Commentary

Questions and guesses

Updated: May 12, 2014, 1:58 PM ET
By Jay Cronley | Special to ESPN.com

Here are some questions and guesses.

Q: Are you among those who consider the slow time in the Kentucky Derby to be a national catastrophe along the lines of the drought in the southwest?

A: No. But that's because I had California Chrome.

People who lose money see what they want to see.

Am I the only one who saw the jockey look back for company, and then, finding none, coast home? It was a slow race. So what. The ones to be concerned about are those who finished well behind Chrome.

Q: Have you heard from any of those who complained about your Derby pick of the favored California Chrome?

A: Yeah, they all got together and sent an apology and a nice cake.

Actually, one dissenter sent a note and said if he knew the price would click up to $7 late, he'd have played it; which is what you get when you play numbers instead of horses.

Many horse players are like TV meteorologists.

Admitting a mistake goes against the code.

Q: What does the Preakness look like?

A: It looks harder than the Derby.

Racers who carry freaky high Beyer numbers and then skip the Derby are either healed or rested and ready to rip, or they're done. I always put horses like Bayern and Southern Inclusion on top of some exotics and then forget about them.

Also included in the Preakness field are victims of the destruction derby side of the first Triple Crown race, and almost have to improve.

Q: What chance does California Chrome have to win the Triple Crown?

A: Thirty-three and a third percent.

Coming back from a hard race in two weeks is a little like Satchel Paige starting both games of a doubleheader.

And the Belmont Stakes at its distance is, like the convention of horses in the Derby starting gate, another of those once-in-a-lifetime challenges.

Q: Should the Preakness be on any bucket lists?

A: More like a sneaker list. Go while you can still walk miles.

Baltimore is a great city, it's real enough to be recognizable from the numerous shows set there, and updated enough for families.

The fine writer/director Barry Levinson, who put diners back on the map, has sold the city as well as anyone. And two of the best cop shows ever put on TV were set in Baltimore, "Homicide: Life on the Street" and "The Wire."

Q: What about the sport of horse racing is in need of immediate change?

A: There's no commissioner.

It's the only sport without consistent national leadership.

The way the rules vary from state to state, it's as though horse racing is being asked to run on the honor system, not a good idea.

Q: What's the early weather forecast for the Preakness?

A: San Diego temperatures of around 70 at post time and a 20 percent chance of rain.

Which is another way of saying nobody knows for sure.

Q: What's the hardest thing about picking horses in print?

A: Having to make picks early.

You miss out on the six or eight expert picks that are guaranteed to be wrong.

Q: How can people be so dumb?

A: This question is in obvious reference to the No. 1 sucker bet in the long and storied history of racetrack beatdowns: the thought that a horse that closes a great deal will benefit from a longer race like the Belmont Stakes.

Science dictates exactly the opposite.

Q: Since there are only two basketball teams on the court, and not a dozen or more horses in the starting gate, why can't I pick a lousy hoop winner?

A: The media has made Vegas sports books and bookmakers what they are today: happy.

The media has a one-track mind, it overreacts to everything.

People who book team game bets don't thrive off commissions. They prosper off bad bets made by stooges.

The key in the long run is to put yourself on the side of those who book the bets, the side that's not so obvious.

Q: Who is the most excited about the Preakness?

A: New York.

A victory in Baltimore by California Chrome would turn Belmont Park from a ghostly shadow of its former self toward a return to the days of wine and fedoras.

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