May 24, 2009


A few days off turned into three weeks of post-Keeneland, post-Derby and post-2yo sales lassitude.  Guilt bubbled to the surface while my high school kids strain to prepare for final exams.  The least I could do is offer up some timely horse talk.

Best thing that happened to me on  Derby day was listening to my son Josh who insisted we bet the race despite my advice that the race could not be handicapped. Stabbed at yes, handicapped no.

He had already mastered the art of being a pest while still in short pants so, of course, I listened.

“Here’s what we do,” said I.  “We play the pick three and use Informed Decision as a single in the first leg. Next we take Einstein and a couple of other high odds horses. Since we can’t figure the Derby we wheel the field.  Turns the bet into an expensive daily double.”

Mine That Bird thus fulfilled the dream of all-button punchers coming in for a $2700 

score on a $57 ticket.  Way to go, Josh!

Einstein has been a particular favorite of mine since the day I saw him stroll into the Keeneland paddock one day to contest the last race.  I thought then that he was the most beautiful horse I had ever seen and nothing has happened since to change my mind. If you saw him school in the Churchill Downs paddock you know what I mean.

He’s not just another pretty face.  Einstein showed enormous grit to hold off Cowboy Cal in the Woodward Reserve (Gr. 1).

Informed Decision is another heart-stopper, leaving herself lots to do in deep stretch and then goes out and does it. The Humana Distaff (Gr. 1) fell to her relentless charge in the last 50 yards to win going away.  Similar tactics earned her the Gr. 1 Madison in her previous race at Keeneland.

Mine That Bird was picked out by a Canadian colleague name of Dave Cotey who has been doing this sort of thing for many a year.  Those of us who do that for a living doff our caps to Dave. 

French jockey Julien Leparoux displayed quiet brilliance throughout the Keeneland meet.  He wins in every conceivable fashion.  His most memorable ride may have been one that he did not win.

He was on the lead in a weekday race when his mount began to bear out down the backstretch.  A test of wills was the result and the horse came off the turn at a 45 degree angle, headed for the outside fence.  Leparoux lost his irons but, before you could say “sacre bleu”, he kept riding and salvaged second place.  Sangfroid is what the French call that blood.  Stick a Gauloise to his lip and he looks like a young

Jean-Paul Belmondo.

A plenitude of cleavage and Corona complements the world-class Keeneland racing.

As Bob Hope may have sung, thanks for the mammaries.