One Of My Favorite Days Of The Year, The Kentucky Derby

by Geoff Garbacz | 05/01/2021 7:54 AM
One Of My Favorite Days Of The Year, The Kentucky Derby

One of my favorite days of the year is The Kentucky Derby. Why? The Derby falls on the first Saturday in May. Winter is over by then and yet in most places, the trees and flowers are in bloom. There is positivity about the things to come. Can you say "green shoots"?


The pandemic was like a dark cloud over the country, and today, the sun looks to be shining as the crowd sings my "Old Kentucky Home." Today's Derby will be a reminder of things to come that we have missed in our lives. Things we took for granted but probably never will again. Well ...maybe for a couple of years until the hustle and bustle of everyday life return and we forget about how 2020 changed our lives.

A tradition for me each year is to try and pick the winners of the Derby. I missed it last year. I figure if I am a good stock picker, then I should be a good horse picker. Sometimes I do a good job, and sometimes I do not. This year I am not too confident in my abilities as my Draft King picks in golf have been rather dismal. Just this weekend, I only see four of my six golfers making it into the weekend. But then again, losing streaks are made to be broken, and my stock picks have been on fire of late.

My process for picking the ponies is pretty simple. Read several articles from my trusted sources, take some notes, and then look at the latest odds. The final step is to put pen to paper and tell you the reader who my favorites are for the 147th running of The Kentucky Derby.

Midweek I got excited about writing this article when a new client I was speaking with in Kentucky told me that I had to look at Hot Rod Charlie, also known as Chuck. What a name. There has to be a good story behind that name. 25% of the ownership belongs to five former football players at Brown University. They formed an entity called Boat Racing, named after their favorite drinking game. There are other owners as well. Chuck almost beat the favorite in the field, Essential Quality, at the Breeder's Cup Juvenile. Essential Quality is currently a 2-1 favorite.

Given that Essential Quality almost got beat by Hot Rod Charlie, I have a feeling this race could be about long shots. The field has many horses that are around 50-1 so forget about these ponies. The race will come down to one of seven horses Essential Quality, O Besos, Medina Spirit, Hot Rod Charlie, Midnight Bourbon, Rock Your World, and Highly Motivated. 

I do have one longshot Helium that this morning is 43:1 odds. This colt won the Tampa Bay Derby and has one of his other two races. However, they have been run on synthetic tracks. As such, many count him out. This could be a fun single bet.

Essential Quality has to be the favorite and in any Trifecta. However, Godolphin Racing, his owner, does not have a good record in the Derby, and now the horse could be a potential scratch as a brief was filed to keep the owner out of the race. The owner Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum is accused of human rights abuse against one of his daughters as she has vanished. Given that we now live in a world of "cancel culture" and "wokeism" you need to prepare for a late scratch. However, it would be doubtful. If this were to happen, then money from the Middle East could stop flowing into the horse racing business, the sport of Kings.

So Essential Quality stays in my Trifecta along with O Besos, the son of Kentucky Derby winner Orb and Highly Motivated, who almost beat Essential Quality at the Blue Grass. If somehow Essential Quality were to scratch, I would add Hot Rod Charlie down to 7-1 odds. 

Good luck to all in this 147th running of The Kentucky Derby.


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