 3 generations back as those are the names I recognize. 
  • Carpe Diem- some small zings there. Don't know what to say yet.
  • My hearthrob Ocho, Ocho, Ocho will apparently run in the San Felipe stakes on March 7th. I'm excited.
    • This will publish after that race runs so we'll see. March is a long month.
Two of the companies I "look after" in my line of work are in the analytics space. One in predictive analytics, the other in prescriptive analytics. Why someone hasn't figured out to load in all this horse bloodline, health, weather, track condition and workout data and dump out the winner by now? I'm wrong, I guess someone has. May signature unpredictability prevail.

To honor March 15th, I've set just about everything I can to be "15" about this post. Numbers, Baby. They don't mean shit.
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