- DJ Gallo, ESPN.com
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The 2012 Kentucky Derby is upon us. This means for two minutes and some change on Saturday afternoon, you have to pretend you know something about horse racing.
Fandom is here to help you sound like an expert with a horse-by-horse rooting guide for the field of 20.
1. Daddy Long Legs
This horse has won three of its five races but none on dirt. I want a bit more scrappiness out of my horses. Root for him? No.
Optimizer got into the field only when Mark Valeski was scratched. Root for him? Sure, if for no other reason than because Optimizer was not given a lame human name like “Mark Valeski.”
3. Take Charge Indy
Take Charge Indy is being ridden by Calvin Borel. That’s one of the jockeys you’ve probably heard of! This gives you the opportunity to sound like you sort of know what you’re talking about when it comes to thoroughbreds. Root for him? Yes.
4. Union Rags
Union Rags is trained by Michael Matz, the same guy who trained Barbaro. Root for him? Yes. Unless, you want to root against the guy who trained an AMERICAN HERO! Well? Out with your answer or it's off to Gitmo.
Dullahan is the half-brother to 2009 Derby winner Mine That Bird. Root for him? Yes. It would be a great story to see him succeed despite his broken home.
Bodemeister, the favorite, is clearly owned by some frat brothers who like to ski. Root for him? Nah, brah. Nah.
7. Rousing Sermon
Rousing Sermon hasn’t won all year, and both his trainer and jockey have never won at the Kentucky Derby despite multiple attempts. Root for him? Sure, if you’d like. Bet on him? Only if you hate money.
8. Creative Cause
Creative Cause’s trainer, Mike Harrington, has a peculiar training pattern in which his horses only walk for two days after a workout. LAZY! Root for him? No.
Trinniberg might be the fastest sprinter in the field, but he has never run longer than seven furlongs. Root for him? I don’t know. Someone has to explain to me what a furlong is first.
10. Daddy Nose Best
Sounds like a chauvinist. This war on women has to stop. Root for him? No way. Especially not with Mother's Day a week from now.
Lost by a neck in his last race. That sounds close, but horses have, like, really long necks. He basically got crushed. Root for him? No.
Look at this stupid horse with his tongue hanging out. Root for him? No. This colt is a dolt.
13. Went The Day Well
Went The Day Well? It should be The Day Went Well. I don’t care for this tortured name syntax. Root for him? No way.
This is the only white horse in the field. Root for him? If you’d like. But, you know ... don’t be surprised if people wonder why you’re rooting so hard for the only white horse.
Gemologist is undefeated and has won two races in his career at Churchill Downs. Root for him? Yes, if you also are a fan of the Heat, Yankees and Alabama football.
16. El Padrino
El Padrino is Spanish for “The Godfather.” Is this a threat to the horse that if he doesn’t win, he might lose his head? Hmmm. Root for him? Well, yes. This horse’s life is on the line. He needs all the support he can get.
17. Done Talking
Wait. So this horse could talk at one point? That’s awesome. Root for him? Most definitely. The postrace interview could be historic.
Did a Google image search for this one. Turns out it’s a horse like the rest of them and not a sabercat, which is both misleading and disappointing. Root for him? No way.
19. I’ll Have Another
Root for him? Yes, I’ve never seen a drunk horse run. Should be hilarious.
Root for him? No. Loose morals. And why is he placed next to I’ll Have Another? That was a terrible idea. You don’t want a drunk horse with lowered inhibitions near Liaison. Who knows what they’ll do. Kids are watching.