A Cat’s 2017 Kentucky Derby Picks

May 5, 2017

By Adele

It’s that time again! The 143rd Run for the Roses gets underway Saturday, May 6, on NBC at 2:30 p.m. ET, with post time at 6:34. This kitty will be cheering for my favorites, although I confess that, during my research, no horse really jumped out and grabbed me from the full field of 20.

Classic Empire is the humans’ favorite (odds 4-1, post position 14) under jockey Julien Leparoux. On February 4, he ran 3rd after his Derby competitors Irish War Cry and Gunnevera, but it was discovered post-race that Classic Empire had a foot abscess, so his loss may have been a fluke.

He does come well-connected. His father is Pioneer of the Nile, who finished 2nd in the 2009 Kentucky Derby, and his big brother is American Pharoah, who ended the 37-year Triple Crown drought by winning the Kentucky Derby, Preakness, and Belmont in 2015. Classic has run six previous races and won them all except his one 3rd-place finish, so I can see why hopes are high for him. But you know me. I never look a gift horse in the mouth. Classic last ran on April 15, so he may be a little tired.

Another big human favorite is Irish War Cry (odds 6-1, pp 17). He’s a son of Curlin, who was named Horse of the Year in 2007 AND 2007 (much to Big Brown’s disgust). His jockey is Rajiv Maragh, and he’s won two of his three previous races, but lost by 21 lengths to Gunnevera in the only race he ever blew.

Now, on to MY favorites. I’m not too picky about the order they cross the finish line, but I want their dust to be what the other 17 eat…

Tapwrit (odds 20-1, pp 16) I like just because. He’s trained by Todd Pletcher and won the Tampa Bay Derby on March 11. But he ran 5th in his most recent race on April 8. His jockey is Jose Ortiz. His father is Tapit, who ran 9th in the 2004 Kentucky Derby. I know this pick seems totally wacko, but just trust me. I have a feeling.

Gunnevera (odds 15-1, pp 10), who already has a history of messing with many of his Derby competitors, is another one I’m watching. He’s run 1st, 2nd, or 3rd in four of his five previous races, winning most recently on March 4. His jockey is Javier Castellano.

And my solid favorite is Patch (odds 30-1, pp 20) because he’s the serious underdog. Another Pletcher horse, Patch injured and lost his left eye in a mysterious stable accident he’s never explained. He’s running on the far outside, so all the other horses will be on his blind side. Will that give him greater concentration, or will he bump into somebody as his jockey, Tyler Gaffalione, tries to maneuver him closer to the rail?

Patch’s father is Union Rags, winner of the 2012 Belmont Stakes. Patch has won only one race in his previous three, but came in a close 2nd April 1 at the Louisiana Derby, so there’s hope.

The Kentucky Derby is always the most exciting race of the Triple Crown because ANY horse has a shot at glory, so my tail is fluffed with anticipation. As always, we at Cats Working wish all the horses to be healthy and happy on race day and cross the finish line safely.

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A Cat Gloats Over the Preakness – a Little

May 22, 2016

By Adele

It’s not often I take a victory lap when one of my Triple Crown prognostications pans out, but this time I can’t help it. I totally nailed it.

Yesterday, EXAGGERATOR OUTRAN NYQUIST AND WON THE PREAKNESS!

Before the race, only one of the talking heads on NBC agreed with me. They were all rooting for Nyquist.

OK, I have to admit that Cherry Wine snuck in out of nowhere and actually finished second but, if you’ll review the comments on my previous post and see where I responded to a demand from a Cats Working reader well-known to Roc as “Grumpy,” I boldly predicted that Exaggerator would outrun Nyquist and Stradivari, in that order. And that’s exactly how it went down, with Nyquist and Strad coming in 3rd and 4th.

There’s no doubt about it. I’ve still got the gift. Even if I do say so myself.

I’m doing my best to wrangle an interview with Exaggerator before the Belmont, so stay tuned.

PS: We were all deeply saddened to learn that actor Alan Young died on May 19 at age 96. He was the best friend of our all-time favorite horse, Mister Ed. Fortunately, Karen has the entire 5 ½ seasons of the show on DVD (available on Amazon) so we can get our Ed-and-Wilbur fix whenever we want one. You should try it. Even 50+ years later, Ed is still hilarious and often astute in a timely way.


The 2015 Preakness Conundrum

May 15, 2015

By Adele

After watched the Kentucky Derby on May 2, my little kitty heart is in pieces — three to be exact — going into the Preakness Stakes on May 16.

I had rooted for Big Brown’s son, Dortmund, to continue his lifetime streak with a 7th win in the Derby, but he came in third, behind American Pharoah and Firing Line. Dortmund had outrun Firing Line in their previous two races, so the Line showed Dortmund what hell payback can be.

American Pharoah and Dortmund are both trained by Bob Baffert, and he has them stabled at Pimlico side-by-side, so they’re practically roomies.

Once any horse wins the Kentucky Derby, I believe it’s poor sportsmanship to wish him not to take the Triple Crown, so my fair side wants to see American Pharoah win the Preakness.

But deep down I still want Dortmund win it. Baffert says this may be Dortmund’s race because he’ll like the distance, shorter than the Derby by 1/16 mile.

And then we have poor Firing Line, who’s endured second-place finishes in his last three races against these two, yet he’s gamely trying to win for the fourth time.

All three have to be pooped, since the Derby was only two weeks ago. For the Preakness, American Pharoah and Dortmund forebodingly drew post positions 1 and 2 at the rail, respectively, while Firing Line got the far outside pp 8.

That’s the good news. Only 8 horses in the field this time. Mr. Z (pp 3) and Danzig Moon (pp 4) also ran in the Derby, placing 13th and 5th, respectively. The remaining 3 horses are new faces, and I’m not considering any of them.

All eyes will be on American Pharoah, Dortmund, and Firing Line in this year’s Triple Crown menage à trois. If American Pharoah can’t do it, then I want Dortmund and Firing line each to win the Preakness and Belmont and make it a team triumph.

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


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.


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