Rachel's 2015 Kentucky Derby Ponder and Picks

My Derby weekend began with a stuff drink called the Trifecta. It was so very bitter. Is that for me, I thought to myself. Is that the feeling I'll have this year as I try to predict the outcome of the Kentucky Derby? Or is that just the naked truth that mint juleps aren't my style but that Carolina Marsh Tackys very much are...in all their ginger beery splendor. Naked truths are weighing on my mind this year as I contemplate my stiff drink (which I don't really like).

This Trifecta needed some sugar. "Sugar" and "future." The words have a slightly "homonymish" feel to them, don't they? You see, the Derby is an annual occasion for me to try to peer into the future. I've written a lot here about the Derby and it's always a time for me to connect my thoughts into a bigger picture in search of naked truths. It's a time to connect my love for horses, my unease with the racing industry into something more worldly.

Tapit in 2004

It's just semen! Artificially valued, perhaps.

This year, the connection is through a horse named Tapit. He's the industry's top stud, currently at Gainesway Farm. He's also the sire to Derby contender, Frosted. 12 years ago, Tapit had grey spots. Now, he's gone entirely white. Frosted and Tapit also have Northern Dancer and Seattle Slew in their bloodlines.

But what's most remarkable is the story about Tapit's stud fees. In 10 years they have increased 1,900%. What does Gainesway Farm do with all that money?

With his projected earnings in 2015 of $40.5m, Tapit's stud fees would cover about half of what the U.S. Government spends annually to manage the nation's Wild Horse & Burro program.

Tapit is one horse. There are approximately 40k horses and burros in the program--either running wild or living in corrals.

Like so much of what is happening in our cities right now--torn by strife and injustice toward blacks, this is a story we humans know well--not just in our cities but all around the world. Who are you? Where were you born? To whom? What is happening where you live, what can you do to change it or further it (in the case of positive developments)? These questions of circumstance define the life of every living thing on this planet.

My unease with the industry comes from how quickly circumstances, like Tapit's can also change such as in the case of 1986 Derby winner, Ferdinand. In terms of animal welfare, there is much the industry needs to change (scroll down).

But what's even more evident is this is an industry that is ripe for disruption. Can you disrupt and do good? I think you can. This is an industry that is ready for change. I have to start small because I don't have the winning solution, yet.

Sip not in search of the trifecta

This year, I have to admit I think the 8s have it. There is a horse I want to win, but I also think it's a ton of fun to just be right! If Ocho, Ocho, Ocho charges up inside, I'll cheer for him but...here's my final forecast. Oh and there will be one more scratch besides Stanford.

Win:  Bolo
Place:  Firing Line (close thing)
Show:  American Pharoah

Note, this is all a change from last night's Facebook forecast (the wishlist prediction and the random prediction that would bring the Derby back to it's familiar wild card race status):

Of course, you see my foolishness inherently! Ocho, Ocho, Ocho is a California horse. So I've contradicted (doomed?) myself. However, my final prediction didn't take into account what I thought in March...that one of the winners then would win today.

- Rachel, the Greek