A Cat Picks the 2014 Preakness

May 16, 2014

By Adele

Only the most heartless brute would want to dash the hopes of a horse with a shot at winning the Triple Crown, so I’m betting my treats on Kentucky Derby winner California Chrome, the odds-on favorite at 3-5 in the 10-horse field, to win the Preakness Stakes May 17 at Pimlico (4:30 p.m. ET on NBC).

But as always with horse-racing, there’s a bit of drama going on in the barn. “Chromie,” as they call him, has a blister in his throat that makes him cough. His trainer said it was there for the Derby and didn’t get him down, so let’s keep our paws crossed.

Also, it’s been raining, uh, cats and dogs in these parts, and the track may be muddy. Chromie has never run in mud, but he’s never been finicky about the surface, so I hope he’s good with getting his hooves dirty.

He drew the 3rd post position in a field of just 10 horses.

I’ve got a couple of other favorites. A filly named Ria Antonia is the only girl in the race, running from pp 6 with Calvin Borel on her back. They say she’s no Rachel Alexandra (who beat the boys back in 2009) and she has the worst odds at 30-1, but if Chromie can’t pull it off, I hope Ria does.

My pick to show is Ride on Curlin (odds 10-1), although he not only drew the widest post position (10), but he’s in for a rude surprise when he’s mounted this time by Joel Rosario and sees his Derby jockey, Calvin Borel, on Ria Antonia’s back.

Another horse to watch is Pablo Del Monte in pp 9 (odds 20-1). He had earned a last-minute spot in the Derby when Hopportunity got scratched, but took a pass. More rested between his races, he’ll be fresher than Chromie, but does he have what it takes to win a Triple Crown race?

May the best horse win, and all cross the finish line safely.


A Cat’s Picks for the 2014 Kentucky Derby

May 1, 2014

By Adele

Ahhhh… can you smell the fresh hay? Triple Crown season is my favorite time of the year. Why does a cat like me have this thing for horses? Could I have a case of hoof envy? I wouldn’t mind having a set, if they had claws.

The Kentucky Derby is this Saturday, May 3 (beginning at 4 p.m. on NBC), and I’ve been poring over the contenders, searching for the next Triple Crown winner.

Unfortunately, Hopportunity has already been scratched because he just turned up with a sore left front leg, but if it heals he could turn up later to try for 2 out of 3 at the Preakness.

Wicked Strong is one of the human favorites, running in post position 19 with 6-1 odds. He was originally named Moyne Spun, but his owners started calling him Wicked Strong in 2012 after the Boston Marathon bombings. Of whatever he wins during Triple Crown season, 5% will be donated to a fund for the Marathon victims.

Personally, I think this is all too much pressure to lay on a horse, and Wicked has shown it by running a few disappointing races already this year, so I’m not betting my treats on him, but I wish him luck.

The odds-on human favorite is California Chrome, in post position 5 at 5-2, but he’s not my pick either.

To place or show, I’ll be rooting for Ride On Curlin, who will have the wily Calvin Borel in his saddle. This is sentimental, because Ride On is the son of Curlin, and he has Storm Cat in his family tree on his mom’s side. He’s finished no less than 3rd in 8 of his 9 previous races. He’ll be in post position 18 with odds of 15-1, but if 3-time Derby winner Borel can steer him to the rail, Ride On Curlin could make it.

My pick to win is Wildcat Red. He’ll be in pp 10 with jockey Luis Saez. Wildcat has won 4 of his 7 lifetime races, and has never finished farther back than 2nd. His odds are also 15-1.

One other horse I’ll be cheering with all paws crossed to place or show is Medal Count in pp 13 at 20-1 odds. He’s a distant cousin of the amazing Barbaro, who never recovered from his tragic freak accident in the 2006 Preakness, as well as Eight Belles (the filly ran 2nd to Big Brown in the 2008 Kentucky Derby, only to fracture both front ankles and get put to sleep right on the track, I still have nightmares.)

May all the horses and jockeys cross the finish line safely.


Time for Football to Come Out

February 18, 2014

By Cole

So this hunky defensive lineman at the University of Missouri, Michael Sam, announces he’s gay, and the football world goes into a tailspin.

Will Sam still get picked for an NFL team? Will other players tolerate him in the locker room? How will the fans deal with it?

Well, let a cat address the elephant in this room…

Football is already the gayest sport EVER.

