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Tuesday, April 3, 2007
Updated: May 2, 7:40 PM ET
21 reasons why picking the Derby winner is so hard

By Jay Cronley
Special to ESPN.com

Hurry, quick, call home on your cell phone from the grocery because you don't know what kind of cereal to buy; come on, let's go, you can update your MySpace site on your cell while walking; listen, take one ear off the iPod, can I get my email off your BlackBerry?

Guess what, we've become obsessed by non-essentials.

Nobody knows how to sit quietly with his or her thoughts; or is afraid to.

Read? You mean, something besides books on tape? You actually want me to take the time to turn off the electronics and sit down and read something? Fine. Give me a list to read. And make it fast.

Just because some readers are a little hyperactive doesn't mean they're undeserving of sporting info.

So here are a couple of lists for the horizontally mobile horse player.

Every spring you see lists of things to do before you die, things like: Attend Kentucky Derby. Write a novel. Get your kicks on Route 66. Here's one of those, then a list about picking the Derby winner itself.

Things to do before you die:

  • Watch the Masters on HDTV.
  • Watch the women's bracket at Wimbledon on HDTV.
  • Watch the Indy 500 on HDTV.
  • Watch a documentary about the pyramids.
  • Hear all about Ayres Rock.
  • Watch a slide show of the Louvre.
  • Watch the Super Bowl on HDTV.
  • Watch the Daytona 500 on HDTV.
  • Watch the Olympics on HDTV.
  • Watch the seventh game of the World Series on HDTV.
  • Hit a Kentucky Derby exacta.

    Twenty-one reasons why picking the Kentucky Derby winner is so hard:

    1. Large field. Could I please have a $50 Exacta box, 1-20.

    2. Doomsday post positions. It's as though the inside horses are under an avalanche; outside entries need OnStar.

    3. The youth of the horses. Predict a teenage human.

    4. Regional ties. Unless you live in Kentucky.

    5. High Beyer loses. Top number might come from field of five.

    6. Too much information. What could a TV expert really know that you don't know (besides how to get paid without betting)?

    7. You bet too much. This isn't one of those California stakes where the exacta pays $6.20.

    8. There are no terrible jockeys. Who could ever forget the night at Penn National where, in the same claiming race, a mom jockey rode against her son the jockey.

    9. You've been living wrong. Don't laugh. Some of you know you don't deserve to win.

    10. Too much thinking. Let's see, dosage plus last fractions of stakes winning sires at over a mile.

    11. You don't learn from mistakes. Remember last year when, of your wagering strategy, you said never again? Well. It's again, again.

    12. Too social. Lots of couples show up for the Derby, wanting to chat.

    13. Odds chase you off. Big odds don't always mean the horse is bad, sometimes it means the bettors are bad.

    14. Fair track. A lack of bias creates a level racing field; who needs that.

    15. Psychology. Many don't expect to win.

    16. Whiskey. Once a year for a mint julep is just about right.

    17. Victims of the obvious. Most obvious losers are chalk. Bettors sometimes project themselves into their types of wagers. Who wants to be an outsider -- you're a favorite.

    18. Travel between all the different tracks. I don't travel well. And I have leather seats.

    19. Early speed. First to 15th.

    20. Deep closers. Last to fourth.

    21. You're a lousy handicapper. It happens.

    Write to Jay at jaycronley@yahoo.com