A mind of my own

May, 13, 2010
05/13/10
11:53
AM ET
I arrived at Pimlico Thursday afternoon. The place still needs a fresh coat of paint. No one listens to me. Plus the media elevator was broken. As I climbed four flights of stairs I wondered if we'd have to airlift Hank Goldberg onto the roof. He's weighed down by that much money.

I can recommend to you Basil's Lamb Chop House off the Jersey Turnpike. I know this because I followed my friend Thomas Kintner's advice to drive from Hartford to Baltimore rather than take the Southwest shuttle. Nothing against Southwest … even if in group E, facing backward. The theory is that the drive down I-95 takes more or less the same amount of time as everything that goes into a one-hour flight. Thomas Kintner is an idiot. And so am I for ever taking the advice of others when contemplating key horse racing decisions.

Having talked my way past security without any credentials, I obtained my Preakness credentials which would allow me full run of the place. The first place I needed to go was the stand where they sell the Daily Racing Form. That's going to go down as a $7 expense. I could have cut it to $6 if I hadn't been so egotistical. Not far from the stand where they were selling Daily Racing Forms, a dollar bill sat on the floor. Pretty clean-looking bill for having been washed at Pimlico. I walked past the dollar but then decided to conduct a social experiment. I decided to time how long it would take for someone else to pick it up. It took five seconds. My first thought was how did it take so long? Had it been a hundred, there might not have been any social experimentation going on. But at a dollar, I had to uphold what's left of my reputation. What did we as a society learn from this experiment? We learned that some guy saw a dollar bill and decided to pick it up. He followed his instincts. He didn't worry about what others thought. That's how I went down the wrong path two weeks ago at Churchill Downs.

In the end I would have been wrong with my selection. But I would have been wrong my way. I liked D. Wayne Lukas' horse Dublin to act as my key horse underneath some exotic wagering. Dublin hadn't won in some time but he had proved himself a consistent runner to at least hit the board, to keep running to the wire. I stopped by the Lukas barn at Churchill and he confirmed my theory. He told me the post (17) wouldn't matter nor would the weather. Dublin would fire on Derby day. Everyone else I spoke with about Dublin told me that D. Wayne Lukas had lied to me. I heard everything from "he's sore" to "he ought to be scratched." For a couple days I wrestled with the notion that D. Wayne had played me. I started to believe his horse was a deadbeat and D. Wayne had entered him just to be a part of the event. It seemed D. Wayne had seen a dollar bill on the floor and picked it up. The day before the race I ran into Lukas in the Churchill paddock. I called him out on it. "D. Wayne," I said, "you told me Dublin is doing great and ought to run big, but everyone else I talk with tells me the horse looks terrible in the mornings and is clearly off." D. Wayne looked upset. "The horse is fine," he said. "You tell those people to go ahead and bet on other horses." Turns out most of them did. Turns out I did, too. But although his horse didn't hit the board, Lukas was proved right and the others were proved wrong. Dublin finished a respectable seventh in the slop and now, because of Bob Baffert's decision to bench his Lookin At Lucky rider, Lukas has picked up Garrett Gomez. And now Gomez says he likes what he feels under him. I'm staying away from those people who would tell me Gomez is lying this week.

But just to make sense of it, I sought out Lukas at the Preakness Stakes barn this morning. He was talking with Baffert. I think they were talking about "Dancing with the Stars." I guess after so many years in the horse game they've probably said all there is to say about horses. I asked Lukas if he remembered our conversation in the paddock at Churchill and he did. "So it looks like you were right and the others were wrong," I said. He looked proud. But then he confused me some more. "What do you expect a trainer to say after a bad work? 'My horse is doing poorly and probably won't run well in the race?'" I interjected that "even Gomez is quoted as saying he likes what he feels." It was at that point Baffert jumped in and said, "What's he gonna say? 'The horse is terrible and I don't want the ride?'"

They both laughed and then we talked some more about "Dancing with the Stars."

I started to leave but had to turn back. "Dublin is fine, right?"

D. Wayne smiled and said, "he's doing great."

That's what I was looking for, one sincere answer. He really sounded like he believed what he was saying.

As I walked out of the barn area, one security guard called out to another, "What are you up to?" "Just trying to make a dollar," the other guard said. Tell me about it.

I headed back to the press room. The Otis Elevator guys appeared as confident as D. Wayne. The stairway didn't look so bad. But like D. Wayne they pulled me in with their charm. I reasoned that I came to this track to gamble. I might as well show some faith in those who are telling me good stories. "It's doing better than yesterday," the Otis Elevator guy said. I don't ask much from my trainers or my Otis Elevator guys. Just say something positive, please. The elevator made it all the way to the fourth floor. So what if they had to pull the door open with their hands to allow me out? I'm here, right? Believing in what and who I want to.

Kenny Mayne

Anchor/Reporter
Kenny Mayne -- known for his offbeat style, dry humor and unique sayings -- has served a variety of roles in more than 10 years with ESPN. He currently provides features to SportsCenter and "The Mayne Event" segments to Sunday NFL Countdown.

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