Karen doesn’t know I occasionally watch football on weekends when she’s out running errands. But as a red-blooded, all-American tomcat, I have enjoyed rooting for my teams. The Missouri Tigers would be a college example, along with the Carolina Panthers, Cincinnati Bengals, Detroit Lions, and Jacksonville Jaguars in the NFL.

And this is what I see…

Grown men prancing around in extremely tight, short pants that they must find so fetching, they can’t resist touching each other’s butts.

When they aren’t playing grab-ass, they spend inordinate amounts of time posing in intricate formations like chorus girls rehearsing some Busby Berkley extravaganza.

When someone manages to actually throw the ball, they all use it as an excuse to crash into another player and engage in full-body hugs before everybody flings themselves on top of each other in a heap.

And while they have a mass dry-hump on the ground, the crowd watching from the stands cheers them on.

Golf has its sissy outfits, and baseball has men swinging their bats, but neither can hold a candle to the gayness of football.

Football players are typically brawny and think they’re tough — as long as they CAN think — because the evidence is in that the sport scrambles some of their brains beyond recognition. It’s a high price to pay for a game that delivers 3% action and 97% snooze time (which is why cats like it).

But as Michael Sam proves, gay has no particular body type. If Sam does get in to the NFL, out-of-shape couch potatoes who waste endless hours following this feckless sport had better have their cardiologists on speed dial.

I predict that players they’ve idolized as ruthless killers on the field will start making some shocking confessions, revealing that the locker room has never been the testosterone-soaked sanctuary everybody thought it was.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

But let’s face it. American’s have a worldwide reputation as silly prudes. Yet we’re obsessed with watching men engage in fully padded orgies — wearing helmets.

How much kinkier can you get?


Virginia Derby Going to the Cats

July 11, 2013

By Adele

Excitement at Cats Working is off the charts because THREE sons of Kitten’s Joy will be running in the Virginia Derby at Colonial Downs on Saturday, July 13. Kitten’s Joy won the Va. Derby in 2004.

The 3 half-brothers include my Kentucky Derby favorite (who regrettably ran 9th), Charming Kitten, and Max’s pick, an alternate who didn’t get the chance to run, Fear the Kitten.

The third brother running is Redwood Kitten.

All three horses were bred by Ken and Sarah Ramsey, but the Ramseys sold Fear the Kitten last fall. This morning, Ken Ramsey was quoted in the Richmond Times-Dispatch as saying he hopes the whole litter wins, but that Fear finishes 3rd.

How’s that for being jinxy and mean?

The favorite to win with 9-5 odds is Rydilluc in post position 4, ridden by Edgar Prado. Prado has won the Va. Derby 3 times, and was Charming Kitten’s jockey in the Kentucky Derby.

Redwood Kitten will be in pp 2 at odds of 10-1. Charming Kitten is in pp 3 at 7-2. Their jockeys is a mystery because both horses are listed with Joel Rosario on top. It’s true they’ll be running side by side, but doing it under the same jockey is never a good idea.

Fear the Kitten is near the outside in pp 9 with odds of 15-1, but he’s not the longest shot (Bethel and Readyshakego are 30-1). Max, with all the confidence of youth, is sure Fear will stun everyone and pull off a win.

(Don’t tell Max, but Fear the Kitten hasn’t won once this year in 6 starts, and this will be his first time feeling turf under his hooves. On the other hand, Fear will have Horacio Karamanos on top, Colonial Downs’ leading jockey.)

Max’s certainty this year probably comes from seeing the 2012 Va. Derby won by a horse named Silver Max.

The course is 1 1/4 miles, with a 10-horse field. Talking heads say this race is mainly between Charming Kitten and Rydilluc, because the Kitten has been runner-up to Rydilluc twice before. But the distance may favor the Kitten.

If you want to catch the race, it will be shown on HRTV and live-streamed at http://www.drf.com/. Post time is 8:12 p.m. ET.

We’ve got our claws crossed that all the kittens horses run safely, and the best one wins!


Preakness Looking a Little Peaked

May 17, 2013

By Adele

Since Orb won the Kentucky Derby fair and square, I’m giving him 4 paws up to win the Preakness on May 18 at Pimlico. Any horse who’s got a decent shot at the Triple Crown deserve the cat vote, and Orb is the strong favorite with humans, too.

This would make his 6th win in a row.

If he pulls it off, I hope they don’t say it was slam-dunk because he’s running against only 8 other horses.

Orb drew post position 1, which puts him against the rail. This could be a problem, since jockeys gravitate to the rail to give their horses the shortest distance to run. If Orb doesn’t have a flying start, he could get crowded out to the back of the pack or worse.

