A Cat’s Picks for the 2018 Kentucky Derby

May 4, 2018

By Adele

It’s time for another Run for the Roses at the Kentucky Derby on May 5 at Churchill Downs.

You can watch it on NBC from 2:30-7:30 p.m. ET. It’s all yak, hats, and juleps until the “most exciting 2 minutes in sports” happens at 6:50.

I had a hard time picking a favorite until I learned that Bolt d’Oro is a half-brother of Rachel Alexandra on his father’s (Medaglia d’Oro) side.

If you’ll remember, I was a Rachel groupie back in the day. Among her 13 career wins, in 2009, she crashed the Preakness and beat all the boys. These days Rachel devotes herself to pedicures and motherhood.

Bolt d’Oro pulled post position 11 and his odds are 8-1. He’s having a jockey switch to Victor Espinoza, and I’ve got paws crossed it doesn’t rattle him and he doesn’t notice his most recent jockey, Javier Castellano, sitting on Audible (pp 5, 8-1).

Bolt has unfinished business to settle with the Derby’s current favorite, Justify (pp 7, 3-1, jockey Mike Smith).

On April 7, Bolt and Justify both ran in the Santa Anita Derby. Justify pulled off a 3-length win and a 114 BRIS for speed.

(BRIS is a point scoring system for Kentucky Derby eligibility that Brisnet.com started six years ago. 114 is the highest score ever.)

Bolt came in second with a BRIS of 110, which also broke the record of 107 set by Audible just few weeks earlier.

So, this Derby is Bolt d’Oro’s big chance to make Justify find out what loser dust tastes like.

Bolt will come out of the gate right beside his half-brother, Enticed (pp 12, 30-1).

But Justify has the job of outrunning THREE half-brothers. Their father was Scat Daddy, who suffered a career-ending tendon injury in the 2007 Kentucky Derby, and sadly died at age 11 in 2015.

Justify’s bros are: Flameaway (pp 4, 30-1), Mendelssohn (pp 14, 5-1), and Combatant (pp 20, 50-1).

The horses I bet my fish flakes on to place and show are any of the half-brothers and offspring of Curlin, 2007 and 2008 Horse of the Year. They are: Good Magic (pp 6, 12-1), Solomini (pp 17, 30-1), and Vino Rosso (pp 18, 12-1).

Solomini has been known to bump others (specifically, Instilled Regard, pp 15, 50-1) and got himself kicked back from first to third place in that race, so he may have to watch himself.

Vino Rosso may have the edge because his jockey, John Velazquez, won the 2017 Derby on Always Dreaming.

As always, may the best horses win and may they all cross the finish line safely.

Cats Working Preakness Picks

May 19, 2011

By Adele

I expected (but didn’t get) a media stampede after being the only Triple-Crown prognosticator (and cat) to call the long-shot Kentucky Derby winner, Animal Kingdom.

Their loss.

Any horse who wins the Derby becomes a Triple Crown contender, so like everyone else, I’m hoping Animal Kingdom does it again at Pimlico in the Preakness Stakes on May 21. He’ll be ridden again by his Derby jockey, John Valazquez, who took the reins at the last minute after his Derby horse, Uncle Mo, was scratched (which I also predicted) and AK’s jockey got hurt.

AK drew the 11th post position in a 14-horse field, which gives him some breathing room near the outside. And his closest potential competitor, Nehro, who ran 2nd in the Derby, will be watching the race from the stands.

But the Preakness is only 2 weeks after the Derby, so in case Animal Kingdom is tired, I have alternate picks…

Concealed Identity has won 3 of his 6 races (and came in 4th twice and 5th once), but his 2 most recent races were wins, and on the same jockey, Sheldon Russell. Russell happens to be 2010’s 2nd leading jockey at Colonial Downs, my local track, so I’d like to see him succeed.

My biggest concern for Concealed is that his last race was only two weeks ago (like Animal Kingdom’s). On the other hand, he’s the son of Smarty Jones, the 2004 Derby and Preakness winner, so he’s got big horseshoes to fill. He’ll be in the 13th post position. 

Dance City, in the No. 8 position, ridden by either a familiar jockey, Javier Castellano, or a new jockey, Ramon Dominguez (I have conflicting info on that), had his worse showing by coming in 3rd in the Arkansas Derby in April behind Archarcharch and Nehro, but they aren’t in this Preakness. In his 3 other previous races, Dance has won 2, and come in 2nd. He’s had a month’s rest since Arkansas, and every time he races, no matter who’s riding him, he improves his time.

I wanted Sway Away to be one of my picks, because his dad is Afleet Alex, who stole my heart in 2005 when he stumbled badly in the 2005 Preakness but won it anyway (and went on to win the Belmont), but I don’t think Sway can do it. He finished right behind Dance City in the Arkansas Derby, but has only won one of his 6 previous races, and that was nearly a year ago.

Poor Archarcharch was injured in the Kentucky Derby and force to retire, so I’ve got my paws crossed again that all the horses cross the Preakness finish line safely.

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