Saturday, April 25, 2009

Talking Derby: Plagarizing Steve Crist

By: T.R. Slyder,

Taken from here

Crist Blog | April 22, 2009

Early Pickin's

123b I don't have to make my 1-2-3 picks for the Derby Day newspaper until a week from tonight, but I'm already pretty sure who the three horses will be: Dunkirk, I Want Revenge and Quality Road, though not necessarily in that order.

Go ahead, call me a chalk-eating weasel. I know they're three of the five favorites, but I just think they're not only the best horses out there but also good enough that they've separated themselves from the rest. My feeling 10 days out is that all three would have to misfire for someone else to wear the roses.

If I were making out a Derby Day pick-6 or pick-4 ticket, they'd be my three A's. At the moment I'm not loving anyone else enough to have any B's. My C's would be Friesan Fire and Pioneerofthenile, out of slightly grudging respect for their records and their handlers; I'll probably talk myself into one more backup, some crazy longshot, if only because it seems you're obliged to like one crazy longshot in the Derby.

While I feel obliged to use Friesan Fire and Pioneerof the Nile defensively as win candidates, I'm also willing to play against both of them in the intrarace exotics. While both of them are obviously talented and admirably consistent, Friesan Fire's only fast race was on a sloppy track, and Pioneerof the Nile has never raced on dirt. I have no quarrel with the opinion of clockers that POTN is training superbly on dirt at Churchill, but I seem to recall that's what everyone was saying about Curlin before he tried a synthetic track for the first time in last year's BC Classic. You just don't know until they race on it. To speculate that Pioneerof the Nile will not only handle dirt as well as synth, but also improve several lengths, I'd want at least double his likely odds of around 8-1.

Some may say it's folly to be coming to conclusions this far out: What about final workouts, and the post-position draw, and listening to other people's opinions, and watching more replays and studying more charts? We'll all do all that, and enjoy it, but I'd be surprised if my opinion changes radically. I have no longstanding loyalties to anyone in the race, no future wagers, no weekly Top 10 Picks List to justify my selections against. May the best horse win, and here's hoping that turns out to be one of my three -- preferably, whichever one I end up putting on top.

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