You don’t want to be the horse with all the others kicking dirt in your face.

There hasn’t been a winner from the rail position since 1994, when Tabasco Cat did it.

None of our Kittens are running in this Preakness, which has disappointed Max no end. He’s just getting into the sport, and his Derby pick, Fear the Kitten, isn’t running — again.

If Orb happens not to win, my alternate favorite is Mylute, ridden by the only female jockey, Rosie Napravnik. We girls must stick together. Mylute and Napravnik also ran in the Derby and came in 5th.

The temperature should be in the mid-70°s with possibly scattered storms. I hope it’s not another mudbath like the Derby.

Best of luck, Orb! And may all the horses be safe.

BONUS: Here’s a list of Preakness winners going back to 2000.


A Cat’s 2013 Kentucky Derby Picks

May 3, 2013

By Adele

Triple Crown season is here again. The horses are at Churchill Downs, ready to run the 139th Kentucky Derby on Saturday, May 4.

Rain may make the track a muddy mess, which is always worrying. And my pick has never even run on dirt before, so I’m sticking my tail out here.

This year, the post positions I’ll be watching are 14, 15, and 16. That’s where Verrazano, Charming Kitten, and Orb, respectively, will be running.

My pick to win is Charming Kitten, ridden by Edgar Prado. He’s finished in the top 3 in his 7 lifetime starts (winning 2). For the Derby, he’s one of the long shots, with odds of 20-1.

I think the Kitten’s got the stuff to pull it off. Running between the two favorites may spur him to greatness. Also, he has a Virginia connection. His father, Kitten’s Joy, once won the Virginia Derby.

Watch Charming Kitten’s last winning race, which was in January. Appropriately, he did one for Dad in the Kitten’s Joy Stakes at Gulfstream Park.

Verrazano (4-1) and Orb (7-2) are considered the horses to beat in the full 20-horse field.

The other horse to watch is Revolutionary in No. 3 position, ridden by Calvin Borel. Borel is famous for sneaking along the rail to win, and he’s in the perfect position to do it this time.

Revolutionary, Verrazano, and Charming Kitten were all trained by Todd Pletcher.

PS: Max has been showing an interest in horse-racing because it suits his short attention span. He is bummed that his pick, Fearless Kitten (who happens to be Charming Kitten’s half-brother), ended up just missing the cut at No. 21, so he’s the first alternate for the Derby. If any horse gets scratched at the last minute, Fearless Kitten is in, and then the Run for the Roses becomes the Run of the Kittens!

May the best horse win, and all cross the finish line safely.


Cat Picks for the Virginia Derby

July 20, 2012

By Adele

RACE DAY UPDATE: The forecast is rainy, which has caused Summer Front to be scratched. That leaves Silver Max to contend with 2 Triple Crown runners, Optimizer and Finnegans Wake. I stand by my initial picks, but move Easy Crossin up to be Max’s biggest threat. And now, my original post…

For the first time, I get to see the 15th annual Virginia Derby, a turf race at Colonial Downs in New Kent. It’s on HRTV Saturday night at about 8:45 p.m. (EDST). Only 9 horses are running in this $600,000 Grade II event.

My pick to win (and the track favorite) is Silver Max in post position 7, ridden by Robbie Albarado. He’s already won 5 turf races this year, most recently on June 13 at Indiana Downs, where he set a new track speed record, and his style is to pop out strong and lead from start to finish.

Max will be challenged in Virginia because the 1 1/4-mile track is 3/16 of a mile longer than he’s ever run before. He’ll also have Summer Front (pp 5), who has won all 4 of his previous turf races, and ridden by Ramon Dominguez, on his tail.

To place, I pick Mr. Handsome (pp 9) with Sheldon Russell, although he’s considered a 20-1 long shot.

My pick to show is Optimizer (pp 1). He tried his best in all 3 Triple Crown races, so his glory day is due. He starts in post position 1 under Horacio Karamanos, the track’s all-time winningest jockey.

I have a wildcard up my sleeve with Easy Crossin (pp 5) under Julien Leparoux, who has never run worse than second in his life.

May all the horses finish safely, and may Silver Max triumph again to keep his winning streak going.

PS: Our own Silly Max is leaping around the office while I write this, doing paw pumps.


Belmont: Torn Between Two Horses

June 8, 2012

By Adele

UPDATE: Hours after I posted this, I’ll Have Another got scratched from the Belmont Stakes, and it sounds as if he’s injured enough to never race again. This only reinforces my position that the Triple Crown races should be held at least a month apart. So now I’m predicting my original favorite, Dullahan, will win. We wish I’ll Have Another a speedy recovery.

The oddsmakers finally seem to be paying attention to my astute predictions. Dullahan, my pick for the Kentucky Derby (who came in third), is favored second to win the Belmont Stakes tomorrow.

The favorite is, of course, I’ll Have Another, the Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner. He now has a shot at being the 12th horse ever to win the Triple Crown.

I would love to see Another do it, but things have a way of going haywire at Belmont. Remember a few years ago when Big Brown was two for two like Another, and then he totally blew it at Belmont, walking last across the finish line?

This will be Another’s third — and longest — race in only 5 weeks. Will he have the stamina to pull off another win, especially from the far outside in post position 11? (There are only 12 horses running in all.)

Dullahan sat out the Preakness, and he’s known as a distance runner, so I think he has a pretty good chance at pulling off an upset.

If there’s no Triple Crown winner again this year, I hope the powers that be will take a serious look at spacing these races out at least a month apart to give the horses a chance to rest and recuperate.

Running these magnificent horses ragged on an unrealistic time table isn’t sport. It’s stupid.

I’ll be cheering for I’ll Have Another and Dullahan. May the best horse win, and may they all stay safe.


Cats Working Preakness Picks

May 18, 2012

By Adele

Unlike the odds-makers who are obstinately picking Bodemeister in post position 7 as the favorite in the 137th Preakness Stakes on May 19, I’m a cat who would never shred any horse’s Triple Crown dream. I’m putting my treats on Kentucky Derby winner I’ll Have Another in pp 9.

I think Bode will run a close second.

My wildcard favorite is 30-1 longshot Tiger Walk, who will be under Kent Desormeaux. Tiger will be at the rail in pp 1, but in a field of only 11 horses, I don’t think Kent will let him get hemmed in.

My original Derby pick and current idol, Dullahan, is taking a pass on the Preakness to rest up for the Belmont Stakes. If I’ll Have Another blows his chance at the Triple Crown this Saturday, Dully will be my man again because distance is his thing, and the Belmont is the longest race of the three.

Good luck to all the Preakness horses. May they and their jockeys cross the finish line safely.

PS: After 800+ posts, Cats Working will be taking a long overdue and much-needed break next week, but we will be back after Memorial Day.


Cats Working 2012 Kentucky Derby Picks

May 4, 2012

By Adele

I could pull a no-brainer and pick Virginia’s own Bodemeister as my favorite for the 138th Kentucky Derby on May 5. He’s the flavor of the day for the human odds-makers. But this year’s a real crapshoot, with no clear superstar emerging from all the prep races.

I’m not sure Bodemeister can do it. He’s only run 2 previous races, and he drew the No. 6 post position for the Derby, which puts him in the middle of everybody. His jockey is Mike Smith, former jockey of the freakishly fabulous Zenyatta.

In his first-ever race, Bodemeister came in 2nd. His next time out, on April 14 at the Arkansas Derby, he seized and maintained the lead, and then blew the competition away by 9 ½ lengths in the stretch. I’m afraid Bodemeister may be tired. Or he may blow us all away on Derby day.

Then there’s Hansen the white horse, and my kindred spirit. His record is most impressive, with 2 wins in 4 races, including the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Churchill Downs in November. He’s never come in less than 2nd.

But on April 14 in the Toyota Blue Grass, he had the lead all the way until Dullahan came from way behind and pulled off a stunning upset.

So what about Dullahan? He ran 4th behind Hansen in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. His overall record is 2 wins for 5 races, placing 2nd, 3rd, and 4th in the others. He’s in Derby pp 5 with jockey Kent Desormeaux, who won the Derby in 2008 on Big Brown. Dullahan’s half-brother is Mine That Bird, who won the 2009 Derby. Hmmm…

A few weeks ago, I thought my favorite would be Union Rags (under Julien Leparoux). But on March 31 at the Florida Derby, Union Rags came in 3rd behind Take Charge Indy.

At the Derby, Take Charge Indy will be in pp 3 under Calvin Borel, who is notorious for his cunning navigation along the rail — and for winning Kentucky Derbys.

Decisions, decisions…

Here goes: I’m picking Dullahan to win, Take Charge Indy to place, and Bodemeister or Hansen to show.


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